How a Florida county has become the 'Conspiracy Capital of the World'
Michael Flynn addresses the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Arena in 2016. (mark reinstein /

Sarasota, Florida, has emerged as the nexus for a wide ranging collection of conspiracy theorists.

Donald Trump's first national security adviser Michael Flynn, an influential figure in the QAnon conspiracy world, lives nearby in Englewood, and other ardent supporters of the twice-impeached one-term president call Sarasota County home, reported Vice.

"Sarasota County has somehow become the Conspiracy Capital of the World," wrote Sarasota Herald Tribune columnist Chris Anderson. founder and election conspiracist Patrick Byrne recently bought six properties at inflated prices in the county, where the Cyber Ninjas digital firm is headquartered, and Turning Point USA head Charlie Kirk, state Sen. Joe Gruthers and conspiracy theorist Maria Zack also live there.

Emboldened local conservatives have recently launched campaigns against critical race theory and mask mandates in the county's school districts, and they're seeking to disrupt the process for local elections.

Byrne, who worked with Trump in an effort to overturn his 2020 loss, is backing a campaign by a group called Defend Our Union, which is led by Women for Trump Florida founder Caroline Wetheringon, for a voter canvass to prove election fraud in Sarasota County.

Wetherington's group has been working with conspiracy theorist Liz Harris, who recently conducted an unofficial canvass in Maricopa County, Arizona, and local residents have complained that people have been showing up unannounced at their homes and demanding voter information.

It's not clear whether Defend Our Union is linked to those visits, and the group's representatives did not respond to requests for comment.