GOP Candidate Was ‘Physically In Tears’ After Campaign Denied Her QAnon Beliefs
Long-time QAnon supporter Jo Rae Perkins bested three Republicans to win Oregon’s senatorial primary, but the Republican establishment is wary of supporting the conspiracy theorist and her own campaign has tried to walk back her professed QAnon beliefs, according to ABC News.
QAnon began in 2017 on the anonymous forum 4Chan. The group has promoted Pizzagate, the conspiracy theory that the Clintons were running a sex-trafficking ring out of a DC pizza shop; the Obama birtherism movement; and the widespread belief that President Donald Trump has been tasked with bringing down the “deep state.”
The GOP appears to be distancing itself from Perkins over the issue.
It is currently unclear if the Oregon Republican Party will endorse Perkins’ campaign.
ABC News reported that the “National Republican Senatorial Committee would not express support for Perkins and instead responded when asked with a list of unrelated allegations against Democratic Senate candidates before saying ‘and THIS is what ABC News is focused on.’”
The Trump campaign and the White House declined to comment for the report.
A statement made to Perkins’ twitter account following her primary win said Perkins’ would “never describe herself as a follower” of QAnon.
However, Perkins later said she was “literally physically in tears” after reading the statement posted to her account and reaffirmed her belief in the conspiracy theory.
Perkins said, “Some people think that I follow Q like I follow Jesus. Q is the information and I stand with the information resource.”
She claims she is not backpedaling because she did not fully read the statement and would have asked her campaign to “fix it” if she had realized before it was posted to her Twitter account.
Perkins has said on record she would use the information she learned from the QAnon conspiracy theory during her tenure as a US Senator.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has previously classified QAnon as a domestic terrorist threat. In a document the organization said, “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”
Before Trump took office, he was a longtime supporter of the Obama birtherism movement, a conspiracy theory that asserts President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore illegally holding office as president. This conspiracy has been debunked, given that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii; however, that did not stop Trump from taking to Twitter to promote the theory to his millions of followers.
As president, Trump has invited QAnon supporters to the White House for a “social media summit,” he has been careful to never directly endorse or refute the movement.
Joseph Uscinski, a political-science professor at the University of Miami who focuses on fringe beliefs, told ABC News that it is “in [Trump’s] favor not to denounce” the QAnon conspiracy theory or its followers.
“There have been lower level officials who’ve said we're not endorsing this. But he hasn't. So the status quo is what works best for him. He can keep these people in his camp without saying something they disagree with. And then he doesn't have to do anything that would make him look more of a conspiracy theorist that he already looks like. By outwardly endorsing it.”
The report noted that even with the support of her party, Perkins will have a hard time winning Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley’s seat in November as Democrats have a stronghold in Oregon.