The Arizona GOP and chair Kelli Ward are boosting a self-described QAnon follower's congressional campaign
Kelli Ward interviewed QAnon congressional candidate Daniel Wood and told him, “You are a man after my own heart”
The Arizona Republican Party recently ran a Facebook video spotlighting congressional candidate and self-described QAnon follower Daniel Wood. During that video, AZGOP state chair Kelli Ward told him that “you are a man after my own heart” and encouraged people to volunteer and contribute to his campaign.
QAnon is a violence-linked conspiracy theory based on cryptic posts to online message boards from an anonymous user known as “Q" that have spread rampantly on social media and among fringe right-wing media. QAnon conspiracy theorists essentially believe that President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down the purported “deep state,” a supposed cabal of satanic high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings. The FBI has labeled the conspiracy theory a potential domestic terror threat.
Numerous Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have helped build up QAnon since it began emerging from message boards in 2017.
There have also been at least 74 Republican congressional candidates this cycle who have expressed support for QAnon, and at least 21 have made it to the November ballot. Two of those are running in Arizona: Daniel Wood and Josh Barnett. Both are heavy underdogs in their respective congressional districts but that hasn’t stopped the state party from backing them.
Daniel Wood is running against Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. Wood has tweeted the QAnon slogan “WWG1WGA” (“where we go one, we go all”) dozens of times on his campaign Twitter account. He has also shared the QAnon video “Q - The Plan To Save The World REMASTERED.”
In an August 12 Facebook post, Wood wrote that he follows QAnon and attempted to explain why he promotes the conspiracy theory:
Wood has made two appearances on the QAnon network Patriots’ Soapbox, both of which are linked on the front page of his campaign website. In one of those appearances, after a guest caller told Wood that he should wear a shirt with “Q” on it, he responded:
DANIEL WOOD: I like the saying “where we go one, we go all.”
GUEST CALLER: Yes, get one with that on it, yep.
WOOD: Yeah, I like that because it especially makes so much sense for me right now because I am one person trying to go to Washington to represent my district. All. I'm trying to represent all of them. So, I love that saying “where we go one, where we go all.”
On September 9, the Arizona GOP and chair Kelli Ward spotlighted Wood’s candidacy in a Facebook Live video for roughly six minutes. While the two did not directly mention QAnon, Wood stated that one of his most important issues is human trafficking. At the conclusion of the interview, Ward told Wood:
KELI WARD (ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIR): Daniel, you are a man after my own heart. You want to get rid of the Obamacare fail. You want to give more freedom back to the people. You stand up for faith and for family, for -- for the best opportunities for students. So continue that fight down in southern Arizona. What is your website so people can check you out and can get involved? And just so everyone out there knows, just because this man may not be your congressman, he is somebody that will be instrumental in flipping the House and firing Nancy Pelosi. So, if you're able to volunteer to knock on doors down there, if you're able to contribute to these campaigns, it is an excellent opportunity for us to take our country back.
The Arizona GOP's website also promotes Wood’s campaign on its list of “candidates for federal office” alongside notable Arizona candidates like Sen. Martha McSally and Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, David Schweikert, and Debbie Lesko.
Additionally, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is backing Wood and stated in his endorsement, “Wood is exactly the right person that we need to help continue the fight against human and drug trafficking and other border issues facing our state.”
In August, Wood posted a picture of himself with Sen. Martha McSally at an event.
Josh Barnett is running against Democratic incumbent Rep. Ruben Gallego in Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. As Media Matters previously documented, Barnett has repeatedly shared posts with QAnon hashtags:
In July, in response to an NBC News report about Twitter’s announcement that it would take action against the spread of QAnon on the platform, Barnett tweeted, “Weird to be so paranoid about something that is not real, right?” On both Facebook and Instagram, he has shared posts with QAnon hashtags. Despite those posts, Barnett claimed on August 15 he believes QAnon is “nonsense” and “not even a real thing” and that one of his posts with QAnon hashtags was just “retweeting the article.”
Like Wood, the Arizona GOP's website promotes Barnett on its list of federal candidates.
In July, two Arizona state legislators promoted QAnon on social media: State Sen. Vince Leach shared a pro-QAnon cartoon from QAnon supporter Ben Garrison while state Rep. Jay Lawrence wrote, “Qanon Patriotic Americans who support President Trump.” (Lawrence later retracted his pro-QAnon message.) There are also two QAnon supporters who are running for Arizona state Senate: Republicans Suzanne Sharer and Justine Wadsack.
Update (9/17/20): Kelli Ward promoted Josh Barnett’s candidacy during a September 16 Facebook Live video. While the two did not directly discuss QAnon, Barnett stated that he’s been concerned about child trafficking for a long time.