The costumed man had served time in prison for being present at the January 6 Capitol riot
Jacob Chansley, dubbed by the media the ‘QAnon Shaman’ of the 2021 riot, is now seeking to return to Capitol Hill as a member of Congress. Chansley has filed paperwork with Arizona to run in the state’s 8th congressional district in 2024.
Chansley, now 36, is a US Navy veteran who gained fame – or notoriety – during the January 6, 2021 protest outside the US Capitol, as thousands of Americans challenged the certification of the 2020 election in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. He showed up to the protest shirtless, adorned in red, white and blue body paint, wearing a fur hat with horns and carrying an American flag.
Multiple outlets reported on Monday that Chansley has filed a Statement of Interest with the state government, specifying that he is running for the congressional seat as a Libertarian Party candidate. The seat is currently held by Republican Debbie Lesko, 64, who has announced she would not seek re-election.
“The media called me the ‘Q-Shaman’ or ‘Qanon-Shaman’, but that is a straw man they created in an attempt to control the narrative [and] destroy my public image,” Chansley says on his X (formerly Twitter) profile, AmericaShaman.
Democrats have claimed that the protesters supporting then-President Donald Trump were engaging in a violent “insurrection,” a term used in the 14th Amendment to disenfranchise the defeated side in the US Civil War. None of more than 1,000 Americans prosecuted for January 6 has been charged with that particular crime, however. Chansley himself pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding.
“Men of honor admit when they’re wrong. Not just publicly but to themselves. I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse,” he told the judge. In November 2021, Chansley was sentenced to 41 months behind bars. He was granted early release in March 2023, after spending a total of 27 months behind bars, 11 of them in solitary confinement.
Chansley’s release happened shortly after TV host Tucker Carlson aired a video previously undisclosed by the government, showing him peacefully walking around the Capitol on January 6, with police escort. In the video, Chansley can be heard telling the protesters that Trump “asked everybody to go home” and that they should do so, having made their point.
Elon Musk, who had just acquired Twitter, was one of the more prominent voices condemning the federal government’s treatment of the “shaman” at the time.
“Chansley was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state and who urged others to commit violence. But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home,” Musk wrote on the platform.