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Lauren Boebert speaking in Collbran, Colorado, in October. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Republican gun-rights activist Lauren Boebert defeated Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Boebert, a first-time candidate who defeated five-term GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in the state's June primary, has expressed support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, saying in May she hopes it "is real."

Context: QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory that purports without proof that posts by an anonymous internet user from within the federal government are alluding to a secret war that the "deep state" is waging against President Trump.

  • Boebert told Axios in July that she does not follow QAnon, but is "glad the IG and the AG are investigating deep state activities that undermine the President." It remains unclear what investigation Boebert was referring to.

The big picture: Her victory demonstrates how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims is gaining a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream, though some sitting Republican members of Congress, like Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), have denounced the conspiracy theory outright.

  • Online conspiracies like QAnon has been flagged by the FBI as a domestic terrorism threat.
  • QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene also won House race in Georgia.

Go deeper: QAnon conspiracy theory explodes ahead of the election

Go deeper

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

Scoop: GOP ignored its early fears about Marjorie Taylor Greene

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During previously unreported meetings last summer, House Republican leaders discussed — but then largely set aside — fears that QAnon-supporting conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene would end up a flaming trainwreck for their party.

Why it matters: Greene has emerged not just as an embarrassment but a challenge for the GOP, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now forced to weigh whether to maintain his policy of sanctioning members who make dangerous statements.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.