Ron Watkins, a man suspected of key responsibility for the central propagation of the QAnon conspiracy theory, lost by double-digits in the Republican Congressional primary in Arizona’s Second Congressional District this week.
As of early Wednesday, Watkins was in last place among a total of seven candidates, with just under 3,000 votes from a pool of more than 79,000 votes, although the totals were likely to somewhat increase because only some 80 percent of the votes were tallied. Eli Crane, who received the endorsement of ex-President Donald Trump but wasn’t enthusiastically received when Trump mentioned him at an Arizona rally (crowd members seemingly booed his name), had 33.9 percent of the vote as of that point. Watkins’s total worked out to a little under four percent of the vote, meaning he was behind by over 30 percent. Watkins is specifically suspected of posting as “Q,” which is the online nickname for a figure who supposedly worked in the Trump administration where they gathered information on key alleged secrets, all of which are delusional nonsense. It was actually Watkins doing a significant chunk of the posting, some believe.
Watkins worked as an administrator of 8chan — later known as 8kun — which is where the messages from “Q” went up. One theory is that the “Q” presence on the platform was essentially taken over by Ron from a particular South African conspiracy theorist named Paul Furber, who was interviewed for an HBO documentary about the QAnon conspiracy theory and pushed the notion a faker began posting as “Q.” Furber didn’t admit he was the person originally posting as “Q,” and he doesn’t appear to have specifically alleged Ron Watkins was the person who basically assumed the “Q” mantle, but the claim about someone faking it certainly sounds like circumstantial evidence supporting the theory it’s Ron, who was at the helm of 8chan alongside his father, Jim Watkins. Technologically speaking, one or both of them could’ve seized control of an account on their site, including Q’s.
No confirmation of the identity of “Q” is available. The QAnon conspiracy theory runs on messages from “Q,” which sharply decreased in frequency — completely disappearing for awhile before the web presence’s recent return. The theory hinges on ideas including that key figures in public life are secretly pedophiles and cannibals, alongside the idea there’s an ongoing, secret fight to stop these non-existent evil-doers. QAnon’s repeatedly popped up in cases of violence, including the Capitol riot, where certain participants adhered to it. When Trump was asked about it during his presidency, he was non-committal but broadly accepting of the people involved in the movement. Besides his part in QAnon, Ron Watkins also got involved in pushing election-related conspiracy theories.
Elsewhere in Arizona, the far-right did better: Kari Lake, who got Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primary race for governor, was in the lead as of Wednesday afternoon, and Mark Finchem (who, like Lake, is an election conspiracy-pusher) won the GOP primary for the state’s Secretary of State role, where he’d be one of the last words on the handling of elections in the state.