Prominent QAnon figure Ron Watkins has announced his plans to run for Congress in Arizona via a dramatic video on Thursday. Earlier in the day he filed a “statement of interest” to run in Arizona’s first congressional district against Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran, an initial step to petition for signatures to appear on the ballot, as Vice reports.
His apparent bid will make him the most prominent QAnon-related person to run for office in the United States, signifying how deep the far-right conspiracy-driven group has recently taken hold within the Republican party.
In the clip released Thursday evening, he appeared outside Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office. He lauded the AG for “proceeding on election fraud cases” and re-upped the QAnon false claim that the election was stolen from Donald Trump via election fraud. Watkins said that his beliefs, along with being inspired from a sermon he attended from pastor Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church, led to his decision to run against O’Halleran, whom he called “O’Hooligan” in the video.
“I’ve come to realize that following God’s word is not always the easiest route but if we don’t follow our beliefs and the founding principles of our nation, it will crumble this must stop now,” he said. “Therefore I have decided to double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington D.C. I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona district number one.”
Well, it’s official! QAnon Ron Watkins, after consultation with his pastor, says he’s decided to “double down with God as my compass,” and filed today to run against Congressman Tom O’Halleran from Maricopa. Your 2021 Republican Party! pic.twitter.com/RPFNwgaakg
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) October 15, 2021
Watkins was an administrator of the fringe message board 8kun where the anonymous leader Q posted, before he resigned on Election Day 2020. But after he stepped down, Watkins continued to actively promote voting fraud conspiracy theories on his Twitter account before he was banned from the platform following the January 6th insurrection. Many believe Watkins himself was the anonymous poster known as Q, a theory pushed by a prominent HBO documentary series, Q: Into the Storm.
Watkins does not appear to live in Arizona, as Vice notes, but he could move there in order to represent the state per U.S. law.