Kanye West spent $9 million on presidential run that got him 60,000 votes

The musician appeared on the ballot in 12 states, spending the equivalent of a few private jets to do it.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

A supporter of Kanye West gets interviewed outside a polling location in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 3, 2020, Election Day. 

Sharon Steinmann/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What would you do with $9 million? Buy a mansion or a superyacht? Pay off the mortgages of your nearest and dearest? Donate a million each to your nine favorite charities? 

Musician Kanye West chose to use all that money to run for president, receiving about 60,000 votes in the 12 states where he actually appeared on the ballot, which works out to about $150 (£115, AU$206) per vote. That doesn't count write-in votes for West, or the votes he received in California where he was on the ballot as a vice presidential candidate.

The Federal Elections Commission report on West's candidacy shows West himself loaned his campaign $10 million (£7.6 million, AU$13.7 million), received $1 million (£760, 000, AU$1.3 million) in donations, and ended up with about $1.1 million (£760, 000, AU$1.5 million) left over.

Of the states where he was on the ballot (Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont) the rapper did best in Tennessee, earning more than 10,000 votes there. None of the states where West appeared are among the battleground states that are still, as of Thursday afternoon, counting their votes in a nail-biting presidential race.

In California, West appeared on the ballot as a vice presidential candidate alongside American Independent Party's candidate, Roque De La Fuente. The duo received 0.3 percent of the vote in California, more than 34,000 votes, but those of course don't get added to West's presidential toll. Newsweek reports that neither West nor De La Fuente were consulted on this pairing -- the party just put them together.

West tweeted out a video in which he casts his ballot, apparently in Wyoming, apparently leaving the rest of the ballot blank except for writing in his own name for president and that of "personal life and spiritual coach" Michelle Tidball as vice president. He said it was the first time he had ever voted.

West has shared controversial opinions, insinuating in a Forbes interview that he was anti-vaccination. He also suggested humans with "the Devil inside them" want to "put chips inside of us." 

West's presidential dreams aren't over, though. On Wednesday, he tweeted a photo of himself in front of a US map with the words "KANYE 2024."