May 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Oregon GOP Senate nominee was “in tears” after campaign walked back QAnon support


Someone holds up a large "Q" sign while waiting in line to see President Trump at a rally in 2018. Photo: Rick Loomis/Getty Images

Jo Rae Perkins, who won Oregon's Republican Senate primary this week, is refuting her own campaign's statement from Wednesday that she does not believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory.

What's new: Perkins reiterated her support for QAnon to ABC News in an interview out Friday. The Senate nominee said she was “literally physically in tears” after reading the campaign statement with her name on it, which claimed she "would never describe herself as a follower."

Flashback Perkins first suggested she supported the theory — which centers around an anonymous internet user claiming to wage war against the "deep state" from within the federal government — in a now-deleted video on Twitter. In the post she said, "I stand with Q and the team," before using one of QAnon's rallying cries.

"To be very clear, I do not believe everything from Q/Anon and would never describe myself as a follower, but I also do not believe in infringing upon any outlet's right to discuss news or topics. This is the same as those on the Left who read what Julian Assange or George Soros or Bill Gates says or writes, for that matter."
— Perkins' Tuesday campaign video that has since been deleted

What she's saying now: "My campaign is gonna kill me ... How do I say this? Some people think that I follow Q like I follow Jesus," Perkins told ABC Friday. "Q is the information and I stand with the information resource."

  • Perkins explained that she misread the statement posted by her campaign to her personal Twitter account distancing herself from QAnon. “I scanned it and said, yeah, it looks good to me and out it went. And then I saw it afterwards and I am like, literally was in tears, literally physically in tears because I'm so blown away. Because I went, crap, that’s not me. And I don't back down."
  • “I'm not backpedaling and I'm frustrated. I feel like I'm having to backpedal..."

The big picture: Many Republicans have been reluctant to unite around Perkins.

  • The Republican National Committee did not comment when ABC asked about supporting the nominee. The National Republican Senatorial Committee did not explicitly back Perkins either.

What to watch: Perkins will face off against Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in November. Cook Political Report rates the race as "solid Democrat."

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