AUSTIN, Texas — An assistant attorney general in Texas who ran for Congress this year has lost his job after reports surfaced of him describing Black Lives Matter protesters as terrorists and promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory on Twitter.

Nick Moutos, who finished third in a Republican primary election for a congressional seat in Austin, says on his campaign website that he began working in the criminal prosecution division of the Texas attorney general's office in 2017. On Thursday, the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America highlighted posts that included Moutos using the hashtags "PlentyofAmmo" and "OpenSeasonOnTerrorists" while expressing support for a white St. Louis couple charged for waving guns d uring a racial injustice protest outside their home.

Kayleigh Date, an agency spokeswoman, confirmed that Moutos no longer worked for the agency as of Thursday. She did not comment further.

Moutos tweeted Thursday that "stories slamming me & others" were "enough to cost me my job." He also defended the QAnon conspiracy theory, which centers on the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the "deep state" and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals. He did not immediately return an email message Friday.

Media Matters has previously identified dozens of congressional candidates running in the 2020 election cycle who have endorsed or promoted QAnon.