Phoenix/ Politics & Govt
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Published on March 04, 2024
"QAnon Shaman" Eyes Arizona's Congressional Seat After Capitol Riot SentenceSource: Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Former Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley, known as the "QAnon Shaman," is taking steps towards a potential run for Arizona's 8th Congressional District as a Libertarian, per a candidate statement of interest filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. This information comes on the heels of current district representative, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), announcing that she will not seek reelection.

Chansley's past remains a significant part of his public persona, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 riot, where his eccentric look—horned fur hat and face paint—made him a standout figure. Chansley, who served 27 months before his early release to a halfway house in March, with Arizona law stating that felons cannot vote until sentence completion and rights restoration, his eligibility to run hinges on these criteria, according to Fox 59.

Meanwhile, Chansley has been cozying up with Republicans at the Arizona State Capitol, after being a guest of state Sen. Anthony Kern, allowing him access to restricted areas and meetings with lawmakers like Sen. Wendy Rogers. This exclusive access raises eyebrows, especially since his early release and the spectacle of his appearance at such government spaces was described as "jarring" by Sen. Priya Sundareshan, as per Phoenix Newtimes.

Chansley has also voiced his opposition to Senate Bill 1480, which proposes raises for several high-ranking state officials, Kern—who is also eyeing a run for the same Congressional seat as Chansley—is tied to the Jan. 6 events himself, having been photographed at the Capitol on that fateful day, though he claims to have never entered the building, his mingling with Chansley could impact the political dynamics and public perception within state politics, especially in the light of the infamous rioter's newfound activism and potential candidacy.