The man who is alleged to have been in control of the QAnon conspiracy cult through secretive postings on an imageboard he helps run is set to come dead last in the crowded primary for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
Ron Watkins was trailing six other Republican candidates on Wednesday morning as 72 per cent of the votes were counted; more results are expected today but the overall dynamic of the race is not likely to change. Eli Crane lead the pack by a hefty margin, though the race is not yet called.
Mr Watkins’s candidacy would have been utterly unremarkable were it not for the control he allegedly has over a pseudonymous identity on the imageboard 8kun, which is owned by his father Jim and Ron ran as site administrator until at least 2020. According to journalists and at least one instance where Mr Watkins appeared to slip up and admit to controlling the account, Mr Watkins has likely been authoring the so-called “Q drops” which have defined the beliefs of the QAnon movement for years.
That’s significant because the Q following has grown into a powerful force that could envelop as many as 15 per cent of Americans and others around the world as it preaches that America and global politics in general are controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. The baffling conspiracy has grown significantly in recent years and supporters have often appeared at rallies for Donald Trump and other far-right politicians who have embraced them like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
In late December the movement almost culminated in an act of violence when a man stormed into a Washington DC pizza joint and demanded that he be allowed to investigate claims that it served as a front for a child sex ring while brandishing a rifle. He was arrested without incident instead, and sentenced to four years in prison.
Despite the conspiracy’s far reach it appears that Mr Watkins was unable to translate it into real-life support for his candidacy. By the end of vote counting late Tuesday evening, the former 8kun overlord was at just 2,999 votes, and trailed his nearest rival by almost 1,500.
QAnon believers were thought to have suffered a major blow to the credibility of their ideology with the election of Joe Biden and the general lack of mass arrests of Democrats that the “Q” poster on 8kun has long promised. Despite this, the theory persists and has even strengthened in terms of support numbers since Mr Biden ascended to the White House.
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