Off The Deep End.

John Ellis
5 min readMay 24, 2020

“Where we go one, we go all,” said Jo Rea Perkins in a now-deleted video she posted to her Twitter account on Tuesday night, May 19th, which was the night she won the GOP nomination for US Senate in Oregon. “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.”

Here’s a quick introduction to what “Q” and his “team” (the Anons) believe:

If you were an adherent, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look — which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. And you must be prepared to fight.

You know all this because you believe in Q.

Here’s what Ms. Perkins had to say about QAnon on May 20th, 24 hours after she won the GOP nomination for US Senate in Oregon:

To be very clear, I do not believe everything from Q/Anon and would never describe myself as a follower, but I also do not believe in infringing upon any outlet’s right to discuss news or topics…My slogan, For One Oregon, has nothing to do with conspiracy theories or media bias, but rather, has long been my commitment to being a civil servant for all of Oregon, not just some as has been the case under Jeff Merkley’s tenure.” (Ed. note: emphasis added)

And here’s what Ms. Perkins had to say about QAnon the day after that, in an interview with ABC News:

“My campaign is gonna kill me … How do I say this? Some people think that I follow Q like I follow Jesus….Q is the information and I stand with the information resource.”

Here’s more from the ABC News write-up:

Perkins said she misread the line in the statement that walked back her support for QAnon before it was posted and that she would have told her campaign to “fix it” if she’d realized what was being said on her behalf.

“I scanned it and said, yeah, it looks good to me and out it went. And then I saw it afterwards and I am like, literally was in tears, literally physically in tears because I’m so blown away. Because I went, crap, that’s not me. And I don’t back down.

“I’m not backpedaling and I’m frustrated. I feel like I’m having to backpedal and that’s like torn me up because that’s not me,” she said regarding her support for QAnon.

What exactly is QAnon? Here’s what the FBI had to say about it in a memo obtained and published by Yahoo! News last summer:

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Well, you might say, “so what?” Why would anyone care about what a fringe candidate for public office has to say about anything, especially one headed for certain defeat in November?

The answer is: she won every single county in the state of Oregon in Tuesday’s GOP primary for the United States Senate. She won Washington County (Beaverton) by ~21%, Multnomah County (Portland) by ~21.5%, Lane County (Eugene) by ~18% and Marion (Salem) by ~25%. In each case, and running in a field with 3 other candidates, she got 50% of the vote (rounding up a sliver) or more (Marion County; 51.4%). Those are stunning results.

The Oregon GOP has, over the years, produced politicians of national importance; Governor Tom McCall, Senators Wayne Morse and Mark Hatfield immediately come to mind. It has now produced Ms. Perkins, decisively.

“Off the rails” is one way to describe what happened in Oregon Tuesday night. “Off the deep end” is another. The fact that she will lose in November is less important than the fact that she’s the Republican Party’s nominee.

Perhaps the most telling fact amidst this political lunacy is this: she will likely have the support of the national Republican Party. The GOP’s leadership won’t be so stupid as to waste any money on her campaign. She’s going to lose and good riddance.

But they won’t disown her. They can’t, really. The GOP can’t afford to have the QAnon-Alex Jones fringe sit out the 2020 election. If they do, the party will lose the White House and the US Senate. It’s as simple as that.

From today’s Washington Post:

(Sen.) Merkley (the incumbent Democrat) is heavily favored to win in November, but Perkins’s primary victory nonetheless presents a dilemma for Republicans in Washington.

Sen. Todd C. Young (R-IN), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he would need to learn more about Perkins but that the organization generally gives its backing to GOP candidates.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Young said when asked about Perkins’s belief in QAnon. “I’ll have to learn more about it, but the NRSC tends to support Republican candidates, as you know.”

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to comment when asked about Perkins’s candidacy.



John Ellis

Founder and Editor, News Items. Political analyst. Founder of and contributing editor to Bird News Items. Former columnist for The Boston Globe.