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

Former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosFree Roger Stone A tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE on Tuesday launched a campaign to run for the House seat vacated Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillGaetz accuses Burr of 'screwing all Americans' with stock sale Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate This week: House eyes vote on emergency coronavirus funding 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 RohrabacherDemocrat Harley Rouda advances in California House primary Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report Rohrabacher tells Yahoo he discussed pardon with Assange for proof Russia didn't hack DNC email 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 ClintonBiden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll With VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Hillary Clinton on US leading in coronavirus cases: Trump 'did promise "America First"' MORE won the district by more than 6 percentage points in the 2016 election, and Hill defeated former GOP Rep. Steve KnightStephen (Steve) Thomas KnightThe 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday Katie Hill launches organization to elect women, young people California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House 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 EmmerHouse Democratic campaign arm outraises GOP counterpart in February How campaigns are adapting to coronavirus Dems unlikely to subpoena Bolton 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 NewsomGun sellers listed as 'critical' infrastructure California governor: 170 ventilators sent from Trump administration were 'not working' Texas AG says gun stores are essential, should remain open amid pandemic 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.