George Papadapoulos, the former Trump campaign aide who played a key role in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign for alleged collusion with Russia—allegations which were disproven by the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller—has launched a campaign for the congressional seat set to be vacated by Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.).
Hill announced her resignation on Oct. 27 after admitting to having an affair with a campaign aide, who she later paid as a consultant, and amid accusations she had another affair with a congressional aide, which is against House rules. The resignation was announced just days after the House Ethics Committee opened a probe into the allegations.
Papadopolous, 32, filed paperwork on Oct. 29 to run as a Republican for the seat, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Papadopolous told supporters late on Tuesday: “Announcement soon on my interest in Katie Hill’s soon to be vacant seat in the 25th district!”
After Hill’s announcement, he said he was “smelling blood in the water.”
“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 on Twitter.
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.
Papadopoulos had suggested for months that he wanted to run for a congressional position, saying late last year: “I do want to run for Congress. I’m planning to run for Congress in 2020.”
The race to win Hill’s seat, which she flipped from Republican to Democrat, could include former Rep. Steve Knight, who said he was considering a run.
Lancaster City Council member Angela Underwood Jacobs and former Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia, both Republicans, have already announced campaigns for the seat, as well as Democratic state Assemblywoman Christy Smith.
The district went for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by over 6 percent in the 2016 presidential election in addition to going for Hill in 2018. But the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said the Republican nominee can win.
“California voters are completely disgusted at what they’ve seen from the socialist Democrats these past ten months,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said in a statement. “We look forward to winning back this seat and giving voters in CA-25 someone they can be proud to support.”
Hill has not yet announced when she’ll resign. When she does, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has 14 days to set the date for a special election, which must take place between 126 days and 140 days from when he announces the date. However, if the special general election can be placed on the same day as an already scheduled election, the end of the window can be extended from 140 days to 180 days, according to California Target Book research director Rob Pyers.
He said Newsom could end up scheduling the special election for March 3, alongside the statewide presidential primary election.