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QAnon, Trump supporter running atypical candidacy in Democratic state Senate race

Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2022
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Jacqueline Alvidrez is not a typical Democratic candidate.

Running for state Senate against incumbent James Ohrenschall (D-Las Vegas) in Senate District 21, the 29-year-old Alvidrez is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, does not believe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and says the QAnon conspiracy theory “makes a lot of sense.” 

She would have preferred to run as a nonpartisan for the seat — criticizing Ohrenschall for not listening to constituents who have opposing views — but said her decision to run as a Democrat came down to political reality in District 21, where registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans.

"To win, you really do have to be one or one or the other party," Alvidrez said. "The majority of the people in my district are Democrats. So that's why I decided to run and also because I feel like … I do share a lot of their values."

Part of Alvidrez's platform includes making it easier for immigrants to become American, pushing for gold and silver and cryptocurrencies to become legal tender in Nevada and creating ways for people to be more self-sustaining through community gardens.

Alvidrez is the lone primary opponent against Ohrenschall, a legislative veteran who spent 12 years in the Assembly before running and winning the state Senate seat in 2018. Republican April Larsen also filed to run for the seat.

Engaged to John Cardiff Gerhardt, an open supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory who headed an effort to recall Gov. Steve Sisolak in 2020 and was one of a handful of legislative candidates nationwide that embraced the conspiracy theory, Alvidrez said she has looked into the QAnon movement and "wouldn't push it aside because people just call it a conspiracy theory." 

The QAnon theory had ties to the January 6 insurrection and is centered on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump is fighting a secret battle against the "deep state," including a child sex trafficking ring run by leaders in the Democratic Party.

A self-described "Kennedy Democrat" and the daughter of immigrants, Alvidrez said she is somewhat conservative but has left-leaning values. She said she supported Trump in the last election, in part because she said she was once almost kidnapped to be part of a human trafficking ring.

Within the context of the QAnon movement, the invocation of Kennedy and human trafficking serves as a dog whistle for other QAnon supporters while playing into moderate Democrats' appreciation of the assassinated president's legacy. 

Her candidacy is part of a growing movement of QAnon conspiracy theorists running in state legislative races across the country.

Though Alvidrez acknowledged her stances may be uncommon for a traditional Democratic candidate, she hopes voters look past party divisions.

"I don't really affiliate with either or of the parties," Alvidrez said. "I think both parties have values that I agree with. Honestly, I'm more in the middle."

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Indy 2022, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2022 election. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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