Kanye West spent R186.6m of own money on presidential run

By Bang 3h ago

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Newly-released figures show that Kanye West self-funded the majority of his campaign to run for president, putting in almost R186.6 million of his own money.

The 43-year-old rapper – who ran for office under the Birthday Party – self-funded the majority of his late-entry run for office, attracting just R29.8 million from outside contributors, and, having earned just 66 000 votes across the US, meant each tick in the ballot box cost an average of R2 985 each.

According to a report from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the majority of Kanye’s R217 040 644 campaign funds paid for “ballot access”, and he was left with R19.4 million at the end of the campaign.

R111.9 million went to ballot access, with R19.1 million of that paid to Atlas Strategy Group, but it seems the investment wasn’t a great success because the ‘Stronger’ hitmaker only made it as a candidate in 12 states.

Other major costs included legal fees, Kanye 2020 apparel and production for online videos used to promote his campaign, though the rapper – who is going through a divorce from wife Kim Kardashian West – and his team opted against purchasing TV, radio or digital advertising, which many experts believed was a mistake.

A former Kanye campaign insider told People magazine: “I didn’t see any Kanye ads, did you? …If [West] had pushed and done a $10 million (R149 million) buy digitally, they could’ve actually made a difference in a few states.

“Typically, [television and digital ads] combine for about 60-70 percent of a campaign’s budget — minimum.”

Towards the end of the campaign, the “Gold Digger” hitmaker added over R40.3 million of his own money to the funds, but the insider believes Kanye “overpaid on a lot of stuff”.

According to the FEC report, Kanye shelled out R3.1 million for a two-page advertisement in The New York Times and another R13.7 million on more campaign apparel on Election Day.

The source noted: “He isn’t versed enough politically.

“He figured that by doing it on his own, he could control his own media. But he has so much other stuff going on in his life that has nothing to do with politics that the distractions are there.”

By contrast, new President Joe Biden raised over R14.9 billion for his campaign, while his predecessor, Donald Trump, raised more than R12.1 trillion.