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AZ GOP congressional candidate denies “Q-Anon” allegations during TV debate

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:33 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It was a strange debate appearance Wednesday night from Ron Watkins. He’s the long-shot Republican candidate for Arizona’s second congressional district, better known as the man accused of being behind the Q-Anon conspiracies.

During the forum, which was sponsored by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, he again denied that he is the mysterious person who goes by the name “Q.” He introduced himself as someone as a political outsider and entrepreneur. And he showed himself as someone who can’t get his facts straight. He falsely linked the war in Ukraine directly to an oil pipeline that was supposed to run through the U.S. and Canada.

“I wanna say we would not even be in Ukraine if President Biden did not shut down the Keystone pipeline,” Watkins said.

After getting challenged on the facts of that statement by one of his GOP rivals, Watkins, quickly took it back, saying, “He’s right; I made a mistake.” The exchange was one of the more cringeworthy moments in last night’s debate that featured three of the seven candidates vying for the GOP nomination in the district.

A popular documentary has suggested Watkins may be “Q” himself; again, that’s an accusation that he denies. Q-Anon has been inked to widely debunked conspiracy theories and accused of stoking the January 6th Capitol riot. While several people died and dozens of police officers were hurt, Watkins said that it was a peaceful protest during the debate.

Watkins has struggled to raise the kind of money needed to wage a strong congressional campaign. In the fall, the winner of this primary will square off against incumbent Democratic Congressman Tom O’Halleran.