Oregon Republicans on Tuesday elected a Senate nominee who believes in QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that has taken root among some far-right supporters of President Trump.
Jo Rae Perkins bested three other candidates to win the GOP nomination to face Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in November.
In a video posted to her Twitter feed Tuesday night, Perkins declared that she supports the conspiracy theory, which revolves around “Q,” an anonymous Internet user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance.
“Where we go one, we go all,” Perkins said in the video, reciting a QAnon slogan. “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.”
QAnon is a conspiracy theory based around an anonymous online poster known as “Q” — a pseudonym that comes from the Q-level security clearance, the Department of Energy equivalent of “Top Secret.”
Beginning on October 28, 2017, Q began posting on the 4chan message board /pol/ about Hillary Clinton’s imminent arrest.
Followers of Q became known as QAnon, and they began awaiting “The Storm,” during which all of Trump’s enemies, including Rep. Adam Schiff and others, would be arrested and executed for being murderous child-eating pedophiles.
They also believe John F. Kennedy is alive and will soon join Trump on his reelection ticket.
Support for “Q” has become a staple in crowds at Trump rallies around the US over the past few years.
Celebrities like actress Roseanne Barr and former athlete turned conservative activist Curt Schilling have also shown support for the theory, as have right-wing media figures Alex Jones and Sean Hannity.
Perkins made her support for QAnon part of her campaign, saying in a January video that there is a “very strong probability/possibility that Q is a real group of people, military intelligence, working with President Trump.”
In a New Year’s Day tweet, she also tweeted about Q.
In fact, the conspiracy theory has been a regular topic in the candidate’s social media postings.
In becoming the GOP nominee to take on Merkley, Perkins became the first known Senate candidate to openly support the conspiracy theory.
But there are nearly two dozen other GOP candidates promoting it:
- Mykel Barthelemy is a Republican candidate running in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. She has tweeted the QAnon slogan “Where we go one, we go all,” often abbreviated as “WWG1WGA.” On her personal Facebook page, Barthelemy has posted multiple QAnon memes and a promotion for a Facebook group called “QAnon RedPillers.” In March, she appeared on Patriots’ Soapbox, a major QAnon YouTube channel, where she said, “After the last four years of watching everything that’s been going on — the attacks and the deep state and the swamp rising up and — I always knew they were there, but hey, everything that they said that was conspiracy has been proven to be true.” In 2018, she also commented on a fact check from Lead Stories debunking a falsehood that the FBI inspector general reported that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring, writing, “So her noted crime against children is okay? THE FUDGE OUT OF HERE!”
- Dion Bergeron is a Republican candidate running in Indiana’s 1st Congressional District. On March 15, Bergeron accepted an endorsement from a QAnon super PAC while tweeting the QAnon hashtag and QAnon slogan. On his campaign Facebook page, he wrote that his “license plate says THANQ on the Indiana ‘In God We Trust’ plate,” and there “are stickers that proclaim Where We Go One, We Go All” on the side windows of his car. He also called Jim Watkins, the owner of 8chan/8kun who helped create the super PAC and has previously signaled support for QAnon, a “patriot.”
- Lauren Boebert is a Republican candidate running in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. She appeared on the online show Steel Truth, hosted by QAnon supporter Ann Vandersteel, during which Vandersteel asked her if she knew about “the Q movement.” Boebert responded that she was “very familiar with it” and said that while she did not focus on it a lot, she hoped that QAnon “is real because it only means America is getting stronger and better.” She also said that everything she heard about QAnon “is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”
- Mike Cargile is a Republican candidate running in California’s 35th Congressional District. Cargile was one of the only two candidates who ran in the nonpartisan blanket primary on March 3, which means under California election law, he will appear on the ballot in November’s general election. Cargile’s Twitter profile includes the QAnon slogan and “#OathKeeper,” likely a reference to a far-right armed militia group. He has also tweeted and retweeted the QAnon slogan, and responded “absolutely” to a user’s tweet that “now’s the time to get On Board” with “#QAnon.”
