This month, soon-to-be former Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West announced his plans to challenge Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott in next year’s GOP gubernatorial primary.
In early June, West was in Dallas for a conference called the “For God and Country Patriot Roundup.” Other big-name speakers at the event included former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from East Texas.
The conference wasn’t a standard Republican event. It had ties to QAnon, the conspiracy theory-driven movement whose followers falsely believe that a global cabal of sex traffickers and pedophiles is actually running the country. Many of the people who participated in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 were active in the QAnon community.
Steven Monacelli is an independent journalist based in Dallas who reported from the conference. He’s also the publisher of Protean Magazine. He told Texas Standard that beyond a belief in sex trafficking-related corruption, QAnon adherents believe that elites who run the U.S. and perhaps the world are “either satanic, pedophiles or both.”
Monacelli says some QAnon believers are running for local offices.
“In North Texas, a number of candidates and sitting elected officials have posted a number of QAnon-themed things on Facebook, on social media, with explicit references to sayings and hashtags that are really only used within the QAnon movements,” Monacelli said.
He cites city officials in Colleyville and Arlington, Texas and school board candidates in Keller, Texas who posted or interacted with QAnon-themed content on social sites.
“There are currently three different congressional candidates across Texas that have all posted things related to Q in one form or another,” Monacelli said.
One of the three candidates has distanced himself from QAnon, but the others have not, Monacelli said.
Q is both an abbreviation for QAnon and the screen name of the anonymous creator of the movement. Q and others have popularized a number of symbols and social media hashtags. Those include #thegreatawakening and #wwg1wga – which stands for “where we go one, we go all.” The #savethechildren is connected to the QAnon belief that children have been abducted and their bodily fluids harvested, Monacelli said.
QAnon beliefs change over time, Monacelli said, sometimes based on a previous prediction not coming true, or a theory being solidly debunked.
Allen West’s actions suggest that he has embraced some tenets of QAnon. He has used the Q-associated phrase “we are the storm” on official Texas GOP documents. Like Gohmert and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, West has attended events with QAnon believers.
“What it signifies to me, that these individuals continue to identify themselves with this movement, is that there is a broader adoption of some of these beliefs within the mainstream of the Texas Republican Party,” Monacelli said.