Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Just when it seemed Arizona Republicans couldn't make more of a spectacle, they found another way. As the party hardens around its fealty to former President Donald Trump, the GOP is filling up its midterm ballot with a roster of conspiracy theorists and extremists that could threaten the party's prospects in a state that's drifted leftward in recent elections. The latest of those candidates is Ron Watkins, a celebrity in the QAnon conspiracy world suspected of being Q, who announced his plans to run for Congress last week.
It isn't just that Watkins embraces the baseless claim that the November election was stolen. It's that an entire ticket is running on that falsehood now. The state's congressional delegation features Rep. Paul Gosar, who spoke earlier this year at a conference organized by a white nationalist, and Rep. Andy Biggs, who falsely maintains "we don't know" who won the presidential election in Arizona.
State Rep. Mark Finchem, one of the chief proponents of the discredited post-election ballot review in Arizona, has been endorsed by Trump in his bid for secretary of state. And Kari Lake, the former TV anchor who has become a frontrunner for governor, still insists Trump carried the state and said recently that she would not have certified the 2020 election.
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