Picture copyrighted by Santa Clarita Star 2024

Patrick Gipson's Polarizing Campaign for Assembly


Apr 6, 2024 - Republican Patrick Gipson, a retired Deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), is characterized by a profound intertwining of deeply rooted convictions, where his steadfast religious beliefs intersect with a deep-seated skepticism of governmental authority and mainstream institutions. He holds staunch anti-vaccination beliefs, opposes equal rights for LGBTQ individuals, and advocates for the rollback of gun safety laws in California. Having served as a National Rifle Association (NRA) instructor and aligned staunchly with groups such as Moms for Liberty, Gipson is one of the most conservative political candidates running for California State Assembly.


Gipson is attempting to unseat Freshman Democratic Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo in Assembly District 40. Schiavo won her seat in 2022, just barely defeating incumbent Republican Suzette Valladares. In 2022, Valladares was running for reelection in a newly drawn district that was majority Democratic. Attempting to appeal to a broader voter base, Valladares adjusted some of her stances, transitioning from a staunch "pro-life" position to proclaiming a newfound support for being "Pro-Choice." Patrick Gipson is a much different candidate than Suzette Valladares. Gipson fervently aligns himself with the ideologies of Trump's MAGA movement, portraying himself as a religious conservative who subscribes to the anti-vaccine movement, supports Moms for Liberty, and espouses various conspiracy theories associated with the QAnon, a far-right conspiracy group that promotes the baseless claim that former President Donald Trump is fighting a secret war against a network of Satanic child abusers in government, entertainment, and the media.


As a firearms instructor, Patrick Gipson believes that there should be fewer restrictions on firearms. “California gun control laws actually protect criminals and endanger everyday citizens,” Gipson said in a video for his failed Congressional run. “I know that we can ensure gun safety with gun education in our communities.”


During his Assembly campaign, Gipson employs an unconventional tactic to raise money. He holds fundraisers at shooting ranges, teaching folks how to shoot semi-automatic weapons in exchange for campaign donations. Politicians and activists often talk about “fighting” for a cause, but Gipson’s language often has violent undertones, as if Gipson could embrace aggression and confrontation to achieve his goals. Gipson has a militant zeal in his beliefs. He often refers to his political opponents as “the enemy” and uses combative language to describe them and what he perceives as their agenda.


In September 2023, Patrick Gipson made his first major appearance as an Assembly candidate at a rally protesting public school teachers and transgender children. The rally was called the “Rally for Parental Rights” and it was organized by various far-right groups in Los Angeles County. This was also the first appearance of the Santa Clarita-based Los Angeles County Moms for Liberty, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


The rally featured a lineup of speakers, including Rebecca Freidrichs, a prominent opponent of teachers' unions, and Jessica Tapia, a former public school teacher who was fired for attempting to out LGBTQ+ students to their parents.


At the rally, Freidrichs, who has made a career out of trying to destroy teachers' unions said about teachers’ unions, “I call them the ‘education mafia’. A friend of mine said I should apologize to the mafia because the mafia loves America. The unions do not. They hate America, and they hate you.” There was a smattering of applause. “The people behind the corruption in the legislature? It’s the unions,” she continued. “The people behind the nasty pornographic books in your school? It’s the unions. The people behind Critical Race Theory? It’s the unions. The people destroying America? It’s the unions, and the teachers' unions are the worst of them all. Let’s not give them the privilege of being called teachers anymore.”


When it was Patrick Gipson’s turn to speak, he mostly read his speech from his phone. “Ask yourself why,” Patrick Gipson read, holding his phone in front of his face. “Why are they trying to attack our children? Do we know why? Because children are the easiest target.” Gipson said it is the job of parents to protect their children from the government. He tried to lead the crowd to chant “Leave our kids alone!”


“We allow them to dictate to us on how to raise our children, and certainly we will not allow a communist regime to come into our country and divide us,” bellowed Gipson, one hand gripping his phone and the other hand vigorously chopping the air. “We will protect our children at all costs. This is the hill we die on here. Our children – they’re worth it!”


“We allow them to dictate to us on how to raise our children, and certainly we will not allow a communist regime to come into our country and divide us.”

- Patrick Gipson, Republican candidate for AD40 at the "Stop the War on Children Rally" in September 2023.

In July 2023, Gipson attended a premiere for the movie “Sound of Freedom”, which was heavily promoted by QAnon. “That’s my kids that they take. That’s your kids that they take, and I can’t have that on my conscience,” Gipson told a group of attendees. He was wearing a white t-shirt with the words “Leave Our Kids Alone”. “Anybody who comes against me with that, I’m going to come after you. So that’s your warning, and it’s never going to end.”


Although the director of Sound of Freedom denied that it was linked to QAnon, the film promotes many of the beliefs of that movement. The Washington Post reported that at a far-right event in 2021, Jim Caviezel, the star of the film, was captured on video using a slogan associated with QAnon: "The storm is upon us," which symbolizes the movement's crusade against an alleged pedophile network, as reported by The Washington Post. Additionally, CNN's April 2021 coverage highlighted Caviezel's participation in another conference where he promoted the unfounded QAnon theory that child traffickers extract adrenochrome from children's blood, falsely believing it to possess life-enhancing properties.


