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

Former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Trump rails against Fox News for planning interviews with Schiff, Comey How to shut down fake Republican outrage over 'spying' on Trump MORE on Tuesday launched a campaign to run for the House seat vacated Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillGOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi announces Porter, Haaland will sit on Oversight panel Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders's decision to revoke Young Turks founder's endorsement 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 RohrabacherThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade George Papadopoulos launches campaign to run for Katie Hill's congressional seat The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa 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 MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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 ClintonNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Alan Dershowitz: Argument president cannot be impeached for abusing power a 'strong one' MORE won the district by more than 6 percentage points in the 2016 election, and Hill defeated former GOP Rep. Steve KnightStephen (Steve) Thomas KnightPelosi endorses Christy Smith in bid to replace Katie Hill Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat Democrat seeking Katie Hill's former seat nabs endorsement from firefighters association 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 EmmerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House GOP campaign chief: Members 'need to get their act together and raise more money' House GOP campaign arm faces ethics complaint over 'trackers' in Capitol buildings 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 NewsomAnti-vaccine protester charged after allegedly throwing menstrual blood at California lawmakers California could become next no-kill state as governor puts budget funds toward ending euthanizing California governor proposes 2 billion budget 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.