QAnon character Ron Watkins gave his House campaign a $95,000 loan in Arizona • OpenSecrets

QAnon follower Jake “The Q Shaman” Angeli attends a “Stop the Steal” rally on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ron Watkins, central figure of the QAnon conspiracy movement currently running for Congress in Arizona as a Republican, said to earn $95,000 ready to his campaign on March 29. Watkins’ loan came just four days after his campaign amended a report on campaign finance including more than $20,000 of funds he originally did not disclose, and a day after the Federal Election Commission sent a letter asking Watkins to disclose the source of those funds by May 2.

QAnon is an alt-right conspiracy theory that started on the 4chan discussion boards. The theory, which taken from other debunked conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate”, and has been related for removal diets and January 6 Uprising. Teams of forensic linguists found that Watkins was instrumental in helping write 8kun posts of “Q,” an anonymous poster who claimed to be a senior government official with insider knowledge of former President Donald Trump’s White House, as early as 2018.

In October 2021, Watkins registered to run in Arizona’s 1st congressional district, which is currently represented by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Arizona), but later amended his bid to run in Arizona’s 2nd congressional district after new congressional maps were released approved in the state. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona), who currently represents the 2nd District, announced her retirement before this year’s redistricting.

The Cook Political Report rates the district as “probably Republican”, despite its Democratic incumbent.

Watkins campaign finance

Watkins raised $83,000 between January and March 2022, about $20,000 less than the campaign reported as operating expenses, according to to FEC depots. The campaign ended the first quarter of 2022 with $100,257 in cash – all but about $5,000 came from Watkins’ personal loan.

The Watkins campaign fundraiser remains far behind other contenders for the congressional seat in Arizona’s 2nd district. O’Halleran raised $578,000 in the first quarter and ended in March with $1.7 million in cash. Republican candidate and former Navy SEAL Eli Crane raised $647,000 during the quarter and has $483,000 in cash.

Apart from the loan, the the biggest Watkins’ reported campaign contribution in the first quarter of 2022 was $3,127 from Rumen Naumovski. Naumovski is the founder of the marketing company raw digital and Resist the mainstreamwhich describes itself as “a media company for people who have lost faith in mainstream media”.

Other contributions to Watkins’ campaign include $2,222 from Jeffrey Walker, the founder of an Arizona pool cleaning company, and $1,000 from Avery Kramerwho recently became chief operating officer of biotechnology research company Symbrosia.

Only 11 of the roughly 70 campaign contributions in the first quarter of 2022, including contributions from Watkins and Walker, come from donors with addresses in Arizona. The campaign relied primarily on out-of-state funds and attracted only three donors from Arizona in 2021.

The Watkins Campaign paid PIN Business Network over $5,000 for “email explosion” in January. PIN founder and former CEO Joe Oltmann was describe as “influential to fuel election conspiracy allegations” and was nominated by Colorado Republicans as their gubernatorial candidate earlier this month. He declined the nomination after endorsing two negationistsstate representative. Ron Hank and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters for statewide offices.

Peters, who was recently charged on criminal charges of election tampering, is running for Colorado secretary of state. Hanks has already vaunted his participation in the January 6 insurrection to show his loyalty to Trump.

In February, Watkins’ campaign brought in $500 contribution Citizens for Gail Golec, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors candidate Gail Golec’s Political Action Committee. Golec is a Noted conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed citizen journalist who gave up her job as a real estate agent to investigate election fraud full-time.

Watkins’ father, Jim Watkins, best known for Operating 8kun and supporting QAnon, won $2,354 Don to the campaign called “T-shirts” in October 2021.

The Watkins campaign reported receive two separate cryptocurrency contributions, both in Bitcoin. The donations arrived in November and December 2021, shortly after Watkins asked its 423,000 followers on the Telegram messaging app to donate Bitcoin to the campaign.
Republican primary elections will take place in Arizona on August 2.

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