Washington, DC (CNN) – In November 2017, Marjorie Taylor Green, a small businesswoman in a suburb of Atlanta, posted a nearly half-hour-long video on Facebook describing elements of a new conspiracy theory called QAnon, which plunges President Donald Trump into an imaginary battle with a sinister conspiracy of Democrats and celebrities who abuse children.
Q is a patriot, we are sure of it, said Green in a video that has since been withdrawn. There is a unique opportunity to get pedophiles who worship Satan out of this global conspiracy, and I think we have the president to do that, she said, referring to Trump.
There is no factual evidence and no basis for a conspiracy theory. In the three years since the conspiracy began, QAnon has grown from a virtual American cult to a worldwide phenomenon. Not only are QAnon’s beliefs unrelated to reality, but they can also provoke real violence; the FBI warned last year that QAnon poses a potential domestic terrorist threat.
And now the people involved in Qanon’s conspiracy theory, including the Greens, are running for Congress.
Nearly two dozen Republicans across the country who have conspired with the QAnon will also vote in their congressional districts in November this year – or in two cases across the country as Senate candidates – and also as non-Congress and Independent Party candidates. Each candidate on the list was in contact with QAnon to varying degrees; some had contact with QAnon’s online content before seeking political views in their personal reports and later in their official campaign reports; others participated in QAnon-related programs and discussed conspiracy theories.
There are other candidates who have made references or coded references to QAnon in the past – for example, by making human and child trafficking a priority of the campaign – but CNN only includes candidates directly related to the conspiracy theory.
CNN asked each candidate to comment on how they came into contact with QAnon and whether they supported the conspiracy theory. Many have not responded to requests for comments. Many of the candidates who spoke with CNN tried to distance themselves from QAnon and said they preferred to focus on campaign issues. Some candidates stated that they did not know it, others referred to it as a source of information, while at least one candidate stated that he or she supported the TQ 100%. Green, who wanted to get rid of his support for QAnon after winning the first round of Congress, ignored the substance of the request for comment and attacked CNN.
Most of these candidates are expected to lose the race, and some could skillfully lose if they compete against the Democrats in the blue districts. Only two candidates have a chance to win in November of this year: Green, who is expected to win her seat after the departure of her opponent, and Lauren Biebert, a Colorado conservative businesswoman whose race for the House of Representatives is ranked as the Tilt Republican by Inside Elections, along with Nathan L. Gonzalez, a CNN sponsor. Biebert defeated the incumbent Republican in the primary election and faced Democrat Diane Mitch Bush.
Republican officials did little against their candidates who contacted or accepted the QAnon. Some state parties, such as the California AUC, have admitted candidates who distribute QAnon. In August, the minority leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, refuted this theory by saying there was no room for Anonymous in the Republican Party, and he recently voted for a bipartisan decision condemning Anonymous, but he also supported the Greens as Krump himself. Recently, Trump refused to convict QAnon’s supporters after they were informed of the conspiracy theory. He said they were very against pedophilia and that he agreed with them.
CNN asked the Californian Republican Party and the Republican National Senate Committee for comments, but they did not respond. Chris Peck, a spokesman for the National Republican Congress Committee, said the organization focuses on issues that matter to voters rather than Internet collusion theories, and accused the media of focusing on QAnon.
That’s what the candidates said or published on QAnon: