After the filing deadline passed Monday for write-in candidates, Utah now has 11 official candidates for president of the United States.
That includes, of course, Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. But it also includes two write-in candidates, four unaffiliated candidates who will appear on the ballot, plus nominees from the Constitution, Green and Libertarian parties.
At the top of that list of some fascinating figures is famous rapper-producer Kanye West, who will appear on the ballot in Utah and at least 10 other states with his running mate, self-described “biblical life coach” Michelle Tidball.
A CNN report suggested that some Republicans operatives, including some with ties to Trump, are working to get West on the ballot in several states as part of a strategy to siphon votes from Biden. West has been a supporter of Trump.
West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, has also suggested that his candidacy could be connected to his struggles with bipolar disorder.
While no third party, unaffiliated or write-in candidate has won Utah’s presidential vote in modern history, “Never Trumper” Evan McMullin four years ago captured 21.5% of the vote. In 1992, the late billionaire Ross Perot drew 26.1% of Utah’s presidential vote.
Another candidate on this year’s ballot is actually named President — President R19 Boddie of Covington, Ga., a write-in candidate. He says on his website, “I am running for the office of president because the spirit of the living God has ordered me to do so.”
He also posts a recording online that says Trump is the leviathan, a sea serpent mentioned in the Bible. “The reason y’all can’t touch Trump,” he says, “is God created Trump to test everybody.”
Boddie was born as Ramone Boddie. He released a rap in 2017 titled “One Stone” under the alias R19, a nickname given to him by his running mate to signify the biblical chapter Revelation 19. He legally changed his name to President R19 in 2018 to express God’s confidence in the outcome of the election.
Tom Hoefling of Lohrville, Iowa, is another official write-in candidate. He says on his website that he is running largely to “stop the abortion holocaust,” and that he long ago left the “pro-life” label behind and is among those who call themselves “abortion abolitionists.”
Hoefling says on his website that “there can be no compromise” on such things as “the equal protection of innocent human life” and “the preservation of our right to keep and bear arms.”
Self-described revolutionary Socialist Gloria La Riva is on the ballot technically as unaffiliated because her Party for Socialism and Liberation has not qualified as an officially recognized party in Utah. Her website says, “The need for the radical reorganization of society on a socialist basis has never been more urgent.”
Unaffiliated candidate Joe McHugh says on his website that he is a former Marine who wants to fully legalize marijuana and has an environmental focus. “Let’s divest from pollution,” he says, “and invest in solutions.”
Unaffiliated candidate Brock Pierce was a child actor appearing in such movies as “The Mighty Ducks” and “First Kid.” As an entrepreneur, he co-founded the cryptocurrency Tether. His website says, “We are in this election to put an end to the illusion that we live in a flourishing democracy that facilitates solving the real problems facing Americans each and every day.”
Constitutional Party nominee Don Blankenship says on his website that he is running “because we cannot survive as a country if we do not change the behavior of our government led by partisan Republicans and Democrats. We need a third way.”
Howie Hawkins, nominee of the Green Party, says on his website that he is running to “provide real solutions to the climate crisis, the new nuclear arms race, and ever-growing economic and racial inequality.”
Jo Jorgensen, a psychologist who is the Libertarian Party nominee, posts online that “we need to make government smaller — much, much smaller” to solve problems ranging from the nation’s $26 trillion in debt to skyrocketing health care costs and a broken retirement system.