Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem fought with Sandy Hook Truther

Like many high-profile candidates for office before him, Mark Finchem — the Republican nominee for Arizona Secretary of State — traveled to California last weekend for a fundraiser.

Unlike virtually every other high-profile candidate for the office, Finchem had its fundraiser co-hosted by a self-proclaimed “true” who adheres to the QAnon conspiracy theory and has spent years spreading baseless lies, like the Sandy Hook shooting that a staged “fake is flag” and 9/11 an “inside job”.

On Sunday night, Finchem traveled to Newport Beach — a bastion of Trump-tinged red in otherwise deep blue Southern California — for a fundraiser led by two figures on the far-right events scene: Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn.

The political world is well acquainted with these two ex-Trump advisers and their long records of inflammatory statements and views. Less well known, however, are those of co-host of the Newport Beach event, Nicole Nogrady.

Nogrady, a former actor-turned-photographer-turned-massage-therapist, was featured in the public advertisement for the Finchem fundraiser – which was promoted on his official Twitter account for the campaign – as a co-host, an honor that is usually a significant one Level of personal commitment to a campaign signals .

To her social media followers, Nogrady has been sharing QAnon content and spreading her support for a number of fringe conspiracy theories.

Just last week, Nogrady commemorated the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks by claiming on social media that they were staged. “The same people who orchestrated the event worked hard behind the scenes to create their desired ‘One World Government’ and divided us more than ever,” she said, calling 9/11 ” the day of the Deep State has cost thousands of lives.”

From 2016 to 2018, Nogrady repeatedly published her view that the Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 first graders and six adults was fake.

Nogrady once wrote on Facebook that “no one died” in one of the most well-documented and harrowing public tragedies in recent history. She went on to accuse Sandy Hook’s surviving families of being paid crisis actors.

“These families are all very well secured for life, both from the Deep State payouts and from all of their Go Fund Me accounts,” Nogrady wrote. “It’s all a game to them and the public is the pawn.”

In 2016, Nogrady referenced her film and television career — which included a lengthy stint as a body double on ABC sitcom Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 — to prove her offbeat theory.

“Working in the ‘entertainment industry’ woke me up to the fact that when people get enough money, they will act, react, play, laugh, cry and even ‘die’ to please their director and get a good paycheck. ‘ Nogrady wrote.

Sandy Hook wasn’t the only target of Nogrady’s “truthfulness” bias. In October 2017, weeks after the Las Vegas mass shooting that killed 60 people and injured over 400, Nogrady shared articles alleging that the FBI had “monstrously covered up” the event. “Your #FalseFlag operations will no longer work in public,” she wrote.

In response to questions from The Daily Beast, Nogrady said her “PAST beliefs posted on social media LONG days ago are NOT connected in any way to Mark Finchem, his campaign, his team or last night’s fundraiser.”

She also downplayed her role in the fundraiser, saying it was “simply part of the ticket sales and logistics day event,” which included “setting up tables and seating arrangements.”

Finchem’s campaign did not respond to questions about whether he was aware of Nogrady’s views before Sunday’s fundraiser and whether he opposed them.

Finchem’s association with Nogrady is just the latest illustration of his uniquely covert campaign for powerful office in a key battleground state. The Trump-backed state congressman who has a fighting chance of becoming Arizona’s top election official is perhaps more personally mired in the far-right fever swamps than any other high-profile Republican on the ballot.

Last week, The Daily Beast reported that Finchem gave a speech ahead of his August primary, in which he accused former Vice President Mike Pence of instigating a “coup” to unseat Donald Trump after January 6 and accused him of being responsible for FBI spying on the ex-president’s campaign in 2016. (Finchem was present outside the Capitol after being injured on Jan. 6, according to video footage.)

Sunday’s Newport Beach event provided some further evidence of Finchem’s right-most position. In a video of the event shared on Twitter by Alex Kaplan, a researcher at Media Matters For America, a woman on stage sang a Qanon-themed song at some point in the program. Its soaring chorus was “Where we go, we all go,” the unofficial slogan of the Qanon movement.

Also attending the fundraiser was Jordan Sather, a conspiracy theorist known as one of Qanon’s earliest supporters. He posted on social media that he was traveling to California to “shoot some videos” for the event. (He also claimed that two potential venues had canceled organizers, citing death threats.)

Travis View, a Qanon researcher who hosts a podcast about the movement, said Finchem is “unique” among prominent GOP politicians because he “has no qualms connecting with people who represent some of the most outlandish and have the most despicable views”.

“It’s really, really disturbing,” View told The Daily Beast. “We’ve had Qanon candidates before… it’s rare for someone to be so open about it.”

Finchem meets Democrat Adrian Fontes in one of the most watched down ballot competitions in the country this November. The prospect of Finchem controlling elections in such an important state is unsettling for many.

View argued that if Finchem were to be able to win his race while actively embracing the Qanon community, it would set another troubling standard.

“That would send a signal to other candidates,” he said, “that you don’t have to hide your ‘level of power,’ as extremists like to say.” Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem fought with Sandy Hook Truther

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