- Erin Cruz is a Republican candidate running in California’s 36th Congressional District. Cruz came in second in the nonpartisan blanket primary on March 3, which means under California election law, she will appear on the ballot in November’s general election. According to NBC News, Cruz believes some of the “Q” posts are “valid information,” saying, “I think that the biggest thing with QAnon is there’s information coming out. And sometimes it is in line with what’s going on in government.” She also told NBC that she believes “there is someone out there putting information on the internet” as part of QAnon, adding that “a conspiracy theory only sounds crazy until it’s proven.”
- Marjorie Taylor Greene is a Republican candidate running in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. In 2018, she posted on Facebook about an “awesome post by Q.” She has posted the QAnon slogan on Facebook and on Twitter, the latter in response to a tweet defending the legitimacy of “Q” where she also wrote, “Trust the plan” (another catchphrase QAnon supporters use). She also has tweeted the QAnon-connected hashtag “#GreatAwakening” to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Greene “has posted a series of tweets defending QAnon, including one” — now deleted — “encouraging her followers to message her with questions so she can ‘walk you through the whole thing.’”
- Alison Hayden is a Republican candidate running in California’s 15th Congressional District. Hayden came in second in the nonpartisan blanket primary on March 3, which means under California election law, she will appear on the ballot in November’s general election. On her campaign Twitter account, Hayden has repeatedly retweeted content explicitly promoting QAnon, along with repeatedly tweeting the QAnon-connected hashtag “#GreatAwakening.” On what Ballotpedia lists as her personal Twitter account (an account her campaign account has previously tagged), she has tweeted the QAnon slogan and “#GreatAwakening.”
- Gary Heyer is an independent candidate running in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. Heyer, a delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention, calls himself an “Independent #QPlan Candidate” in his Twitter profile. In December, he tweeted a video of himself apparently outside of a church and next to a sign with “Q” on it, saying he was “inviting all of the churchgoers to partake in the great awakening.” He also added the QAnon slogan and tagged other QAnon accounts in that tweet.
- Bob Lancia is a Republican candidate and a former member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives who is running in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District. Lancia has retweeted content explicitly promoting QAnon.
- Tracy Lovvorn is a Republican candidate running in Massachusetts’ 2nd Congressional District. Lovvorn has posted the QAnon slogan on her Twitter and Facebook campaign accounts, along with a photo of a bell with the slogan on it.
- Jessi Melton is a Republican candidate running in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. On February 13, Melton made an appearance on the YouTube channel of InTheMatrixxx, a major QAnon account whose channel is devoted to the conspiracy theory. Melton promoted her appearance on her Twitter account by mentioning the “Q movement.” During her appearance, one of the hosts asked if “you know about QAnon yet,” to which Melton responded, “Yeah, a little bit about you guys. I mean, I know you’re kind of just similar to me. I mean, you call it like you see it. And a lot of that are supposed to be things we don’t speak of.” The hosts then discussed a “Q” post with her regarding Attorney General William Barr. Melton also lauded the channel as a “pro-republic show” that is getting “awareness out there,” and discussed having the hosts appear at one of her fundraisers.
- C. Wesley Morgan is a Republican candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. On both his Twitter and personal Facebook accounts, Morgan has posted in response to a QAnon account defending the conspiracy theory, “You are 100% correct in your assessment of Q. We know the truth and the truth will set us free,” and then added the QAnon slogan. He has repeatedly posted the QAnon slogan on both his personal and campaign Facebook pages, along with repeatedly posting videos from a QAnon YouTube channel.
- Buzz Patterson is a Republican candidate running in California’s 7th Congressional District. Patterson came in second in the nonpartisan blanket primary on March 3, which means under California election law, he will appear on the ballot in November’s general election. On April 7, Patterson tweeted “yep” in response to a user asking if he “support[s] the Q movement.”
- Mindy Robinson is a Republican candidate running in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. She has posted the QAnon slogan (misspelled) on Twitter and Facebook. Last June, she tweeted a video from a QAnon account pushing a false claim about author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll after Carroll reported that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Her tweet was then shared by Donald Trump Jr. She also has pushed a conspiracy theory about Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and was a major amplifier of a hashtag for the “Clinton body count” conspiracy theory after Jeffrey Epstein’s death.
