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

Former Trump campaign aide George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosTrump supporters show up to DC for election protest Trump pardons draw criticism for benefiting political allies Klobuchar: Trump 'trying to burn this country down on his way out' MORE on Tuesday launched a campaign to run for the House seat vacated Rep. Katie HillKatherine (Katie) Lauren HillObamas to attend Biden inauguration Trump pardons George Papadopoulos in latest batch of pardons Former Rep. Katie Hill files lawsuit against ex-husband, Daily Mail over nude photos 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 RohrabacherOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success GOP's Steel wins California House race after Democrat Rouda concedes 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) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened 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 ClintonGraham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Jill Biden redefines role of first lady 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 Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The American Investment Council - Pelosi touts T bill as Fauci stresses go-slow openings The Hill's Campaign Report: A Los Angeles House seat is in play for Republicans Democrats on edge over California special election nail-biter 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 Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Rick Scott caught in middle of opposing GOP factions House GOP campaign chief: Not helpful for Trump to meddle in primaries 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 NewsomLeaders of Newsom recall effort say they have enough signatures White House says Shalanda Young could serve as acting OMB director California to set aside 40 percent of vaccine doses for areas most at risk 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.