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Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the "Tiger King" star known widely as "Joe Exotic," has filed the paperwor

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the "Tiger King" star known widely as "Joe Exotic," has filed the paperwork to appear on the 2024 Democratic presidential primary ballot in Colorado.


Joe Exotic 4 President

DENVER (KDVR) – Joseph Maldonado-Passage, known widely as “Joe Exotic,” has filed the paperwork to appear on the 2024 Democratic presidential primary ballot in Colorado, according to the former zookeeper.


The 60-year-old was the subject of the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” which was released in 2020.


Maldonado is currently serving a 21-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot. Because he’s not set to be released until years after the 2024 election ends, he will run his campaign from prison.


‘Tiger King’ announces 2024 presidential bid

According to Maldonado, only two other people have done so before him.


Nothing in the law prevents a person from running for president from prison or as a convicted felon. This is because, constitutionally, the only requirements for office are that someone is 35 years or older, is a natural-born citizen, and has been a resident for 14 years.


In 2024, Maldonado is running as a Democrat, according to federal election filings.


To get on the ballot for a major party presidential primary in Colorado, a candidate can send a notarized statement of intent and a nonrefundable $500 filing fee at least 85 days before the election.


Maldonado says he chose Colorado as “the first target” in his journey to get on the ballot in all 50 states. According to his release, his next goal is New Hampshire.


Maldonado said his platform includes things like federal marijuana decriminalization and Bureau of Land Management reform.


He also criticized the “corrupt federal prison and justice system,” as well as former President Donald Trump for not fixing the system.


Additionally, he criticized Trump for pardoning rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black as a “facelift to get votes, as usual,” the release said.


Maldonado applied for a pardon by Trump but did not receive one.


“Put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more then [sic] one boyfriend at once and that Carole hates my guts,” Maldonado said on his campaign website.


“This all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice.”


Nexstar’s KDVR reached out to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office Monday for confirmation that Maldonado will be on the ballot but the office was closed for Juneteenth.


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