Jacob Chansley, the Jan. 6 ‘QAnon Shaman,’ Launches 2024 Congressional Bid

Bill Pan
By Bill Pan
November 13, 2023Politics
Jacob Chansley, the Jan. 6 ‘QAnon Shaman,’ Launches 2024 Congressional Bid
Jacob Chansley (C) and other protesters outside the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who entered the halls of Congress shirtless while wearing patriotic face paint and horned fur headgear on Jan. 6, 2021, has filed paperwork to run for Congress as a Libertarian.

According to the filings, Mr. Chansley is seeking to fill the seat currently held by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who announced in October that she won’t be running for reelection in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. The congresswoman’s term ends in January 2025.

Others seeking the seat include Blake Masters, a Republican who lost to Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly in last year’s election, and Republican state Sen. Anthony Kern, who was labeled an “insurrectionist” by Arizona Democrats for being present at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington.

Mr. Chansley, better known as “QAnon Shaman,” was among the first batch of the “Stop the Steal” rally attendees to enter the Capitol. Images of him sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair in the Senate became iconic representations of that day, when thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in the nation’s capital, urging Congress to halt the certification of electoral college votes from states they believed had serious problems of election integrity.

Trump Supporters Hold "Stop The Steal" Rally In DC Amid Ratification Of Presidential Election
Jacob Chansley, also known as the ‘QAnon Shaman,’ inside the U.S. Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached on Jan. 6, 2021. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

After he was charged with obstructing an official proceeding, Mr. Chansley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 41 months in prison. In May, after serving a prison sentence of 29 months, including two months in a halfway house, he was released from custody and began a 36-month period of supervised release.

New Footage Helps Chansley

Mr. Chansley’s release came after Fox News in March publicized clips of surveillance camera footage in and around the Capitol complex on Jan. 6, 2021, on the prime-time program hosted by Tucker Carlson, who was fired from the media company two months later.

Among the footage was a clip showing Mr. Chansley walking alongside several U.S. Capitol Police officers who didn’t make any attempt to remove him from the building. At one point of the clip, an officer even opened a door to the Senate Chamber for Mr. Chansley before following the shirtless, American-flag-carrying man inside.

“The crowd was enormous. A small percentage of them were hooligans. They committed vandalism. You’ve seen their pictures again and again,” said Mr. Carlson, speaking of the “possibly thousands” of people who entered the Capitol over the course of two hours that day. “But the overwhelming majority weren’t. They were peaceful. They were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists. They were sightseers.”

The footage prompted prominent public figures such as Elon Musk to call for Mr. Chansley’s release. The attorney representing the Arizona man also asked the court to vacate the prison sentence, arguing that the government violated his client’s constitutional rights by not handing over the potentially exculpatory footage.

“Because this material was favorable to Mr. Chansley for purposes of sentencing, and it was suppressed by the Government, Mr. Chansley’s due process rights were clearly violated by the failure to produce the CCTV camera video from inside the Capitol,” wrote his lawyer, William Shipley.

A Call for National Unity

In an interview with The Epoch Times after being released from prison, Mr. Chansley said he was being “targeted” while in custody in Washington.

“I experienced a certain level of prejudice, considering I was the guy in the horns, and they knew who I was,” he said of his 11-day stay in the Washington jail in February 2022, before being transferred to a facility in Alexandria, Virginia.

This experience, according to Mr. Chansley, allowed him to gain a deeper insight into America’s ideological polarization.

“The media sells outrage. They don’t sell truth,” he said. “And they never offer solutions. They only complain about the problem.”

He also said he believes that the government is “certainly corrupt on both sides of the aisle—Republicans and Democrats.”

“I think in America, we can actually agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on,” he told The Epoch Times.

He said he hopes to promote “a spiritual message of love, of peace, the power of love, the power of peace, the power of prayer, the power of forgiveness, the power of the truth.”

“That’s the only way we’re going to solve our problems,” he said.

Gary Bai contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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