QAnon supporters to host fundraiser for Kari Lake

Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake is headlining a campaign fundraiser on Friday hosted by two wealthy QAnon supporters, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.

Caryn and Michael Borland, who have shared numerous QAnon posts on their social media platforms, are holding the fundraiser for the likely GOP nominee at their mansion in Prescott, Arizona. Tickets for the Lake fundraiser are sold on a sliding scale, from $50 per person to $13,200 to be a “Leadership Committee” co-chair, $6,600 to be a “co-host” and $3,300 to be a “sponsor.”

The couple last caught public attention when a fundraiser they were going to host in Montana for former Vice President Mike Pence was canceled after the Associated Press reported on their QAnon ties. Though he didn’t give a reason, he had previously said QAnon was a “conspiracy theory.”

Lake, a former local news anchor, has attempted to pivot from her 2022 campaign for governor, when she ran a campaign heavily focused on election denialism. She lost that election to Democrat Katie Hobbs, but never conceded the race.

In the general election, she would face Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who last quarter raised $3.3 million, and potentially incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, now an independent, who has not announced yet if she will run for reelection. Her election speeches in her run for Senate this cycle have focused on economic issues, and even made some overtures to Democrats.

During her gubernatorial run, she had dinner with reputed top QAnon figure Ron Watkins and noted in July that she received a huge response when she appeared on the QAnon-linked internet show “X22 Report.” In recent years, Lake has embraced other false narratives, including saying that she took hydroxychloroquine to avoid getting Covid-19 and also raising doubts about whether Covid-19 vaccines worked.

QAnon is a sprawling conspiracy theory whose followers believe Trump secretly battled a cabal of Satan-worshiping child sex traffickers who worked in the “deep state.” Almost a quarter of Republicans, as well as 7 percent of Democrats, believed in QAnon, according to a 2021 Public Religion Research Institute poll.

Experts worry the prevalence of the QAnon conspiracy theory undermines democratic institutions and the legitimacy of elections — a huge concern as Trump returns to the presidential ballot in 2024.

A representative of the Lake campaign declined to comment. Michael Borland hung up on POLITICO when reached by phone while Caryn Borland didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Caryn Borland is a Christian musician. There are conflicting accounts of how the Borlands met. The couple told the Concordia University Irvine, where the Borlands donated money for part of a music building bearing their name, that they met in church, but ProPublica reported that they had met working together at a grocery store. The publication said that she received a significant inheritance from her dad and a multimillion dollar trust fund, with one former associate telling the publication that “they were not even middle class, then they inherited a massive fortune.”

After it was reported in 2020 that the Borlands had taken part in spreading QAnon material on Twitter and Facebook, the two reportedly made their Twitter accounts private and Michael Borland deleted QAnon content off of his Facebook page, which had earlier included a number of QAnon logos, its oath and its famous slogan, “Where We Go One, We Go All.” The couple visited the White House in August 2020 and in 2019 posted a picture with Trump and had dinner with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

The Borlands previously donated more than a million dollars to a Donald Trump-Republican National Committee joint fundraising committee, along with their son who gave another $580,000.

Lake has been a supporter of Trump’s third presidential bid. She campaigned for him in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Some have even floated her name as a possible VP choice for Trump.

Trump, like Lake, has been playing footsie with QAnon. In recent years, he posted a picture of himself on Truth Social wearing a “Q” pin with a “Q” slogan in 2022 and reposting a montage highlight reel, which included the QAnon slogans “WWG1WGA” and “the storm is coming.” Trump has refused to dismiss the theory when asked about by journalists, saying that it was growing in popularity and that he had a lot of supporters who were in the QAnon community. He also posted references to QAnon on his Truth Social account dozens of times in 2023.

In 2019, the FBI’s Phoenix field office labeled QAnon a domestic terrorism threat, saying in an intelligence bulletin that conspiracy theories like QAnon are “occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

After announcing her new campaign in October, Lake has earned the backing of several Republican senators and she even frequently texts with NRSC Chair Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Lake raised $2.1 million during her first quarter in the race. She so far has no serious challengers in the primary.

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