Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican facing stiff competition from Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, donated to two state legislature candidates who support the bizarre conspiracy theory QAnon, Mainer was first to report Friday.
A request for comment from Collins’ office was not immediately returned.
Polls show Gideon has a solid lead over Collins, a centrist whose 2018 vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court kicked off a massive fundraising effort for her eventual opponent.
She has recently drawn the ire of President Donald Trump for a “nasty rumor” that she would not vote to support his latest Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. It is more than just a rumor: Collins pledged last month not to vote on Trump’s nominee to fill the seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Now, in the final weeks of her campaign, Collins is facing criticism for indirectly promoting QAnon, a baseless far-right conspiracy that posits Trump is fighting a deep-state cabal of Satanic pedophiles. Its followers have exhibited violent tendencies in the past.
Trump also sparked outrage when he was asked about the conspiracy theory during his town hall Thursday night and dodged by claiming to know “nothing” about the group.
“What I do hear about it is they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that,” the president said, adding that they “fight it very hard.”
Both Bushey and Redmond are military veterans running to represent districts in northern Maine.
Their social media activity showed them advocating for QAnon and its convoluted belief system, according to Mainer, which also interviewed Redmond.
“What I understand about the QAnon program is that the military is going to need to intervene eventually,” Redmond told the outlet, explaining that “Nazis never lost World War II” because although ”[Nazism] was dissolved, they were consumed into the U.S.A., and the rich, cultist, Satanist families continued to utilize this Nazi force.”
“The end of World War III will end with Donald Trump,” Redmond said. He is challenging Democrat David McCrea, a second-term incumbent.
Bushey, whose writings and views are not difficult to find on the internet, is challenging Democrat John Martin, currently serving his 21st non-consecutive term in the Maine House.
Bushey is featured in YouTube videos as a leader of a “QAnon church,” which interprets the conspiracy theory through the teachings of the Bible. A website for the “church” predicts “military trials” and “God-declared executions” of people involved with progressive and mainstream Democratic organizations after Election Day.
In an interview for a Mainer podcast posted in May, Bushey spoke in disparaging terms about Freemasons, bankers, Catholics and Jews, saying they “have worked very diligently to support the idea that we should be in continuous war or having wars, because they like to finance both sides of the equation. They’re the producers, the manufacturers, and they control the money supplies.”