George Papadopoulos, who went to jail on charges related to his work for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, said Monday that he is running for the House seat vacated by Democrat Katie Hill, who resigned less than a year into her freshman term amid a sex scandal.
Papadopoulos went to jail for 12 days late last year after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI during special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.
"It's a district which the Republicans held for 26 years up until recently, when Katie Hill, the now-disgraced congresswoman recently resigned due to her unethical behavior both in the halls of Congress and in the district that she represented," he said, making the announcement on the Fox News program "Fox & Friends." Trump is known to be a fervent viewer of "Fox & Friends."
The Trump administration did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment asking if the president would endorse Papadopoulos.
In a Nov. 13 email asking supporters to donate to his then-potential campaign, Papadopoulos said he "bore the brunt of the Deep State's attack on our president during and after he won election in 2016. The political establishment did everything they could to railroad me and take out President Trump."
The former Trump aide has been teasing an announcement for a month and had filed paperwork on Oct. 29 with the Federal Election Commission indicating he would run.
Papadopoulos will run as a Republican in the district, California's 25th. It had been in GOP hands for 26 years before Hill flipped the seat in the 2018 midterm elections as part of the blue wave that propelled Democrats to a House majority.
Hill announced her resignation on Oct. 27 amid an ethics probe into an alleged relationship with a congressional staffer. She admitted to a relationship with a female campaign staffer but denied having a relationship with a male congressional staffer, which would be against House rules.
As the Dec. 6 filing deadline for the seat approaches, Papadopoulos will have company on the campaign trail.
Steve Knight, a former two-term representative who held the seat until Hill won in the 2018 midterms, said he will run. On the Democratic side, four candidates have filed to run, including commentator Cenk Uygur of the ultra-progressive "Young Turks" program.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the special election primary will be March 3.