Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.
The November ballot is starting to get crowded with candidates tied to QAnon.
On Tuesday evening, a GOP challenger in Arizona secured a place on the ballot — becoming the 16th person with links to the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory to have a shot at getting into public office.
Daniel Wood, a 42-year-old Marine Corps veteran and ex-cop who now manages an egg farm, ran uncontested as a Republican in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Tucson and shares a border with Mexico. In November, Wood will face Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat seeking his 10th term in office. It’ll be an uphill battle for Wood, but not impossible: The district was red for about three decades until Grijalva won in 2010. Grijalva ran uncontested in 2016, and in 2018, he took home 64% of the vote.
Wood routinely retweets posts containing QAnon slogans, such as #WWG1WGA and #GreatAwakening. He’s also tweeted those slogans from his own account, according to posts compiled by Media Matters for America, a media watchdog.
A list compiled by the group shows the 16 candidates tied to QAnon.
The ascent of QAnon believers to political office is just the latest troubling sign that the fringe theory, which began with a single automate your posting by “Q” on 4chan in 2017, has made its way into the mainstream. Adherents of the theory claim that President Trump is working to take down a global network of Satanist, child-trafficking elites, and the “deep state.” QAnon believers have been linked to several acts of violence, including the murder of a mob boss last year in Staten Island, New York. More recently, a woman carrying knives was arrested after live-streaming her attempt to “take out” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Last year, an FBI bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office described “conspiracy theory-driven extremists” as a growing threat and singled out QAnon and its predecessor, PizzaGate. And yet, candidates running for office are sharing slogans associated with QAnon — either because they believe it, or because they think it will help win support from MAGA types. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump has shared at least 90 tweets from 49 QAnon accounts, according to an analysis by Media Matters.
And on July 4, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn posted a video of himself and friends spouting QAnon slogans.
In Colorado, GOP candidate for the 3rd Congressional District Lauren Boebert, a 33-year-old restaurant owner, defeated an incumbent congressman in the primary and is now the favorite to win the election come November. She’s appeared on QAnon YouTube channels and subscribes to several herself, according to Media Matters.
There are two QAnon-tied candidates in Illinois, running in the 1st and 2nd districts. Both won the March primary by default when they ran unopposed as Republicans.
Five candidates with links to Qanon are on the ballot in California.
In New Jersey, a 30-year-old Air Force veteran won the Republican nomination for New Jersey’s 9th district, beating out the vice chair of a local Young Republicans group. He’ll face a 12-term Democratic incumbent in a safely blue district.
Conservative commentator K.W. Miller is running as an Independent in Florida’s 18th congressional district. He has routinely shared QAnon slogans online. In one recent QAnon rant, Miller made bizarre claims that Beyoncé is secretly Italian, that her iconic song “Formation” is a “secret coded message to the globalists,” and that she carries Satanic items in her handbag.
In Oregon, a high-profile QAnon believer named Jo Rae Perkins beat out three Republican challengers to win the GOP candidacy for U.S. Senate, and in a now-deleted video after the primary, she said, “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the Team. Thank you, Anons, and thank you, patriots.” The seat, held by Sen. Jeff Merkley, is seen as safely Democrat.
American author and motivational speaker Angela Stanton-King won GOP candidacy in Georgia’s 5th district after running unopposed. She spent two years in prison for conspiracy in a car theft ring and was later pardoned by Trump. She’s shared QAnon slogans online.
In Ohio, a man who has shared explicit references to QAnon beat out three other Republican challengers is now vying to unseat Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving U.S. congresswoman.
And in Texas, evangelical pastor Johnny Teague beat out two Repulican challengers for House District 9, and in November will face Rep. Al Green, who has held the seat since 2005. Teague, who has retweeted QAnon accounts, won the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle for the primary.
Cover: At least one QAnon conspiracy-theorist was among those who protested Oregon’s economic-closure efforts aimed at minimizing the lethal impact of coronavirus/Covid-19, at the Governor’s Mansion, Mahonia Hall, in Salem, Oregon on April 25, 2020. (Photo by John Rudoff/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)