George Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat

Former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosComey in op-ed after IG report: 'Barr needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson' Comey says 'Fox & Friends' canceled booking after release of watchdog report on Trump probe Horowitz report is damning for the FBI and unsettling for the rest of us MORE on Tuesday launched a campaign to run for the House seat vacated Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillKatie Hill pens op-ed about Congress resignation, toxic marriage, mental health and resilience Young Turks founder: Past remarks on women were attempt 'to be a stupid, politically incorrect Republican' Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.). 

Papadopoulos filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission declaring the beginning of his campaign.

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The former Trump associate floated his campaign launch online, saying he would make an announcement "soon on my interest in Katie Hill’s soon to be vacant seat in the 25th district!"

“I’m smelling blood in the water now that Katie Hill has resigned. California’s 25th congressional district is wide open for the taking. Someone has to step up. I love my state too much to see it run down by candidates like Hill. All talk, no action, and a bunch of sell outs,” he said Sunday.

Hill, who won her first term in Congress last year by flipping a GOP-held seat, announced her resignation Sunday over allegations she had inappropriate sexual relationships with congressional and campaign staffers.

"It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress," Hill said in a statement. "This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country."

The announcement came days after the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into allegations that Hill, 32, had violated House rules by engaging in a sexual relationship with a staffer in her office.

Hill has denied that allegation, though she admitted she had engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with a campaign staffer before she was elected to Congress. House rules bar sexual relationships with office staff, but the prohibition does not extend to campaign aides. 

Papadopoulos has hinted for months that he intends to run for a House seat, saying in December, “I do want to run for Congress. I’m planning to run for Congress in 2020.” He had previously mulled running in California's 48th Congressional District, where Republican Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherGeorge Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz MORE was unseated in 2018.

However, he will have to face questions about his activities during his time with the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos was ensnared in former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s investigation into Russia's election meddling in 2016 and pleaded guilty in October of 2017 of lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia-linked officials during the campaign. He later served 12 days in prison.

Papadopoulos will also face political headwinds to try to flip Hill’s seat — California’s 25th Congressional District, which includes parts of northern Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County, has trended bluer in recent cycles. 

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFBI head rejects claims of Ukrainian 2016 interference Comey in op-ed after IG report: 'Barr needs to stop acting like a Trump spokesperson' Trump tops list of most tweeted about politicians in 2019 MORE won the district by more than 6 percentage points in the 2016 election, and Hill defeated former GOP Rep. Steve KnightStephen (Steve) Thomas KnightFeinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat Democrat seeking Katie Hill's former seat nabs endorsement from firefighters association Kamala Harris endorses Christy Smith in bid to fill Katie Hill's seat MORE by nearly 9 percentage points in the 2018 Democratic wave election.

However, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) expressed confidence that the party’s ultimate nominee could put the seat back in the GOP’s hands. 

“California voters are completely disgusted at what they’ve seen from the socialist Democrats these past ten months,” NRCC Chairman Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerDemocrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test Republicans disavow GOP candidate who said 'we should hang' Omar George Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat MORE (Minn.) said. “We look forward to winning back this seat and giving voters in CA-25 someone they can be proud to support.”

Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomPG&E announces .5B settlement for Northern California wildfires Newsom jokes after Harris drops 2020 bid ahead of his Iowa campaign events for her: 'I want a reimbursement!' Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.) has yet to announce a timeline for the special election to replace Hill. California rules call for an election to be held at least 126 days, but not more than 140 days, following the governor's announcement.