California state lawmaker Christy Smith launches bid for Katie Hill's seat

California state lawmaker Christy Smith launches bid for Katie Hill's seat
© Greg Nash

A Democrat in the California State Assembly launched her bid Monday for the House seat Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillKamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill Katie Hill writes to former House colleagues about Calif. shooting: 'Speak up for our community' MORE (D-Calif.) is vacating amid allegations that the first-term congresswoman engaged in improper relationships with a campaign staffer and a legislative aide. 

Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who entered the race just one day after Hill announced her resignation, said she’d been considering the run for days. 

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“After much encouragement from community members, neighborhood leaders, activists, parents, veterans and working people across this district, over the last several days, it’s been made clear to me that the people of the 25th Congressional District want and need a new voice to fight for them in Washington,” Smith said in a statement. 

Hill, who flipped a seat from Republican Rep. Steve KnightStephen (Steve) Thomas KnightKamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat California governor sets special election to replace Katie Hill George Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat MORE in 2018, had already drawn several Republican challengers in the 2020 election. 

Smith appears to be the first Democrat to formally enter the race. 

“I would like to commend Congresswoman Katie Hill for her service on behalf of the 25th District as well as her willingness to put country first by stepping down from office,” Smith said. 

Smith also said she is the “fighter” the district needs.

She lists safer communities, education, gun reform and the environment as key issues in a campaign ad released on Monday.

Smith was first elected to the State Assembly in 2018, winning by more than 5,000 votes. She flipped a seat held by Republicans since 1978 and raised more than $2 million in the state election, according to her campaign. 

Hill resigned Sunday after an ethics probe was launched into allegations that she had improper sexual relationships with the congressional staffer and campaign aide. 

Hill, who identifies as bisexual, admitted to a consensual, sexual relationship she and her husband, whom she is divorcing, had with a woman on her campaign staff. 

However, Hill denies having a sexual relationship with a staffer in her office, which would be in violation of House rules. 

Hill blamed the allegations, which were first reported in the conservative news site RedState, on her “abusive husband.”

RedState and The Daily Mail, which posted a similar story days later, published nude photos of Hill. Her lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to The Daily Mail over the photos, which were published without the congresswoman's consent.

--This report was updated at 2:28 p.m.