Oregon Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins has been running a campaign promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. She’s been helped by Axiom Strategies, a leading GOP political and media consulting firm that’s headed by former Ted Cruz 2016 campaign manager Jeff Roe and employs former Trump acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.
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 high-ranking officials who they claim are operating pedophile rings.
Media Matters has documented at least 64 current or former 2020 congressional candidates who have embraced the conspiracy theory, including Perkins.
The Oregonian reported on May 27 that Perkins' pro-QAnon views haven’t cost her any endorsements and that her campaign manager “said the Oregon Republican Party was ‘on-board.’” The Oregon GOP currently lists her as the Republican candidate for Senate on its website.
Perkins has also received help from a prominent Republican consulting firm. She has paid Axiom Strategies a total of $2,000 in consulting fees since February, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
There have been four payments of $500 each from Perkins’ campaign to Axiom before the primary election on May 19. (There was also a listed disbursement of $500 to Axiom on May 18 for “Facebook Ads (refunded)”; Axiom sent $500 to Perkins on May 26 for “Refund of Advertising Fees.)*
Media Matters contacted Axiom Strategies for comment about its work with Perkins but did not receive a response as of publication.
Axiom is a Republican firm that offers services in areas such as political consulting, public affairs, and media buying. The company states that it “has now helped to elect 10 U.S. Senators, 74 U.S. Representatives, 7 Governors, and over 700 state and local legislators. Axiom Strategies is widely recognized as the nation’s largest Republican political consulting firm.”
Jeff Roe, who ran Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) unsuccessful 2016 Republican presidential bid, is Axiom’s founder and leader. Matthew Whitaker, a right-wing commentator and former acting attorney general of the United, is a managing director at Clout Public Affairs, which is a division of Axiom.
Other Axiom clients this year have included the California Republican Party, Sen. Martha McSally’s (R-AZ) reelection campaign, and Tommy Tuberville’s Alabama Senate campaign. The firm also does work for Cruz’s political action committee and his Senate campaign committee (the Texas senator is not running for reelection this year).
*This sentence was updated with additional information about the advertising fees refund.