At least four GOP candidates currently running for the House next year have voiced support for the “QAnon” conspiracy theory, an NBC News investigation found.
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NBC News reported Monday that two of the candidates, Minnesota’s Danielle Stella and Rich Helms of Texas, have directly posted content or hashtags on social media in support of the wide-ranging conspiracy theory that baselessly accuses prominent Democrats of being involved in a global pedophile cabal.
A third candidate, Floridian Matthew Lusk, has printed campaign signs with the solitary letter “Q” emblazoned on the back, while another candidate, Erin Cruz, has made positive statements about the conspiracy theory in media interviews.
The four are all vocal supporters of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.
Stella’s campaign blasted NBC News in a statement when asked to comment about the conspiracy, saying, “I find it appalling that NBC would work so feverishly to defend child and sex traffickers, their funders, and their enablers.”
Helms’s campaign declined to comment for the investigation when contacted by NBC, while Lusk lists the theory, albeit briefly, on his official campaign website.
“Do I think there’s powerful pedophiles out there? Yes,” he told NBC News. “Is the ring, like, in the supreme control of what’s happening in globalization? No, I think they’re just like a fringe group within the power elite.”
Cruz did not mention any of QAnon’s main claims in an interview when contacted by NBC, but said that she considers supporters of the conspiracy theory to be a valid voting block to pursue.
“I think that the biggest thing with QAnon is there’s information coming out,” Cruz told NBC News. “And sometimes it is in line with what’s going on in government. So when you ask me, do I know what QAnon is? Yes, but what is it to everybody else? That’s the bigger thing.”
Two of the candidates, Lusk and Helms, are running unopposed in their respective GOP primaries so far. All four have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory have stayed under the radar in recent months as the theory has appeared to lose steam with the Trump administration’s refusal to engage with its wilder claims.
An FBI assessment in August pointed to the QAnon conspiracy as having the potential to inspire random acts of violence from supporters.
“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” a report found.