The former 8chan administrator and a man widely believed to be behind the QAnon conspiracy theories has filed a declaration of interest in running in the Republican primary elections for a seat in Congress.
Ron Watkins – who fueled a baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election results were fraudulent or manipulated – intends to run for the Arizona Congressional District’s first seat in the House of Representatives, according to a declaration of interest filed with the Arizona Secretary of State October 13.
In a Telegram video post on Oct. 14, Mr. Watkins said he decided to “double down with God as a compass to lead this fight in the Washington DC swamps.”
âI am here to officially announce my candidacy for Congress in Arizona,â he said. “Under the authority of God, we will take over Congress, overthrow the Senate and secure the presidency.”
A phone number listed with the depot has a Flagstaff area code and goes to voicemail that has not been configured. An email attached to the record corresponds to an email used by Mr. Watkins to promote his NFT auction.
In recent days, Mr Watkins has lent his support to at least two Arizona Republican politicians, including former state attorney general Tom Horne and Kari Lake, a former Donald Trump-endorsed local news anchor and candidate to the next state governor.
Mr Watkins may not be eligible to run for a post in the state – at the start of this year he was still living in Japan – prompting his critics and QAnon analysts to present his apparent political ambitions as a fundraising program.
Arizona’s 1st Congressional seat is currently held by Democrat Tom O’Halleran, who has beaten a Republican opponent three times, likely putting Mr. Watkins in a no-shoot field of possible suitors.
Mr. Watkins’ file was first reported by Dillon Rosenblatt of KJZZ, a subsidiary of Phoenix NPR.
Following his resignation from 8chan in November 2020, Mr. Watkins continued to amplify baseless conspiracy theories related to the election – including false allegations that votes were manipulated by vote-counting machines – with the aim to overturn millions of American votes.
He was named an expert witness in a lawsuit against discredited electoral challenger Sidney Powell, and his conspiracy theories were shared on far-right media networks.
His Twitter account was permanently suspended in January following violence at the United States Capitol on January 6, a riot sparked by QAnon and other election-related conspiracy theories, and the former president’s persistent lie. that the election was “stolen” from him.
Mr Watkins has also backed a false partisan ‘audit’ of Maricopa County election results, and in recent days he has called for a meeting with State Attorney General Mark Brnovich for insufficiently supporting GOP efforts. aimed at rejecting the results.
Journalists who have been following QAnon and a recent HBO documentary series on the movement have placed Mr. Watkins as the central figure – if not the source of the Q-adjacent posts – in ideology. He denied his involvement, insisting he was simply administering the forums.
On October 14, he posted on his Telegram account that “the fake media continue to insist that I am part of a QANON plot”.
âAs we all know, there is no QANON,â he wrote. “What exists are the many God-fearing, hard-working people who are breaking the hold of tyranny over our country.”
QAnon – a decentralized far-right belief system that has proliferated on message boards like 8chan – has entered mainstream GOP politics in the run-up to the 2020 election, with supporters joining campaign rallies and appearing on the media. social media of Trump allies, while dozens of Republican candidates for local, state and federal offices across the United States had ties to the movement.
Mr Watkins, who has repeatedly promised revelations that never happened, also announced earlier this month that he is “releasing some really, really big news” ahead of a QAnon conference in Las Vegas, where he is one of the guest speakers.