QAnon's Possible Secret Identity Running For Congress In Arizona
Ron "CodeMonkeyZ" Watkins, the former administrator of 8chan/8kun, and the man considered by many to be the likely identity behind "Q," has announced his plans to run for Congress in Arizona.
In a video posted to his Telegram account, Watkins — who just moved back to the United States earlier this year after having lived in various countries in Asia over the past decade — said that he plans to run as a Republican against Democrat Tom O'Halleran, whom he cleverly referred to as Tom O'Hooligan.
As a warning: Do not be taken in by his incredible charm.
"I have decided to expose the dirtiest Democrat in the DC swamp, and some of you here may already know him as Congressman Tom O'Halleran representing Maricopa County, and District 1. What's publicly known about Tom O'Hooligan shows that he is not fit to represent the people of Arizona. And from what I've already discovered, and will expose, Tom is not fit to represent anyone anywhere," Watkins said in his video.
Big words coming from a guy who was previously the administrator for a site known to host child pornography.
O'Halleran, the chair of communications for the Blue Dog Coalition, is a former Republican who is about as bland as it is humanly possible to be, and basically every remotely controversial position he's taken has been a conservative one. Like being in favor of keeping qualified immunity for police officers accused of misconduct. The biggest news on him from the last week that didn't have to do with Watkins's run was that he praised President Joe Biden's decision to restore Bear Ears National Monument.
By sheer coincidence, O'Halleran is also the only Democratic congressman in Arizona who is even remotely vulnerable to a challenger next year. All the other incumbent Democrats won their seats with clear majorities in their last elections, while O'Halleran, who represents a district that just started electing Democrats a few years ago, squeaked by with just 51.6 percent of the vote.
Watkins also said that he was specifically inspired to run for Congress after attending a sermon by Jeff Durbin of the Apologia Church in Mesa, Arizona.
"After attending a recent sermon by Pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church, I've come to realize that following God's word is not always the easiest route but if we don't follow our beliefs and the founding principles of our nation, it will crumble. This must stop now!," he said in an oddly dramatic fashion. "Therefore I have decided to double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC. I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona District number one."
Expectedly, this is not a particularly normal church — and not just because Durbin has tattoos and dresses like a circa 2005 hipster. Durbin was notably featured on an episode of VICE's "Hate Thy Neighbor" about anti-choice extremists, and has also been known to secretly tape his congregants' confessions of sin and repentance for the purpose of retaliating against them later should they step out of line or criticize him in any way, and posting these recordings to YouTube. He also seems to direct many of his attacks towards teenage girls.
Oh! And he wants to execute people who have abortions, which he claims are worse than the Holocaust, so that's cute.
Since the 2020 election, Watkins has worked to establish himself on the election fraud conspiracy circuit, presenting himself in rightwing media as an intelligence expert with damning proof that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. Proof that he never seems to actually come up with. For a while, he shared his theories on Twitter as CodeMonkeyZ, being retweeted by Trump himself on several occasions before being purged when the social media site cracked down on accounts that do nothing but promote QAnon.
He also cited his belief that the election was stolen from Donald Trump as one of his other main reasons for running, saying that this was something people like him needed to "fix from the inside."
In any other reality, this might be a hilarious joke candidacy, but given the tendency of Republicans these days to vote for the kookiest common denominator, he's probably got as good a chance as anyone.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse