A QAnon supporter won an upset victory in a Republican House primary in Ohio on Tuesday, putting him on a path to become the third backer of the conspiracy theory in Congress.
Trump devotee J.R. Majewski, an employee of a nuclear power company, first gained prominence on the right in 2020 by painting a 19,000 square-foot Trump campaign sign on his lawn. He leveraged that attention and a laudatory tweet from Trump to run for Ohio’s 9th congressional district, winning 35 percent of the vote and beating two Republican state representatives in Tuesday’s primary for the right to face Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D).
Majewski’s unorthodox entry into politics goes beyond his massive yard signs. He not only marched in Washington on Jan. 6, but also claimed to have raised $20,000 to bring 30 other Trump supporters to D.C.to protest what he saw as a stolen election. He has frequently signaled his support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, wearing its merchandise and building a close alliance with a leading Q promoter.
Majewski stands a good chance of winning Kaptur’s seat, which has been redistricted to be friendlier to Republican candidates. Before Majewski’s primary victory, Cook Political Report rated the seat as a “toss up.” If elected, Majewski would join Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on the list of congressional representatives who have supported QAnon.
The FBI has described QAnon as a potential source of domestic terrorism. The movement’s believers hold that leading Democrats and other prominent figures are Satan-worshiping pedophiles who will soon be arrested and executed in a massive purge ordered by Trump. The conspiracy theory has motivated multiple real-life murders, as well as a number of violent incidents at the Jan. 6 riot and elsewhere.
In 2020, Majewski wore a white shirt bearing a “Q” during a local television interview about his yard painting. Majewski even incorporated QAnon into his painting, turning the zeroes in the sign’s “2020” into Q’s. Liberal watchdog group Media Matters has compiled multiple instances of Majewski using QAnon slogans like “WWG1WGA” — short for the QAnon slogan “Where we go one, we go all.”
Majewski’s campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.
In an April 2021 interview with the Toledo Blade, Majewski denied supporting QAnon. He said he had donated the Q shirt from his television interview to charity and never read the anonymous online clues that make up the conspiracy theory, dubbed “Q-Drops.”
“I’ve never read any QAnon drop — what they call the ‘Q-Drop,’” Majewski told the paper.
Majewski’s claim that he’s never seen a QAnon clue contradicts evidence available online. In an Oct. 2020 livestream video with fellow QAnon supporters, Majewski reviewed posts made by “Q,” the anonymous poster behind the conspiracy theory, and offered his own interpretations. Majewski wore a “Q” sweatshirt while he discussed the posts.
Majewski also has more than one QAnon shirt, according to videos reviewed by The Daily Beast. In an August 2020 appearance on a 24-hour QAnon livestream called “The Patriot’s Soapbox,” Majewski wore a blue shirt with a picture of a white rabbit on it, a reference to the QAnon slogan “Follow the white rabbit.” In the video, Majewski acknowledged that he was a Q supporter and said he painted Q’s on his yard sign.
“I wear this shirt with pride,” Majewski said.
In a Dec. 2020 appearance on another QAnon online show, Majewski wore an orange shirt with a picture of Trump and the QAnon slogan “WWG1WGA” beneath it. Majewski boasted about “redpilling” his mother, a phrase popular in multiple right-wing communities that can be used to describe the process of recruiting someone into QAnon. On the show, Majewski spoke admiringly about listening to other QAnon believers speak at a recent meeting.
Majewski has built a close friendship with Zak Paine, a prominent QAnon promoter who goes by the name “RedPill78” online. Majewski frequently appears on Paine’s pro-Q show. In an April 22 episide, Paine described Majewski as “my good friend.” Majewski returned the favor, inviting Paine to host a general election victory party for his congressional campaign. But some of Majewski’s ideas even surprised his conspiracy theorist pal — at one point in the show, Majewski claimed, to Paine’s surprise, that nefarious forces are deliberately slowing down how fast gas pumps operate.
“They’re actually pushing them to slow down their pumps, so the consumers — so we don’t get pissed off,” Majewski said.
Majewski also asked Paine for advice on how to protest in Washington on Jan. 6, and posted a photograph of them men together in Washington the day of the riot.
“Chaos is a ladder, and I think this is the prime opportunity for patriots to go and support the president,” Majewski said in an appearance on Paine’s show to promote the Jan. 6 protests.
In a February 2022 interview on Paine’s show, Majewski, an Air Force veteran, expressed an openness to fighting Democrats in a civil war, though he added that “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
“There’s a good percentage of people in this country that will do anything for it, and a lot of them are veterans,” Majewski said. “And once you open that door, you don’t know what’s going to be behind it, and you can’t close it. Because there’s 20 million veterans in this country that will fight and die for it, even if it’s on our own land, and I happen to be one of them.”