Patrick Gipson is a deeply religious individual whose faith in God runs as deep as his distrust of the government and mainstream institutions. Gipson believes that he was anointed to run for office. During his first run against Adam Schiff in the 30th Congressional District, his slogan, "Forged by fire & molded by God," encapsulates his belief that his experiences, both challenging and triumphant, have been orchestrated by a higher power.


While running for Congress in 2022, Gipson told Clint Milby, a podcaster and pro-gun activist who produces “Come and Take It News” that he was told to run for political office by a “prophetess” on television. Gipson said, “I was watching this channel and this lady came on and she was a prophetess, and she said, ‘There’s somebody watching this channel right now who’s deciding to get into politics, and you need confirmation. And right before I watched this episode or whatever it was, I asked for a confirmation, and the lady pretty much told me right then and there, ‘Yes, do it! You need to run.’ I was floored.”


Gipson's religious fervor is palpable in every aspect of his life. He speaks passionately about his faith, often quoting scripture and sharing anecdotes of divine intervention. His unwavering devotion to religion shapes his worldview, influencing his interactions with others and guiding his decisions.


However, alongside his religious beliefs, Gipson harbors deep-seated suspicions about the government and its motives. He believes in various conspiracy theories, particularly those related to government control and manipulation. Gipson is convinced that sinister forces are at play, orchestrating events behind the scenes to exert control over the masses.


“Three years ago, they tried to come after us and tried to take our freedoms away,” Gipson told the “Rally for Parental Rights” in September 2023, referring to government efforts to get people vaccinated against COVID-19. “You guys remember that? That didn’t work. Now they are going after our children and that won’t work either because we’re going to stop them there as well.”


One of Gipson's most fervent conspiracy beliefs revolves around vaccines, especially the COVID-19 vaccine. He adamantly opposes vaccine mandates, viewing it as a tool of government oppression rather than a measure to protect public health. He spreads his views passionately, warning others of what he perceives as the dangers posed by vaccines.


Gipson often says that he got involved with right-wing activism and politics when “the mandates” came. Los Angeles County required all law enforcement officers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, which was met with protests from a few law enforcement officers and Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Gipson was part of the lawsuit filed against Los Angeles County against the vaccine mandate for employees of Los Angeles County.


“One day it’s all normal and then it’s like masks come, and then here comes the mandate,” Gipson told a San Diego-based right-wing influencer. “If you don’t get vaccinated or whatever then you’re gonna lose your job.”


Gipson spoke about how he got involved in politics at the “Rally for Parental Rights” in September of 2023, saying, “My wife, an immigrant from Armenia whose family fled from the Soviet Union regime and corruption, she looked at me and said this is not right. This is not sounding right to me. Obviously, she's from a country where she knows what’s going to happen, it’s going to happen here as well. So we have to do something about it, and we did.”


Gipson told a San Diego-based influencer that he was a “pureblood”, a term used by anti-vaxxers, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). The term has received widespread condemnation on social media and compared to rhetoric used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.


“With the Covid shot, I’m pureblood still,” Gipson said. “I’m not tainted in that respect. Basically, to me, it’s like I didn’t need the flu shot. I had the flu shot one time in my life, and it made me sicker than a dog. And I was like I’m definitely not going for that, especially everything that we’ve learned about the mandates and the shots – the Covid shots. Why would I get a shot now? Especially people who are in it, who have been boosted beyond belief, are still getting sick. So what’s the point?”

With the Covid shot, I’m pureblood still. I’m not tainted in that respect.”

- Patrick Gipson, Republican candidate for AD40

Gipson thinks the Covid-19 vaccine is ineffective, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Gipson said, “It’s not working or maybe it’s not what they say it is. It’s not that I’m a conspiracy theorist or whatever. I’m probably one of the most, you know – they’ll call me that all day long. But a lot of these conspiracy theories have been coming true.”


“The testing and all that other stuff,” Gipson mused. “Fulgent Genetics. Basically, all those people were giving their genetics to a company and your genetics go overseas to [unintelligible] China.”


Gipson was referring to a conspiracy theory that Fulgent Genetics, a company that made Covid testing kits, was harvesting the DNA of Americans and sending it to China. Villanueva was one of the main sources of the conspiracy. In November 2021, Villanueva told the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that he would no longer use Fulgent Genetics kits for testing. He claimed that the FBI called him personally to warn him against using their testing kits. Villanueva said that the FBI told him that the company was sending genetic material to the Chinese government to help them gather intelligence on Americans. The company responded with a press release that said, “In RT-PCR testing for COVID-19, no personal DNA is isolated or sequenced. A PCR test solely detects the genetic material (RNA) of the virus within an individual - a positive test detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 within a sample. Again, the individual’s DNA is not sequenced as part of Fulgent Genetics’ COVID-19 testing. Samples are destroyed via incineration after 48 hours.”


The results of the March 2024 primary were extremely close. Pilar Schiavo received 50.24% of the total vote, while Gipson received 49.76%. They were separated by a mere 521 votes. As the November election approaches, voters will face the decision of either reelecting Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo or sending Patrick Gipson to Sacramento, known for his numerous right-wing convictions.