The liberal watchdog group Media Matters has identified 45 people already running for Congress who’ve promoted QAnon theories, as well as eight gubernatorial candidates and many more legislative candidates. Most are fringe candidates who won’t win their primaries, much less their elections. But the sheer number shows how deeply QAnon has sunk its teeth into the GOP.
“You’ve had an increase in QAnon-believing candidates out there coupled with Trump echoing and validating a lot of the sentiments,” Media Matters President Angelo Carusone told VICE News.
North Carolina state representative Mike Clampitt swore an oath to uphold the Constitution after his election in 2016 and again in 2020. But there’s another pledge that Clampitt said he’s upholding: to the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militant organization.
Dozens of Oath Keepers have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, some of them looking like a paramilitary group, wearing camo helmets and flak vests. But a list of more than 35,000 members of the Oath Keepers — obtained by an anonymous hacker and shared with ProPublica by the whistleblower group Distributed Denial of Secrets — underscores how the organization is evolving into a force within the Republican Party.
ProPublica identified Clampitt and 47 more state and local government officials on the list, all Republicans: 10 sitting state lawmakers; two former state representatives; one current state assembly candidate; a state legislative aide; a city council assistant; county commissioners in Indiana, Arizona and North Carolina; two town aldermen; sheriffs or constables in Montana, Texas and Kentucky; state investigators in Texas and Louisiana; and a New Jersey town’s public works director.
ProPublica’s analysis also found more than 400 people who signed up for membership or newsletters using government, military or political campaign email addresses, including candidates for Congress and sheriff, a retired assistant school superintendent in Alabama, and an award-winning elementary school teacher in California.
Over the past dozen years, at least 28 people who currently hold elected office joined or financially supported the Oath Keepers, the extremist group that figured prominently in the violent Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol, a BuzzFeed News analysis of data from the organization shows.In the months since the Capitol insurrection, as two dozen people linked to the Oath Keepers have been charged with crimes, including conspiracy, for their roles, several of those elected officials have continued to voice support for the organization. And at least two officials — David Eastman and Mark Finchem of the Alaska and Arizona Houses of Representatives, respectively — were in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6 to protest the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory. Neither of the men has been charged.