Qanon adherents are getting elected to local office and sowing chaos with outlandish claims and contentious behavior.
At least 19 congressional candidates, including two current lawmakers, who've shown support for the right-wing conspiracy theory are running in next year's midterm election cycle, and other Qanon cultists have won local elections -- such as a school board member in Grand Blanc, Michigan, reported CNN.
"We have a person that believes in lies governing what should be taught in our schools," said Grand Blanc parent Monica Shapiro, "and that just isn't right. We have to have facts. We have to have reality."
Students and parents have asked school board member Amy Facchinello to step down after then-high school senior Lucas Hartwell found her Twitter posts referring QAnon dating back to 2017, when the conspiracy theory first began to spread on social media.
"It's a platform that's based on everything a school district should stand against, everything education should stand against," Hartwell said, "and that's the most upsetting part to me, that somebody who has the future of children believes these things that are so outlandish and so harmful to not just our community, not just our children, but to our nation and the world."
The recent graduate found Twitter posts by Facchinello claiming, "Q ANON CONFIRMED BY TRUMP," and another complaining about right-wing accounts being banned, saying, "We the people are pissed off."
"I think it's the false narrative to try to cancel Trump's supporters," said Facchinello, who was involved in Trump's campaign in Grand Blanc.
She told CNN that the Qanon slogan, "WWG1WGA," which stands for "Where we go one, we go all," is "an inclusive message."
Protesters gathered last week outside the school board meeting after Hartwell revealed Facchinello's conspiratorial posts, although she had some supporters who brought pro-conservative signs into the meeting itself.
"She's wonderful, loving, caring, loves the kids," said Michael Smith, from nearby Sanilac County, "and just because they have a different perspective, they've made her into a villain."
Another Qanon adherent, former UFC Champion Tito Ortiz, was also elected in November to as a member of the city council and mayor pro tem in Huntington Beach, California, and has been a magnet for controversy ever since.
"Well, the first day when he was sworn in, he referred to the pandemic as a 'Plandemic' and that sort of set the tone," said Mike Posey, a Republican.
Ortiz abruptly resigned this week, citing media "attacks," but some Qanon adherents, such as Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, are using the conspiracy theory to seek higher office."We've got a serious problem in this nation," Finchem told the right-wing Victory Media. "There's a lot of people involved in a pedophile network in the distribution of children ... and, unfortunately, there's a whole lot of elected officials that are involved in that."
Finchem, who was first elected in 2014 and re-elected last year, is running for Arizona secretary of state after turning up outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, which he appeared to support."Somebody like Rep. Mark Finchem being in charge of elections, holding a seat like secretary of state is one of the most dangerous things that could happen to democracy," said Natali Fierros Bock, who's leading an effort to recall the legislator.
QAnon believers are being elected to local offices -- and causing total chaos www.youtube.com