For QAnon supporters and candidates, the midterm elections were meant to be the harbinger of the Storm, the long awaited moment when the truth of all their conspiracy theories about deep state plots and child sex trafficking rings would be exposed, and their many enemies held to account.
In the end, the midterms were less a Storm and more of a light breeze.
Dozens of candidates linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory sought election to Congress or as their state’s top election official this year, but as part of a wider rejection of extremist candidates, almost all of those candidates lost.
QAnon supporters had hoped that a coalition of election-denying candidates for secretary of state and governor, which was organized by a major QAnon influencer, would sweep to power in key swing states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona, and as a result would help get former President Donald Trump reinstalled in 2024.
But with most of the votes now counted, it looks like just a single minor member of that coalition—Indiana’s Secretary of State-elect Diego Morales—will take office in January.
The coalition’s leader, Jim Marchant, lost to Democratic rival Cisco Aguilar in his bid to become Nevada’s top election official. The Associated Press has called that race, but Marchant has yet to concede.
As recently as last month, Marchant had indicated his willingness to “fix” the 2024 election to ensure that Trump won.
In neighboring Arizona, Oath Keeper Mark Finchem, a fellow secretary of state candidate and key member of the America First coalition, narrowly lost out to Democrat Adrian Fontes. Like Marchant, Finchem has yet to concede, instead posting on his Twitter account more baseless conspiracies about “voter suppression” and “ballot harvesting” while labeling the media reporting his loss as “fake news.”
Meanwhile Kari Lake, the former TV anchor who is also a member of the coalition, looks to have lost her bid to become Arizona governor, losing out to current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
Hobbs issued a statement on Sunday that stopped just short of claiming victory, but most experts, including many in Lake’s camp, believe the Republican simply cannot make up the shortfall in votes with the ballots remaining to be counted.
Hobbs’ statement pointed out that she has led Lake since Election Day and “it’s clear that this won’t change.”
“With the latest tabulation results from Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties, Katie Hobbs is the unequivocal favorite to become the next governor of Arizona,” the statement read. Lake hasn’t responded to Hobbs’ statement, but on Sunday morning told Fox News: “We need to get in there and restore faith in our elections. We can’t be the laughingstock anymore, and when I’m Governor, I won’t allow it."
Last week two other prominent members of the QAnon coalition, Kristina Karamo, candidate for secretary of state in Michigan and Doug Mastriano, gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, both convincingly lost their respective races.
While Karamo has yet to officially concede, Mastriano belatedly conceded over the weekend. Mastriano, who was known for his extreme views, tried to strike a conciliatory tone in his concession statement, but couldn’t help but once again baselessly suggest the election system was broken.
“Pennsylvania is in great need of election reform,” he wrote. “We can and must do better to make our elections more transparent, secure, and more quickly decided.”
The America First coalition was first announced at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas just over a year ago. During that announcement, Marchant discussed how he had been working on “fixing” the election system from the day after the 2020 presidential election, and that soon after he began, the QAnon influencer known as Juan O Savin had joined him to create the group.
Savin, whose real name is Wayne Willott, is a major figure within the QAnon community, and many members believe he is in fact John F. Kennedy, Jr. in disguise (John F. Kennedy, Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999).
His central role in the formation of the America First coalition, however, indicates how central QAnon conspiracies have become to the mainstream GOP politics.
In a livestream posted on video-sharing site Rumble last Friday, Savin dismissed the coalition’s losses while making vague references to some other plan that would reveal itself in the future. This is a common QAnon tactic when predicted events don’t happen as prophesied.
Aside from the America First coalition, there were a number of other QAnon-linked candidates on the ballot last week, but almost all lost their races, too.
In Maryland, gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, who has voiced support for QAnon, lost. And in Ohio, J.R. Majewski, a GOP congressional candidate who misrepresented his military service history and has voiced support for QAnon, lost decisively.
Another of those who lost was Mayra Flores, who only became a member of Congress five months ago when she flipped a House seat in a special election in Texas’ 34th district. In the lead up to her victory she repeatedly used QAnon hashtags in her social media posts.
Unlike other QAnon-touting candidates, Flores quickly conceded defeat:
Flores, who wasn’t part of the America First coalition, was one of three sitting members of Congress who have voiced support for QAnon, including Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, whose much-closer-than-expected race against Democrat Adam Frisch has not been called. Meanwhile, the queen of the House QAnon caucus, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, easily retained her seat.
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