A Republican secretary of state candidate in South Carolina is collaborating with a QAnon influencer

QAnon influencer Juan O. Savin is part of a “coalition” to elevate candidates willing to overturn election results

QAnon South Carolina candidate Savin

Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

QAnon influencer Juan O. Savin, who is involved in a “coalition” effort to elect people who have pushed false voter fraud claims to state election-administration posts, admitted in an interview that he is collaborating with a South Carolina secretary of state candidate.

In a video uploaded on May 11, Keith Blandford, a Republican candidate for South Carolina secretary of state, interviewed Savin, who said, “Within our group, what you and I and others are working within, we’re focused on two positions. … We’re focused on the secretary of state position and we’re focused on the governors who appoint secretaries of state. And the reason is cause it’s a very symbiotic relationship between those two positions.”

Video file

Citation From a video uploaded to Rumble on May 11, 2022

Blandford said that he was “connected to the secretary of state strategy” -- a coalition led by Nevada Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant that is trying to recruit and elect Republican officials who would support attempts to overturn the results of future elections. (Marchant and Savin both admit that they worked on the coalition together, and Savin also said in the interview that he has spoken with Marchant “privately numerous times.”) 

The South Carolina secretary of state does not actually control election administration in the state; an election commission does. However, Blandford told Savin that his campaign is calling for election administration “to be put back into [the hands of] an elected position.”

Savin, whose real name is Wayne Willott, has become a celebrity within the QAnon movement and during the interview, Blandford lavished praise on him for pushing false voter fraud claims, saying, “Everybody was really frightened after November 3 [of 2020]. Nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew the truth. … You were the one that provided us some light in this tunnel, and I am so grateful to you.”

Video file

Citation From a video uploaded to Rumble on May 11, 2022

The interview seemed to directly invoke QAnon throughout. While pushing false voter fraud claims, Savin said, “The safety that’s in place is the highest echelon of the military involved in Q clearance operations.” He also claimed that President Joe Biden “did not get the commander in chief role as far as the upper tier of our defense system within the Q operations.” (QAnon’s central figure claimed to have “Q” security clearance.) 

Blandford in turn asked Savin, “How do you balance ‘trust the plan’ and doing your duty?” and later invoked “the great awakening.” Both “trust the plan” and “the great awakening” are phrases associated with the conspiracy theory. Blandford also said that he gets his “news” from fellow QAnon influencer David “Niño” Rodriguez, who regularly interviews Savin.

Savin’s announcement of an apparent partnership with a South Carolina secretary of state candidate comes just months after Savin appeared with a former Republican candidate for Colorado secretary of state. That candidate confirmed that Savin played a role in his decision to drop out of the race and endorse his primary opponent — whom Savin said he also helped.