Ron Watkins, the man widely rumored to have started the QAnon movement, said he is running for Congress

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  • Ron Watkins in a video said he would be running for Congress in Arizona as a Republican.

  • Watkins has long been rumoured to be the man behind the QAnon movement.

  • A statement of intent to run was filed with state authorities using an email address associated with Watkins.

Ron Watkins, the former 8chan administrator widely rumored to have seeded the QAnon conspiracy theory, has said that he intends to run for a congressional seat in Arizona.

In a video posted on his Telegram channel on Thursday, Watkins said that he had decided to "double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC."

Video: How the QAnon conspiracy theory seeped into Trump rallies

"I am here to formally announce my run for Congress in Arizona," he said. "Under God's authority, we will take back Congress, flip the Senate and fix the presidency."

-Dillon Rosenblatt (@DillonReedRose) October 14, 2021

Earlier, an email address associated with Watkins had filed a "statement of intent" with the office of the Arizona secretary of state to run for a congressional seat, Dylan Rosenblatt, a journalist for a local NPR affiliate first reported.

The filing is an essential step in running for public office, and comes ahead of the candidate seeking to secure the required number of signatures to make it onto the ballot.

Some critics, including QAnon expert Mike Rothschild, dismissed the move as a publicity stunt or fundraising bid.

In order to run for office, a candidate must reside in the state and earlier this year it was reported by NBC that Watkins lives in Japan.

Arizona's first Congressional district is currently represented by Democrat Tom O'Halleran, who has been in office since 2016, and has since defeated two Republican challengers.

In recent days, Watkins has gave his support to two Republican candidates in the state, including former state attorney general Tom Horne, who is running for state superintendent, and Kari Lake, who was recently endorsed by former president Donald Trump as the GOP gubernatorial candidate for the state.

The 8chan messaging board became a notorious hub for conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists during Watkins' time as administrator.

It was on the site that a series of cryptic messages by someone claiming to be a top government official, codenamed "Q," were posted, alleging that Trump was working to dismantle a secret cabal of powerful child abusers.

A recent HBO documentary, "Q: Into the Storm", posits that the real identity of "Q" was likely Watkins. He has denied the claim.

After quitting his role at 8chan last year, Watkins played a key role in stirring conspiracy theories of a vast plot to deprive Trump of victory in last year's presidential election.

He has more recently backed the partisan audit of votes in Arizona's Maricopa County, that recently wound up concluding that Biden did win, in line with the official result in a verdict that disappointed many Trump supporters.

Read the original article on Business Insider