QAnon supporter defeats incumbent Republican in Colorado primary

·3 min read
Lauren Boebert's views on QAnon have seen her described as a 'fringe' candidate: AP
Lauren Boebert's views on QAnon have seen her described as a 'fringe' candidate: AP

A supporter of the fringe far-right conspiracy theory movement known as QAnon has won a congressional primary in Colorado, putting her in contention for a Republican-held seat in the House of Representatives.

Lauren Boebert, who runs a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado where employees openly carry firearms, described her views on the QAnon movement in a May interview with conspiracy theorist Ann Vandersteel.

While explaining that her mother is more devoted to the movement than she is, Ms Boebert said that “Honestly, everything I’ve heard of Q – I hope that this is real. Because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that’s what I’m for.

“And so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”

While he originally endorsed Ms Boebert’s opponent, incumbent Steve Tipton, he offered her his congratulations in a tweet after the result was announced.

Asked by the Huffington Post whether the party would disavow Ms Boebert’s statements, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson told the Huffington Post that “We’ll get back to you when Cheri Bustos and the DCCC disavow dangerous conspiracy theorists like Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff who have pushed without evidence their wild-eyed claims that the president of the United States of America is actually a secret Russian double agent under control of the Kremlin”.

The Independent has contacted the committee and Ms Boebert's campaign for further comment.

QAnon, which has been described as a cult or even a nascent religion, is an online movement whose followers embrace a long list of interlinked conspiracy theories, some of them bizarre in the extreme. Among its core tenets is that a shadowy globalist cabal of political and celebrity paedophiles – including the Clintons and Oprah Winfrey – is plotting to overthrow Donald Trump with the help of the “deep state”.

These events, followers believe, have been foretold by “Q”, an anonymous figure (or figures) who posts cryptic messages, or “Q drops”, on a series of internet platforms. The movement’s followers pore over these in minute detail, interpreting them to mean all manner of things; however, they coalesce around the idea that Mr Trump himself is somehow at the centre of events.

Among other Republican candidates endorsing QAnon is Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is heavily favoured to win a solidly Republican seat in northwest Georgia provided she gets through a primary runoff next month. In a 2017 YouTube video, she expressed her enthusiasm: “I’m very excited about that now there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

Elsewhere, out-and-out QAnon follower Joe Rae Perkins recently won the Republican Senate primary in Oregon. However, the seat is considered safely Democratic, and she is not expected to make it to Congress.

Among followers, Q’s identity and proximity to the president himself remains a matter of debate. However, Mr Trump has retweeted scores of messages using well-known QAnon references, including the distinctive hashtag #WWG1WGA (“where we go one, we go all”) and allusions to “the storm” – an imagined purge of the “swamp” in which Mr Trump’s enemies will be executed or sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Ms Boebert’s chances of making it to the House of Representatives are unclear. While Colorado’s third district has been in Republican hands since Mr Tipton won it in 2010, it was already considered reasonably competitive before Ms Boebert won the primary.

With Joe Biden polling well in the Democratic-leaning state, the choice of a relatively fringe Republican candidate will give the Democrats hope of recapturing the district as they work hard to keep control of the house.

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