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The Republican Party is going to find out just how big a QAnon problem it has on Tuesday when a primary runoff is decided in a northwest Georgia district, where polls opened at 7 a.m. Eastern time.
The favorite in the race in the 14th Congressional District is Marjorie Taylor Greene, a gun-rights activist who is an unabashed supporter of QAnon, a fringe group that has been pushing a convoluted pro-Trump conspiracy theory. Lined up against her is John Cowan, a physician who is no less conservative or pro-Trump, but who does not believe QAnon’s theory that there is a “deep state” of child-molesting Satanist traitors plotting against the president. The winner is a near lock to be elected to Congress in the overwhelmingly Republican district.
The F.B.I. has labeled QAnon a potential domestic terrorism threat, and the conspiracy theory has already inspired real-world violence. Yet its supporters are slowly becoming a political force with more than a dozen candidates who have expressed some degree of support for the theory, running for Congress as Republicans.
Most are expected to lose. Yet all present a fresh headache for Republican leaders.
The party, while already struggling to distance itself from conspiracy theories steeped in racist and anti-Semitic messaging, also cannot afford to turn off voters who share those conspiratorial views if it hopes to retain the Senate and retake the House.