Lauren Witzke, a conservative activist dogged by allegations that she supports a far-right conspiracy theory, won the GOP Senate primary in Delaware on Tuesday, setting her up for an uphill fight against Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenators: US allies concerned Senate won't pass annual defense bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Can America prevent a global warming cold war? MORE (D) in November.
Witzke, a political newcomer, defeated attorney James DeMartino in the Tuesday contest by a roughly 14-point margin. The victory marked an upset over DeMartino, who had the backing of establishment Republicans in the race.
Witzke has cast herself as a staunch conservative and loyal supporter of President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE's, saying on her campaign website she is “unapologetically, America First.”
But she has also had to beat back allegations that she is a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory after tweeting one of its slogans and wearing a QAnon shirt. The unfounded theory posits that Trump is working with the military to break up a cabal made up of bureaucrats who run a child sex trafficking ring.
Witzke has distanced herself from the theory, saying earlier this year, “I certainly think it’s more hype than substance.”
Republicans have already had to answer for GOP candidates in other races who have supported the conspiracy theory, namely Marjorie Taylor Greene, a candidate in a deep-red Georgia House district who is all but guaranteed to join Congress next term.
Witzke will face a steep uphill climb in the race against Coons, who handily won his primary Tuesday. Coons has served in the Senate since 2010 and comfortably won reelection in 2014 by about 14 points. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the Senate race as "solid" Democratic.