Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush, announced Monday he will run as a Democrat for the Senate seat formerly held by Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, The Hill reported.
"I tried to salvage the situation with the Republican Party for a long time," he told reporters when announcing his campaign, according to The Hill. "We've had for decades a departure from the fundamental values of the Republican Party and from America."
Since leaving the White House, Painter has become a mainstay on cable news, and has become known for his criticism of President Donald Trump and the GOP for supporting him. He is running against Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Al Franken, also a Democrat, who resigned amid reports of sexual misconduct. State Sen. Karin Housley, R-Minn., is seeking the GOP nomination.
Painter had previously indicated he was unsure if he would run as a Republican, Democrat or independent.
"Republicans insist that if you're going to run for political office, you have to be loyal to President Trump," Painter added. "This is wrong. This is not the America I want to live in. This is not the America I want my children to live in."
He asked the American people "stand firm against what President Trump is threatening to do to our country."
Smith has announced she intends to run to maintain the seat. The winner of the special election will serve out Franken's remaining term which ends in 2020.
Painter launched a campaign website recently that calls President Donald Trump a "threat to our Republic" and explains his concerns about money accepted by politicians, stating he "will not accept money or support from PACs, Super PACs, or dark money organizations."
Other issues of Painter's campaign platform, according to the website, include fighting government waste and tax giveaways, complaints about the recent GOP tax reform law, trade wars and support for farmers who could be harmed by tariffs Trump plans to impose.
Painter's website states he was also in favor of the Paris Climate Agreement, gun reform and health care for all and will work against harmful mining practices.
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