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Utah Democrats criticize Burgess Owens over deleted praise of candidate tied to QAnon

By Connor Richards daily Herald - | Jun 11, 2021
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Burgess Owens, the Republican candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat, speaks during a campaign event held at Colonial Flag in Sandy on Thursday, July 23, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Burgess Owens, the Republican candidate for Utah’s 4th Congressional District seat, speaks during a campaign event held at Colonial Flag in Sandy on Thursday, July 23, 2020. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

The Utah Democratic Party criticized U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, on Friday after the congressman briefly tweeted praise for a controversial congressional GOP candidate who has supported the QAnon conspiracy.

Anna Paulina Luna, a Florida Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Democratic 13th Congressional District Rep. Charlie Crist in the 2020 general election, took to Twitter on Thursday to announce she is running in 2022.

“Let’s take back OUR HOUSE & retire (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi,” said Luna, whose platform includes rejecting “race-baiting politics” and the “betrayal of American workers (and) families” by liberals.

Luna received criticism in 2020 for appealing to supporters of QAnon, a fringe political conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a potential domestic terrorist threat, after she appeared on a far-right program tied to the baseless conspiracy, as reported by Media Matters.

Owens received similar criticism on the campaign trail for appearing on QAnon-linked programs.

The Utah Republican appeared to endorse Luna on Thursday when he retweeted her campaign announcement.

“This is great news for FL,” Owens wrote on Twitter before deleting the tweet after 59 seconds, as documented by Propublica’s Politwoops.

Despite being up for less than a minute, the tweet caught the attention of the Utah Democratic Party, which called it “the latest in a long, long string of (Owens’) alignments with the dangerous ‘QAnon conspiracy.'”

“Now, Rep. Owens has amplified Anna Paulina Luna, who has accosted VP Kamala Harris at an airport, claiming she didn’t care about trafficking and child rape; appeared on a QAnon program, praising the hosts; and claimed the LGBTQ+ community is being used to make pedophilia acceptable,” the party said in a written statement.

The party further stated that Owens “should answer as to whether his latest tweet-and-delete play was an endorsement of a candidate he didn’t fully understand the harm of, or if it was a lack of judgment in which Rep. Owens endorsed a candidate that he already well-knew was dangerous.”

Utah Democratic Party Chair Jeff Merchant said that Owens’ “latest tweet-and-delete endorsement of QAnon through Anna Paulina Luna is another knot in the web of lies that Burgess Owens weaves to damage our nation through (former President Donald) Trump’s ‘Big Lie.'”

“Clearly, Burgess Owens shows no sign of remorse in this, the latest in a long string of anti-American and pro-extremist acts that look to damage the very fabric of our democratic processes,” said Merchant.

Owens’ campaign, which has previously stated that the congressman doesn’t believe in or follow QAnon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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