Ron Watkins, an Arizona Republican rumored to be the anonymous Qanon the “Q” cartel lost its bid for a seat in Congress on Tuesday.
Watkins, who has adamantly denied being the main author of the movement that spawned “Pizza Gate,” he was seventh of seven Republican candidates in the state’s 2nd congressional district, garnering just 3,000 votes with just over 70% of precincts reported on Wednesday.
Watkins, a self-described computer scientist in his 30s, led a alt-right message board that housed Q’s writings, leading some journalists and scholars to conclude that Watkins may have been publishing as Q. Watkins denied this during a debate in April. “I was not Q, and I am not”, he said.
Ron Watkins, speaking to the media at a “Save America” rally in Florence, Arizona, denies being the writer behind QAnon. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC-BY-SA 2.0)
Conspiracies promoted by QAnon, including that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, have seeped into mainstream Republican politics.
“When the election was stolen, I was fighting tooth and nail to get information to politicians,” Watkins said during the April debate, echoing support for the misconception that Trump lost due to widespread fraud, acceptance of which it has become a litmus test for many Republican primaries.
Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), voiced their support for the far-right conspiracy movement that alleges Donald Trump is waging a secret war with “deep state” elites. Greene later said that she regrets buying some right wing conspiracieswhile Boebert said that she was never a QAnon follower despite hoping the conspiracy was real.
Boebert and Greene notwithstanding, ties to QAnon tend to be seen as a political liability, and several Republicans with open ties to the movement they have not been successful.
Watkins’ campaign was also plagued by weak fundraising, an awkward debate performance and his questionable connection to a district he said he grew up in but only returned in late 2021 to run for office.
Watkins was running in Democrat Tom O’Halleran’s 2nd Congressional District, which election forecasters say leans Republican in 2022. Eli Crane, a Trump-backed former Navy SEAL, was firmly leading the Republican field before he call the race.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.