California congressional candidate Joanne Wright has been pushing a reprehensible conspiracy theory from a far-right media source which claims that Fox News contributor Donna Brazile and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser helped orchestrate the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. The California Republican Party recently endorsed Wright in its upcoming March 3 primary, where she is running unopposed.
Wright is a candidate in California’s 34th Congressional District, which includes parts of Los Angeles County. She is one of at least 30 congressional candidates who have backed QAnon, a violence-linked conspiracy theory which started with claims that President Donald Trump was working with then-special counsel Robert Mueller to stop the president’s perceived enemies, the “deep state,” and pedophiles.
Wright has also pushed the conspiracy theory that Rich was murdered by Democratic Party officials. She has repeatedly smeared Bowser and Brazile, who previously headed the DNC, including tweeting: “Brazile and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser were informed Seth Rich was being taken to Medstar Hospital and were there when he arrived. The word is the wound wasn’t life-threatening but either after the women went in his room or sent their doctors in, Seth died.”
Wright has sourced her claim to a post by far-right blogger and conspiracy theorist Matt Couch. Brazile told the Daily Dot that “there is simply no truth to the claims in the article,” while Bowser’s office denied the report.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the California GOP endorsed Wright because it “gives automatic endorsements to GOP candidates if they’re the sole Republican on the ballot.”
The California Republican Party has denounced Wright’s comments. “These views are not representative of the @CAGOP regarding this serious public health issue,” the organization tweeted Saturday.
The California GOP has endorsed Wright by default because she is the lone Republican running in that district, according to Cynthia Bryant, executive director of the California Republican Party. Bryant said the organization plans to review the rule that gives automatic endorsements to GOP candidates if they’re the sole Republican on the ballot.
“There’s a little thing called the 1st Amendment,” Bryant said of Wright’s tweet. “Candidates can say whatever they want to.”
The state party has gone out of its way to promote Wright on social media. On February 24, the California GOP tweeted that it was “proud to endorse her for CA-34.” That tweet has since been deleted.
The party includes Wright in its online endorsement guide.
In 2018, the California GOP endorsed unsuccessful congressional candidate Dale Mensing, who wrote that the chemtrails conspiracy theory “is one of the three primary issues” of his campaign and used a video from Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones as evidence. The party is endorsing Mensing, who is unopposed in the Republican primary, again this cycle.