In the space of a month, the number of QAnon candidates seeking election to Congress in the 2022 midterms has more than doubled to 40.
That’s according to a running list of QAnon candidates being maintained by Media Matters for America, a nonprofit that tracks right-wing media and political activity. The data shows that all but two of the 40 candidates are seeking Republican nominations for senate and house races next month.
When the tracker was launched last month, the number of candidates on the list stood at just 19.
Candidates are added to the list if they have “previously endorsed or gave credence to the conspiracy theory or promoted QAnon content.” Ahead of the 2020 election, MMFA tracked 97 QAnon candidates running for Congress; two of them, Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, were elected.
The candidates are spread out over 16 different states, but Florida (nine candidates) and California (eight candidates) represent the most significant concentration of QAnon candidates anywhere in the country.
While most candidates will contest the midterms in November 2022, one candidate will get to test whether his QAnon affiliations are a benefit as early as next January.
Vic DeGrammont, a Republican, is running in a special election for Florida’s 20th Congressional District to fill the seat left by the late Alcee Hastings.
DeGrammont, who has used QAnon references in his Twitter profile and posted multiple QAnon hashtags, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the same district in 2020.
The most recent addition to the tracker is Ruben Landon Dante, a Republican candidate in Texas’ 14th Congressional District. Unlike some other candidates on the list, Dante has clear and obvious links to QAnon.
As well as posting a video on YouTube titled “Q- Eradicating Pedophilia, Healing & Finding Forgiveness,” he has paid for a Facebook ad featuring the QAnon-related hashtag #TheGreatAwakening, and posted links on social media to a video titled “Fall of Cabal”—which is one of QAnon’s foundational pieces of content.
Dante is one of nine first-time candidates on the Media Matters list. Thirty-one of the candidates ran for Congress in 2020.
Many of the new candidates have attempted to walk back earlier support for QAnon, like Robert Lancia, a former member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives who is running in that state’s 2nd Congressional District. His official Twitter account has retweeted a number of QAnon-supporting posts. But in August 2020, Lancia told a local radio station that he doesn’t run his own Twitter account and the person who shared those messages did so because “probably it was attached to something else – maybe something to do with the president, MAGA, something like that.”
Still, it’s easy to see why candidates running for Congress in 2022—especially Republicans—might feel that espousing support for QAnon is not the fatal blow it may once have been.
Even though former President Donald Trump is no longer in office and the anonymous leader of QAnon has failed to post an update in more than seven months, QAnon conspiracies continue to thrive. Many of them have become mainstream beliefs within the GOP, primarily the Big Lie about the election being stolen, and the claim that Democrats are orchestrating a secret sex-trafficking ring.
A new survey from YouGov and the Economist, published Wednesday, reveals that just 3% of Americans self-identify as QAnon supporters. However, the poll also revealed that 13% of Americans who have heard about QAnon have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion about QAnon conspiracies. That figure rises to 21% among Republicans.