Republicans in the state of Oregon have voted to nominate someone who believes in the QAnon conspiracy theory as their candidate for U.S. Senate in November’s election showdown.
Jo Rae Perkins, whom Right Wing Watch profiled in January, won her primary election yesterday in a blowout, stomping her next closest opponent by more than 50,000 votes, according to official results. That means this November, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley—an incumbent since 2009—will face an opponent who has engaged with and spread messages associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that President Donald Trump and his allies are fighting a behind-the-scenes war against a cabal of pedophiles and their protectors, who are hiding in plain sight in business, entertainment, and Democratic politics. Believers of the conspiracy believe they are receiving updates on the covert operation to take down this cabal via cryptic riddles posted by an anonymous source on a far-right message board that, once decoded, reveal top-secret information.
Perkins shows no signs of cutting QAnon rhetoric from her campaign; even as the primary approached, Perkins shared campaign materials featuring homages to the conspiracy theory. In her victory speech Tuesday night, Perkins closed with an explicit acknowledgement of the QAnon movement.
“We’re in this together. It’s all for one, so let’s make it happen. As all of us Q people like to say: ‘Where we go one, we go all,’” Perkins said as an audience member cheered.
In a video posted to Twitter earlier Tuesday, Perkins looks into the camera and says: “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons and thank you patriots, and together we can save our Republic.”
— Jo Rae Perkins (@PerkinsForUSSen) May 20, 2020
Perkins received endorsements from Oregon Right to Life PAC and radio host Lars Larson, which she said at her victory party were “huge” for her candidacy.
Speaking to RWW in January, Perkins said that vocalizing her support of QAnon was “a very, highly calculated risk” and “either pure genius or pure insanity.” She said that she believed that there were many other candidates running this year who believe in QAnon, but that she just happened to be “bold enough to say, ‘Hey, I’m following Q because I want to know, because if the Q team is real, I want to know about it.’”
Additionally, Perkins will likely receive support from a small pro-QAnon Super PAC called “Disarm the Deep State.” The Super PAC’s site lists Perkins as a supported candidate, writing, “Mrs. Perkins is an avid follower of Q theory, and has [been] vocal in her ideas behind the movement.”
Perkins did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. It remains to be seen if the Oregon Republican Party and Republican National Committee will offer support for Perkins, who is among the dozens of QAnon supporters running for office this year.