Republican raises $80k to challenge California congressman, then decides to run in Texas

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Jon Hollis changed his Federal Election Commission registration from California's 28th District to Texas's 32nd.

A Republican who raised tens of thousands of dollars to run against House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff in California has switched races and will now challenge first-term Texas Democratic Rep. Colin Allred.

In a move first noticed by Politics1, Jon Hollis on Sunday filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission stating he is a Republican candidate in the Texas 32nd Congressional District for the 2020 elections. Hollis' filing lists as campaign treasurer Thomas Datwyler, who is also treasurer for former Donald Trump 2016 adviser George Papadopoulos and who held the same role for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in 2016.

Schiff, a Democrat, has drawn the ire of Trump and his defenders as leader of the impeachment inquiry and has proved an attractive target for Republican donors. According to his most recent quarterly disclosure, Hollis raised $79,938.96 as of Sept. 30, 2019; more than $66,000 of that came from donors giving $200 or less.

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But for the past four-and-a-half months, Hollis was raising money as a candidate in California's 28th Congressional District.

Hollis' campaign message was clearly centered around his opposition to Schiff. "Fed up with Adam Schiff's theatrical investigation?" he asked potential backers on his now-offline website. In one fundraising pitch, he wrote, "Adam Schiff is currently one of the greatest threats to our country. My district is literally falling apart while he’s busy trying to rip our republic to pieces over a personal vendetta against our President. Help me defeat Adam Schiff, end the Democrats’ witch hunt and make California gold again!" Just last month, Hollis filed an ethics complaint against Schiff.

Jon Hollis 2020 website (cached)
Hollis campaign website cache screenshot

While campaign finance laws allow federal candidates to change federal races and bring along their campaign war chest, it is unusual for a candidate to move to an entirely different state.

Hollis did not immediately respond to an email asking about this apparent bait-and-switch and whether he planned to return the money he raised purporting to be a California candidate. Reached by phone, Hollis said he was "right in the middle of a meeting" and promised to call back.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.