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Kanye West wooed by El Paso County Republicans

Author: Conrad Swanson - April 27, 2018 - Updated: April 28, 2018

In this 2016 file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West pose for a picture in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump is tweeting his thanks to rap superstar Kanye West for his recent online support. Trump wrote, “Thank you Kanye, very cool!” in response to the tweets from West, who called the president “my brother.” West tweeted a number of times Wednesday expressing his admiration for Trump, saying they both share “dragon energy.” The rap star also posted a photo of himself wearing Trump’s campaign “Make America Great Again” hat. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

El Paso County Republicans are looking for some high-wattage star power for their annual marquee fundraising dinner this year.

Party Chairman Josh Hosler tweeted an invitation Thursday to hip hop superstar Kanye West, asking him to attend the GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner  at the Antler’s Hotel in Colorado Springs next month. He received a near immediate response, he said, presumably from someone representing West.

“It might be a one-in-a-million chance that anything will happen, but if it’s actually a legitimate person within the agency that represents him, I don’t want to waste that opportunity,” Hosler said.

The Gazette’s attempts to contact West were unsuccessful.

Hosler said he was a fan of West’s hit single ‘Gold Digger’ when he was serving in the Marine Corps. “That was one of my favorites,” he said.

West reactivated his Twitter account earlier this month and set social media ablaze, saying he loved Donald Trump and calling him his brother with the same “dragon energy.” One tweet, featuring a red Make America Great Again hat signed by Trump, had some of West’s fans questioning if he had sold out.

Trump, arguably Twitter’s most famous tweeter, applauded the photo and another of West’s messages, tweeting “Thank you Kanye, very cool!” and “MAGA!” in response.

“He’s a free thinker,” Hosler said of West. “Everybody has the right to think and say what they believe in and he shouldn’t be criticized for it.”

Since Hosler took over as head of the county’s Republican party last September, he said he’s seen a surge of minorities and young people taking an interest in conservative activism.

“We’re not stereotypical, cookie-cutter Republicans,” he said.

Chance Bennett — best known as Chance the Rapper, another rap mega-star — tweeted his support of West, Hosler noted.

“Black people don’t have to be Democrats,” Bennett tweeted Thursday. “Next President gon(sic) be independent.”

West and other celebrities who support Trump’s agenda are in the minority among high-profile musicians, actors and entertainers. West is joined among those ranks by Roseanne Barr, Ted Nugent, Mike Tyson and Dennis Rodman.

Hosler said the reaction locally to the invitation has been favorable.

“My biggest thing is the new Republican party,” he said. “Republican love and accepting everybody. They might not look like you, think completely like you, but we’re all about freedom and liberty.”

Hosler’s claim of a big-tent Republican Party is belied by voting records show a small number of minorities supported Trump. Reuters reported in 2016 that 8 percent of African American voters, 28 percent of Hispanic voters and 27 percent of Asian American voters cast their ballots for Trump. Those figures amounted to the lowest minority vote for a president in decades, the report said.

Conrad Swanson

Conrad Swanson