Harrison Deal, a young campaign staffer for Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA.), died in a car crash on Friday in South Georgia—and the 20-year-old’s death is already being politicized by conspiracy theorists online.
News of the political aide's untimely passing was shared by Loeffler in a tweet on Friday, in which she offered her condolences to Deal's family.
"It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Harrison Deal," she wrote. "My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead. Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose daughter was reportedly dating Deal, likewise released a statement on the young man's tragic death.
"Today, we lost a member of our 'Kemp Strong' family and words cannot express how much Harrison Deal's life, love, and support meant to us," the Kemp family said. "He was a person of deep faith, unmatched integrity, and incredible kindness. Harrison was the Kemp son and brother we never had."
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA.), who Deal had previously worked for as an intern, also weighed in on the incident in remarks on social media.
"Bonnie and I are devastated to learn of the passing of Harrison Deal, a young man from Bulloch County," Perdue tweeted. "Harrison interned in my Atlanta office in the summer of 2019, and was currently working as a field representative for Senator Loeffler’s campaign."
With Georgia currently at the center of President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, however, conspiracy theorists are convinced that Deal's death was no accident.
In a post on the popular subreddit r/conspiracy, one user has already compared Deal to Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was murdered during what was believed to be a botched robbery attempt in 2016. Conspiracy theorists have claimed without evidence that Rich was killed for leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks, despite all evidence showing that Russian government hackers were responsible for obtaining and leaking the emails.
The latest conspiracy alleges that Kemp helped steal the election from Trump in Georgia with the help of China and that Deal had been attempting to expose the whole thing.
The conspiracy is unsurprising given that Kemp has become an enemy of Trump supporters for accepting the reality of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The Reddit post also suggests that Deal's car may have had explosives planted inside given that the crash, which involved three vehicles in total, resulted in flames at the scene.
Conspiracy theorists have also claimed that Deal was killed for leaking a video to the Washington Post of a Zoom call between Perdue, Loefeller, and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MI.)
In the clip, the three merely discuss working with the incoming Biden administration. Despite the video being totally mundane, conspiracy theorists see it as bombshell proof that Perdue is a traitor for refusing to go along with the false notion that widespread voter fraud took place.
In reality, no evidence whatsoever indicates that Deal had anything to do with the video appearing in the Washington Post. But conspiracy theorists can't even agree on what video Deal is allegedly tied to.
Others have claimed that Deal is responsible for leaking a clip showing election workers bringing "suitcases" of illegal ballots out from under a table.
The incident, dubbed a "bank heist" by Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was highlighted by the president's supporters as the ultimate proof of voter fraud.
As usual, conspiracy theorists got nearly every detail about the video wrong. The "suitcases" were actually sealed ballot containers that had been checked into the room and accounted for earlier in the day.
Even though investigators in Georgia quickly debunked the conspiracy, Trump supporters are still convinced that it is a smoking gun.
But the vast conspiracy alleging that Deal was murdered will only continue to grow. Now that the seeds have been planted, conspiracy theorists will bend, contort, and misinterpret any and all aspects of Deal's life to fit their narrative.