- QAnon leader Ron Watkins claimed he would raise $1 million while running for Congress in Arizona.
- However, Watkins’ GOP primary war chest stands at just over $32,942.22, per FEC filings.
- Eli Crane, a former Navy SEAL, leads the GOP field with just over $810,000 in funds raised.
QAnon leader Ron Watkins is running for Congress in Arizona, but the size of his campaign’s war chest pales in comparison to other candidates in the field.
According to FEC filings for the three months ending December 31, 2021, Watkins raised a total of $32,942.22 in his run for a congressional seat. This included a $2,354 loan from his father, Jim Watkins.
The rest of Watkins’ fundraising comprised $11,600, which came from smaller donations of $250 to $1,000 contributed by 25 people, and “unitemized” contributions of $18,988.22.
Watkins’ fundraising track record for the quarter pales compared to the current frontrunner, incumbent Democratic lawmaker Tom O’Halleran. O’Halleran has raised more than $1.6 million, with over $435,000 coming in in the last quarter alone. Meanwhile, Eli Crane, a former Navy SEAL, leads the GOP field with just over $810,000 in funds raised.
Watkins said in October in an interview with Vice that he expected to raise a million dollars.
“Mark my words: I am going to raise at least a million dollars and I’m going to win so that the people have a real voice in Washington, DC,” Watkins told Vice.
Watkins’ campaign manager, science-fiction author Tony Teora, told Vice this week that his candidate’s fundraising numbers are below the mark because “we really only started fundraising in December. We had a lot of challenges getting funding solutions online. We built two solutions internally.”
“We are confident we can mount a credible campaign because all our donors are small donors, the average donation was around I think $53,” Teora added. “It shows Ron has real support from working-class people, not rich lobbyist donors.”
Watkins’ primary form of campaign outreach appears to be his Telegram channel, where he posts messages to close to 400,000 subscribers. In January, he used the platform to share a recording of his appearance at a Scottsdale school board meeting where he ranted about critical race theory and “transsexual brainwashing propaganda.”
Watkins has widely been rumored to be the person behind QAnon, the baseless right-wing conspiracy theory that alleges former President Donald Trump is fighting a “deep state” cabal of human traffickers.
However Watkins, in an October interview with CBS News, denied involvement in the QAnon conspiracy: “I am not Q. I never have been Q. I’ve never written a Q post. I’ve never collaborated with the people that have written a Q post. So, no, I was not involved in that,” he told the network.
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