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QAnon conspiracy emerges in some state legislative races

PHOENIX (AP) — Candidates engaging with the QAnon conspiracy theory are running for seats in state legislatures this year, breathing more oxygen into a once-obscure conspiracy movement that has grown in prominence since adherents won Republican congressional primaries this year.

Some of the legislative candidates have repeatedly shared QAnon memes and interacted extensively with social media accounts promoting the conspiracy — which is centered on the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring. Others have acted in ways that leave it unclear whether they believe in the theory or may be merely flirting with the ideas to garner attention.

They make up a tiny share of the thousands of state legislative candidates on the ballot in November and many are longshots, but several, including in Arizona, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are running in competitive districts.

Among those who have engaged with QAnon postings on social media is Dave Armstrong, a Republican candidate for the Wisconsin Assembly. He was asked to run for the seat by the incumbent, a fellow Republican.

While he does not describe himself as a QAnon adherent, he has liked and forwarded videos made by QAnon backers. Armstrong told The Associated Press that he finds core aspects of the conspiracy credible, but not all of it.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever know the answer to that, nor can we prove it,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing with QAnon is you can’t prove any of it.”

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