Ron Watkins, an Arizona Republican rumored to be the anonymous QAnon poster “Q,” lost his bid for a congressional seat on Tuesday.
Watkins, who has strongly denied being the lead writer of the movement that spawned “Pizzagate,” came in seventh out of seven GOP candidates in the state’s 2nd congressional district, earning just 3,000 votes, while just over 70% of the districts reported on Wednesday.
Watkins, who described himself as a computer scientist in his thirties, had an alt-right bulletin board displaying Q’s writings, leading some journalists and academics to conclude that Watkins may have posted as Q. Watkins denied it during a debate in April. “I wasn’t Q, and I’m not,” he said.
Ron Watkins, who spoke to the media at a “Save America” meeting in Florence, Arizona, denies being the writer behind QAnon. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC-BY-SA 2.0)
The conspiracies promoted by QAnon, including the fact that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, have permeated mainstream Republican politics.
“When the elections were stolen, I fought tooth and nail to get the information to the politicians,” Watkins said during the April debate, echoing support for the false notion that Trump lost to widespread fraud, whose acceptance has become a litmus test for many Republican primaries.
Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have both expressed support for the far-right conspiracy movement that claims Donald Trump is waging a covert war with “deep state” elites. Greene later said she regretted buying some right-wing conspiracies, while Boebert said she was never a QAnon supporter, despite hoping the conspiracy was real.
Despite Boebert and Greene, ties to QAnon are often seen as a political liability, and a number of Republicans with open ties to the movement have been unsuccessful.
Watkins’ campaign was also plagued by weak fundraising, an uneasy debate appearance, and his questionable connection to a district he said he grew up in but didn’t return to run until late 2021.
Watkins ran in Democrat Tom O’Halleran’s Second Congressional District, which is leaning Republican in 2022, according to election forecasters. Eli Crane, a Trump-backed former Navy SEAL, firmly led the GOP field before the race was declared.
This article originally appeared on The Bharat Express News and has been updated.