QAnon Number Says He’s Running for Congress in Arizona


Ron Watkins, one of the most prominent figures in the QAnon conspiracy movement, said Monday he was running for Congress in Arizona because the state was at the forefront of many Republicans’ battle for the 2020 election results.

Watkins, a prominent proponent of false claims that Donald Trump’s presidency was stolen, said he wanted to “fix the elections from inside the machine”.

“For the last year or so I’ve been really involved with electoral integrity issues, and in Arizona in particular, so I decided to come here and just take the next step,” Watkins told the Associated Press in a brief telephone interview.

Arizona was the epicenter of the push by many of Trump’s supporters to find evidence of the former president’s false claims that the 2020 elections were overshadowed by fraud. Trump supporters hired by Republicans in the state Senate to count ballots and review election data confirmed Biden’s victory but tense falsehoods about deleted data, duplicate votes, and falsehoods in a report that ignored basic facts about conducting elections other offenses on.

For several weeks now, Watkins has been posting videos on the social networking site Telegram of his unsuccessful attempts to speak to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, whom he plans to indict with alleged electoral irregularities.

Watkins was vague about his Arizona connections.

Watkins said he lived briefly in Yuma as a child and estimated it was between 5 and 7 years old, but couldn’t remember if he attended school there. As evidence of his ties to Arizona, he emailed a photo of him as a child with his father and family dog ​​at the Grand Canyon. He also said he had family in the state but declined to elaborate.

Watkins said he moved to Arizona “about two weeks ago” but repeatedly refused to give his home address, citing death threats he allegedly received. On records filed with the Federal Election Commission, he lists the address of a Phoenix condominium that has been owned by Liz Harris and her husband since 2014, according to Maricopa County ownership records. Harris led a group of volunteers who interviewed voters at their doors and released a report claiming there were tens of thousands of “lost” and “ghost” votes, but there was no evidence and drew nonsensical conclusions.

Hope O’Brien / Cronkite News

A protester holds a “Q Sent Me” sign outside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in downtown Phoenix in November 2020.

Online real estate listings indicate that the property is for sale.

For his campaign headquarters, Watkins lists a Sedona address that looks like a mailbox. He said he plans to live in the same district as Democratic MP Tom O’Halleran once the new Congressional district boundaries are established.

According to the US Constitution, Watkins only needs to be a “resident” of Arizona on election day next year. There is no minimum length of stay in the state and there is also no obligation to live in the district that he wants to represent.

Watkins was the longtime administrator of 8kun and its predecessor, 8chan, online forums known for misinformation and hate speech that were instrumental in founding the QAnon conspiracy movement. He said he gave up the role last year.

A core belief for QAnon supporters is that Trump was secretly fighting a Satan-worshiping, child-sex cabal made up of prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and “deep enemies of the state”. An internet poster called Q fueled the movement by posting notices on the 8kun forum.

Many believe that Watkins himself is responsible for the messages posted by Q. He denied this.

“I’m not Q. I was never Q. I never posted as Q. I don’t know who posted as Q,” said Watkins. “I mean, everyone has their own hypothesis. I don’t have any facts to back it up. “

The Arizona Congressional Borders are still a work in progress, but O’Halleran is almost certain to face a tough re-election campaign.

“I don’t think sane Arizonans want extremists to represent them in Congress,” O’Halleran said in a video posted on Twitter Monday that highlighted Watkins’ QAnon connections.

In addition to election questions, Watkins said he wanted to pass a Digital Bill of Rights to prevent tech companies from restricting online discourse.

“We have to make sure that bots and companies and so on do not censor us and that we are not destroyed by algorithms and that we are able to spread our word and talk about the things that are important without being banned.” and censored everywhere, ”said Watkins, who was banned from Twitter.

He also said he wanted to abolish COVID-19 public health restrictions and feared the United States was working towards creating a Chinese-style social credit system that would restrict people from doing their shopping or public activities in services.

Watkins receives help from Tony Teora, a science fiction writer who is unsuccessfully running for the California congregation. If they can raise enough money, they plan to hire a campaign manager, open an office, and build a campaign, Teora said.

“Ron is going to be building a real campaign out here. But it depends on if he has any support so he will find out shortly, ”said Teora.

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