The Democratic congressional candidate running against QAnon-supporting Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia announced on Friday he was dropping out of the race.
The surprise announcement by Kevin Van Ausdal appears to guarantee Greene, who has a history of racist comments and promoting conspiracy theories, will be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
Greene declared victory in the race on Twitter after Van Ausdal's announcement.
"As the Congresswoman from NW Georgia, I look forward to fighting for our Christian, American values and helping @realDonaldTrump pass an #AmericaFirst agenda! No one will fight harder against the radical, Socialist Democrats than me," Greene wrote in a pair of tweets.
"Now let's all work together to re-elect @realDonaldTrump, hold the U.S. Senate, repeal Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, and help GA Republicans win! SAVE AMERICA. STOP SOCIALISM. DEFEAT THE DEMOCRATS!" she tweeted.
Van Ausdal, who'd been considered a longshot to win the race in Georgia's solidly-Republican 14th District, said in a statement that "I am heartbroken to announce for personal and family reasons, I cannot continue this race for Congress." He said he was stepping aside now to give the party "a chance to put forward a candidate that can carry this fight through to the end."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that local activists were putting together a list of potential replacement candidates that included defense lawyer Bobby Lee Cook, a model for the long-running Andy Griffith series television series “Matlock.”
Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs, however, said the window had already closed on the time for Democrats to replace Van Ausdal.
Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican running for the Senate in Georgia, tweeted after Van Ausdal's announcement “Congratulations to Georgia’s new Congresswoman.”
Greene was given the cold shoulder by some Republicans after videos of her making anti-Semitic and racist remarks were revealed in June, but she was embraced by the White House after she defeated Republican John Cowan in a runoff election last month. She was invited to attend President Donald Trump's speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, and Trump has tweeted in support of her campaign.
Greene has been an outspoken supporter of QAnon, a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that holds Trump is waging a secret war against pedophiles in Congress, Hollywood, and the media who've been covertly running the United States government for decades.
In a 2017 YouTube video, Greene said "Q is a patriot. He is someone that very much loves his country and is on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump. He appears to have connections at the highest levels."
In other videos, Greene has alleged an “Islamic invasion” of government offices, claimed Black and Hispanic men are held back by “gangs and dealing drugs,” and pushed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, collaborated with the Nazis.
Most recently, Greene has said mask requirements aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus in schools emasculate boys and posted a photo montage on Facebook showing her posing with a rifle next to three progressive Democratic congresswomen.
After she won her primary runoff, Trump tweeted that Greene is a "future Republican Star." "Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up - a real WINNER!" Trump tweeted.