- Christine Scott is a Republican candidate also running in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. The homepage of her campaign website features the QAnon slogan.
- Dan Severson is a Republican candidate and a former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives who is running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. Severson has tweeted the QAnon slogan.
- Reba Sherrill is a Republican candidate also running in Florida’s 21st Congressional District. In a YouTube video, a QAnon supporter interviewed Sherrill about attending a Florida QAnon “Great Awakening” rally, during which she said, “I’ve been following Q since the beginning.” She also tweeted “thanQ” in response to the person who uploaded the video.
- Danielle Stella is a Republican candidate running in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. Stella has repeatedly posted in support of QAnon, worn QAnon apparel, and shared QAnon videos. An apparent aide for Stella told Right Wing Watch that the candidate “stands 100% behind the principles of patriotism, unity/inclusiveness (WWG1WGA!) and love for country that Qanon promotes,” although a former campaign staffer dubiously told The Daily Beast that Stella’s support for QAnon was “a ruse” to get support. Yet Stella is also a member of a small QAnon group on Telegram, where she has posted about being in a “#QArmy” and praised her “Qfamily.” Stella has also endorsed another baseless conspiracy theory originating from 4chan that accused her would-be opponent, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), of hiring a hitman to assassinate a woman. Stella was later banned from Twitter for suggesting that Omar be hung for treason.
- Darlene Swaffar is a Republican candidate also running in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. The candidate has repeatedly tweeted the QAnon slogan, including in a bizarre claim about Trump’s tweets and the life of Benjamin Franklin being related to “Q” as “the 17th letter of the alphabet.” On her personal Facebook page — whose intro section also includes the QAnon slogan — Swaffar has posted multiple QAnon memes. Last April, Swaffar also wrote on a Facebook page called “QAnon Great Awakening” that the page’s posts about QAnon “have inspired me to explore my run for Congress in 2020” and claimed she had “already met with the Republican party in South Florida and have received their endorsement, as well as endorsement from three other major organizations.”
- Rob Weber is a Republican candidate running in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. He won the Republican primary on April 28 and thus will be on the ballot in November. On May 3, Weber quote-tweeted a QAnon account’s tweet featuring the QAnon slogan and hashtag and a video of someone saying the slogan. Weber wrote above the tweet, “Congrats on being ‘17’d,’” referring to “Q,” the 17th letter of the alphabet, and to “Q” linking to that tweet the day before (being “Q’d” is a term used by QAnon supporters to refer to being linked to by “Q”).
- Nichole Williams is a Republican candidate running in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. The candidate has tweeted the QAnon hashtag and repeatedly tweeted the QAnon slogan along with the hashtag “#wearethenewsnow,” a phrase commonly used by QAnon supporters. On Facebook, the candidate has posted some of the same hashtags, along with the hashtag “#Q.”
- Samuel Williams is a Republican candidate running in Texas’ 16th Congressional District. Williams came in first in the primary on March 3 and will head to a runoff with the second-place finisher on July 14 (the runoff was originally scheduled on May 26 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic). Williams has tweeted the QAnon hashtag and repeatedly tweeted the QAnon slogan. He has also run a Facebook ad promoting an appearance in January on Patriots’ Soapbox, where he appealed for financial support for his campaign.
- Lauren Witzke is a Republican candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Delaware. She has repeatedly tweeted the QAnon slogan, including in response to an account of another QAnon supporter who claimed that “nearly every patriot, Q follower, true news speaker and real investigative journalist is a believer in Jesus Christ” and who was “encouraged by this great awakening.”
In Oregon, Merkley is heavily favored to win in November, but Perkins’s primary victory nonetheless presents a dilemma for Republicans in Washington.
Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he would need to learn more about Perkins but that the organization generally gives its backing to GOP candidates.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Young said when asked about Perkins’s belief in QAnon. “I’ll have to learn more about it, but the NRSC tends to support Republican candidates, as you know.”
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to comment when asked about Perkins’s candidacy.