PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A man accused of promoting bizarre conspiracies through QAnon is now getting involved in Arizona politics. Ron Watkins, who has denied being the man known as "Q," is allegedly behind the false conspiracies that Satanist pedophiles are running the government, media and financial sectors.
Watkins has recently taken to social media to show his support for at least two well-known Republican politicians. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said he was unaware of Watkins' alleged ties to QAnon when he met Watkins for lunch. "He said absolutely nothing to me about QAnon, the friend that introduced me said absolutely nothing abo. IQAnon, I have absolutely nothing to do with QAanon. I'm as far from QAnon as you can get," Horne said.
While Horne appeared to reject QAnon, he also welcomed the endorsement of Watkins, who threw his support behind Horne after the two met. "If somebody wants to help me, I'm glad to accept the help, but he didn't ask me to agree with QAnon," said Horne, who is now running for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.
In Arizona, Republican state Rep. Mark Finchem has repeated conspiracy theories on fringe conservative media and at least one high-profile podcast known for being supportive of QAnon.
Watkins also posed for a picture with Kari Lake, the former local news anchor who has emerged as the perceived frontrunner in the Republican primary for governor. The picture, according to Lake, was taken after she spoke to supporters. When asked about the photo that Watkins later posted online, she complained about the media coverage and did not mention QAnon or Watkins. "We have people getting involved in politics wanting to take their government back," Lake said in a video response. "They're not covering that. They are covering pictures I'm taking on the campaign trail."
Mike Rains, a nationally recognized expert on QAnon, said the partisan 2020 election audit, which found no evidence of voter fraud, and continued calls by some Arizona Republican lawmakers to decertify the election have made Arizona "QAnon central." Rains added that Arizona voters should be concerned about Watkins getting involved in state politics. "QAnon will not accept any election as being legitimate if their candidate loses. This is how they operate. If they win, it was fair and square. If they lose, it was rigged," Rains said.