“I feel this, with every ounce of my being,” wrote Otero County, Colorado, Republican leader Stephanie Garbo on Facebook last month, in response to a post, retweeted by an account associated with QAnon, an online conspiracy movement tied to violent acts and flagged by the FBI as a potential domestic terror threat.
The Facebook comment that Garbo responded to expressed a deep allegiance to QAnon, which is built largely around the idea that government workers are out to undermine conservatives like Trump.
“I just keep reminding myself that no matter what, I was drawn to the movement because I sensed something was horribly wrong…and whatever happens, I will be equipped to love and guide those who were blind,” stated the post that elicited Garbo’s response. (See below.)
Most of Otero County, in Southern Colorado, is represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), who was toppled in a primary this year by Lauren Boebert, of Rifle, who’s also praised QAnon.
In a May interview first reported by Right Wing Watch, Boebert said, “I hope that [Q] is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values.”
The congressional candidate later said she’s not a QAnon follower.
Four GOP congressional candidates in California have expressed support for QAnon, as has a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Oregon.
Trump has also repeatedly amplified QAnon content.
A county Republican leader like Garbo, elected to her leadership position by fellow Republicans in a sparsely populated southwestern Colorado county, may have little power.
But Garbo, who last month refused to remove a Facebook post comparing mask-wearing to police brutality, is apparently seen by the Colorado Republican Party as a rising star.
She is part of a Colorado Republican Party group called “Colorado Women in Action,” which includes El Paso County GOP leader Vickie Tonkins, state Rep. Perry Buck of Windsor, and CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, who’s one of only two Republicans who serve in offices elected by voters statewide. The other is U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).
The group is led by Colorado Republican Party’s vice chair, Kristi Burton-Brown who said that “future candidates will come out of our ranks, and they will be trained, connected, and ready to win for the families of Colorado.”
QAnon is so widely disregarded that Twitter last month removed accounts related to the conspiracy theory, and Facebook was considering similar action.
“QAnon is not conventional political discourse,” Alice Marwick, an associate professor of communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told the New York Times. “It’s a conspiracy theory that makes wild claims and baseless accusations about political actors and innocent people alike.”
Garbo did not return a telephone call seeking comment.