Ron Watkins, the former administrator of the Dark Web site 8Chan and is widely rumored to have founded the QAnon conspiracy theory cult, has said that he intends to run for a congressional seat in Arizona. The 8Chan messaging board became a notorious hub for conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists during Watkins’ time as administrator. Around that time, a series of cryptic messages by someone claiming to be a top government official, codenamed “Q,” was posted, alleging that Trump was working to dismantle a secret cabal of powerful child abusers.
In a video posted on his Telegram channel on Thursday, Watkins said that he had decided to “double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC.”
After quitting his position at 8chan last year, Watkins played a key role in creating conspiracy theories of a vast plot to deprive Trump of victory in last year’s presidential election, resulting in the Big Lie. He has more recently backed the partisan audit of votes in Arizona’s Maricopa County, which recently wound up concluding that Biden did win, in line with the official result in a verdict that disappointed many Trump supporters. Watkins has already given his support to two Republican candidates in the state, including former state attorney general Tom Horne, who is running for state superintendent, and Kari Lake, who was recently endorsed by Donald Trump as the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the state.
Uhhh Ron Watkins, aka Q of QAnon fame (or QBert), who has been spending a lot of time in Arizona lately endorsing Kari Lake for governor and Tom Horne for superintendent just filed to run in #AZ01? pic.twitter.com/pmBrX92CJY
— Dillon Rosenblatt (@DillonReedRose) October 14, 2021
“I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona,” Watkins said. “Under God’s authority, we will take back Congress, flip the Senate and fix the presidency.” Watkins had filed a “statement of intent” with the office of the Arizona secretary of state to run for a congressional seat, a journalist for a local NPR affiliate first reported.
The filing is an essential step in running for public office and comes ahead of a candidate seeking to secure the required number of signatures to make it onto the ballot. But some critics have dismissed this latest move from Watkins as a publicity stunt or fundraising bid.
Hmm. Is Ron Watkins running for office? This lame stunt doesn't make much sense tonally, otherwise. pic.twitter.com/BOx6Ie7fFN
— Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler) October 6, 2021
In order to run for office, a candidate must reside in the state, and earlier this year it was reported by NBC that Watkins lives in Japan.