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GOP Candidates Open To QAnon Conspiracy Theory Advance In Congressional Races

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GOP Candidates Open To QAnon Conspiracy Theory Advance In Congressional Races

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Lauren Boebert, a restaurant owner in Colorado, will now be the Republican nominee in Colorado’s 3rd District. She ousted five-term Congressman Scott Tipton on Tuesday night.

Lauren Boebert campaign website

It’s hard to know what’s most notable about the Colorado Republican primary upset that ousted Rep. Scott Tipton on Tuesday night.

It could be that the primary winner, restaurant owner Lauren Boebert, is a newcomer to politics who defeated a five-term incumbent. It could be that her restaurant (the aptly named Shooters Grill, in also-aptly-named Rifle, Colo.) is known for its servers who openly carry firearms on the job. It could be that the race represents another defeat for a Trump-backed candidate.

It could also be her openness to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

QAnon is a baseless conspiracy theory focused on an anonymous figure, “Q,” who posts to Internet message boards. Among the false beliefs is the idea that former special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed not to investigate President Trump but, rather, to investigate other people, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, for various extreme allegations that have been thoroughly debunked. The theory also posits that those supposed investigation targets are wearing ankle monitors that track their movements.

The conspiracy theory has gained traction on the far right, and believers have touted it with signs at Trump rallies.

Boebert is one of several general election congressional candidates who have spoken in support of QAnon. Wednesday morning, Alex Kaplan, a senior researcher at liberal-leaning media-monitoring organization Media Matters for America, counted nine who would make it to the general election. Altogether, the organization has counted 59 congressional candidates who have expressed support for QAnon.

Boebert appeared on SteelTruth, a show hosted by QAnon believer Ann Vandersteel, during the primary campaign. In that interview, she said she was “very familiar” with the theory and voiced support for it, though she didn’t say she fully believed in QAnon’s ideas.

“Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that’s what I am for,” she said. “And so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.”

NPR asked Boebert’s campaign about her views on QAnon. Her campaign responded with a statement from the candidate: “I’m glad the IG and the AG are investigating deep state activities that undermine the President. I don’t follow QAnon.”

Here Boebert appears to be referring to Justice Department investigations into the origins of the Russia probe. That investigation looked into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

QAnon remains a fringe conspiracy theory. Three-quarters of Americans have never heard of it, according to an April poll from the Pew Research Center, and another 20% have heard only “a little.” Only a tiny sliver 3% say they’ve heard “a lot” about it.

But Congress members who believe in or are open to the conspiracy theory mean that the theory’s beliefs could have representation on Capitol Hill. It could also mean a new, louder megaphone for the theory and its supporters.

Many congressional candidates who have said they support QAnon have gone further than Boebert in voicing their beliefs.

Oregon Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins, for example, said, “I stand with Q and the team” in her victory speech after winning the nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican congressional candidate in Georgia, said in a 2017 video that “Q is a patriot” and that she wanted to “take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out,” as The Washington Post has reported. (Top Republicans have rebuked Greene for her racist views expressed in online videos and reported on by Politico.)

While some of these candidates stand little chance of winning in November Perkins, for example, is running in a Senate race that the Cook Political Report has rated “Solid Democratic” Boebert’s chances are good. Boebert’s race, in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, is rated “Solid Republican.” Greene is headed to a GOP primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th District, which is also considered safe Republican territory in the fall.



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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories – KTVZ

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Sanders and Schumer call on McConnell to hold hearings to fight election conspiracy theories - KTVZ

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York are calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to create a new bipartisan committee focused on election integrity and schedule hearings to reassure Americans over a process President Donald Trump has repeatedly sought to undermine.

There is growing anxiety among Democrats, and some Republicans, that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but throw the subsequent count into chaos by declaring victory before all the votes can be tallied, including the millions that will arrive by mail.

In a letter to McConnell, Sanders and Schumer quote back the Kentucky senator’s own words, in which he attested to the reliability of mail-in voting by citing its successes in Oregon, Washington and Colorado, which have been using the system for years.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of mail-in voting, promoted conspiracy theories questioning election security, called on supporters to act as unsanctioned “poll watchers,” and suggested that the absence of a clear result by the evening of November 3 would in some way cast doubt on the eventual outcome. Key allies in powerful positions, like Attorney General Bill Barr, have followed suit. Barr has persisted in puffing up a debunked claim that ballots received by mail would somehow strip the sender of their privacy — ignoring well-established safeguards.

By escalating the matter now, Sanders and Schumer are responding to growing concern, in partisan and nonpartisan spaces, that Americans are not adequately prepared for the potential of a longer-than-usual wait for results or Trump’s willingness to short-circuit the democratic process if he smells defeat.

“Democrats and Republicans in Congress must come together to ensure that we have a free and fair election where every vote is cast and counted without intimidation,” Sanders told CNN, “where no one has to put his or her health in danger to cast a ballot, and where we have full confidence in the results.”

The proposed hearings would invite a cross-section of election officials from across the country to testify to the security and reliability of mail-in, early- and in-person voting — subjects on which Sanders and Schumer, again, referenced McConnell’s own words.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” they wrote. “As you have correctly said, people ‘can vote early, you can vote on Election Day, or you can drop it in the mail,’ and that voters should ‘not worry about your vote not counting.’”

The minority leader and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also want more detailed discussion about the fraught hours, or days, after the polls close and a real-time watch of the election horse race potentially swings from one candidate to another.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators wrote to McConnell. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The letter goes on to reference the recent war games-style preparations conducted by a group called the Transition Integrity Project, a bipartisan gathering of operatives and academics that made headlines when some of the outcomes of their exercises — including “both street-level violence and political impasse” — were reported on in late July.

“A bipartisan group of experts and officials have studied multiple scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known. Some of these scenarios resulted in unrest and even violence,” Sanders and Schumer wrote, suggesting the Senate should elevate similar discussions and familiarize the public with the uncertainties ahead. “We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful.”

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS official sorry for conspiracy theory video

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HHS supported Caputo, with a statement that called him a critical, integral part of the presidents coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no immediate statement from the White House.

Attempts to reach Caputo were unsuccessful.

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., called on Azar to fire Caputo, accusing the spokesman of trying to interfere with CDC reports to the medical and scientific community, as well as the public at large. And Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Azar himself to resign, citing interference with the CDC as one example of what he termed the administration’s failures.

Officials at CDC have privately complained of recent efforts by political appointees at main HHS to try to edit or press for changes in the agency’s weekly MMWR publications, a go-to resource for public health professionals.

MMWR articles are technical, but they reveal telling details. One published earlier this year noted that while Trump’s travel restrictions dramatically reduced travel from China in February, nothing was being done at that time to restrict travel from Italy and Europe, where the coronavirus was spreading widely and rapidly. Analysis of virus samples from hard-hit New York in March suggested it was introduced there from Europe and other parts of the U.S., the CDC article reported.

Caputo is an unswerving Trump loyalist. His recent book, The Ukraine Hoax, claims the presidents phony impeachment was rooted in a vast conspiracy.

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS…

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unwinona:This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS...

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My RSS Feedunwinona:

This is exactly what conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have done with their HIV/AIDS and Polio narrative (among others), only we’re seeing it escalated to weeks and months instead of years or decades.

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