Texas Republican Mayra Flores defeated Democrat Dan Sanchez in a special election earlier this month to secure a spot in Congress. The result is significant because the state’s 34th District had been blue, with Democrat Filemon Vela retiring this year to force the special election to carry out the remainder of his term. Flores’ victory in South Texas is another sign the party is losing ground with the state’s Hispanic population.
It’s also significant because Flores has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that the United States is run by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who would — or still will — be brought to justice by Donald Trump. Media Matters points out that Flores frequently adds “#Q” and “#QAnon” to her social media posts, as well as “#wwg1wga,” shorthand for “Where We Go One, We Go All,” a QAnon slogan.
CNN reported on Thursday that Flores also spread conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot last Jan. 6. “DC police let them through the gates! This was a set up! Antifa is definitely among this crowd!!!,” reads a deleted tweet that Flores shared. Flores also wrote, and then deleted, a tweet on Jan. 6 claiming the riot was “surely was caused by infiltrators.” CNN also uncovered addition occasions on which Flores shared QAnon-related hashtags.
Flores appeared on Fox News later on Thursday, claiming that she only shared QAnon-related hashtags because she was against the conspiracy theory. When she was asked why she added the hashtags to her posts, she scolded them for asking her about it. “Stay focused,” Flores said before again dodging the question of why she shared QAnon hashtags.
Rep. Mayra Flores says that when she used a QAnon hashtag on Twitter, it was meant to indicate she was opposed to it. She then immediately tries to change the topic, telling hosts to "stay focused" as they attempt to ask her follow up questions. Seems legit. pic.twitter.com/z24ZxDL6Qp
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 23, 2022
Flores has previously she believes in QAnon, telling the San Antonio Express-News that she’s “always been against any of that.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the most prominent QAnon supporter currently in Congress, has made similar denials. Her win in 2020 was alarming given the litany of outlandish conspiracy theories she’d pushed in the past, from the idea that 9/11 was staged, to the idea that California wildfires were started deliberately by Jews, to several theories revolving around Democrats and pedophilia. These types of ludicrous, unfounded claims have since worked their way into mainstream conservatism, and it’s no longer shocking for Republican congressional candidates to have pushed any number of unfounded conspiracy theories — including, of course, that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
There’s no evidence Flores has articulated any of these views, but it’s nonetheless concerning that she doesn’t seem to have any problem aligning herself with QAnon. Her decision to do so is another reminder that the conspiracy theory and all of its tendrils aren’t only flourishing on the fringes. QAnon followers are now a core demographic many Republicans feel they need to court as they vie to win a seat in Congress. Flores will still have to win the general election in November to retain the seat beyond the remainder of Vela’s term, but for now, at least, conspiracy theorists can rest easy knowing they have one more ally in Washington.