Republican Vince Fong Leads in Race to Fill McCarthy’s Unfinished Term

Republican Vince Fong Leads in Race to Fill McCarthy’s Unfinished Term

California State Assemblyman Vince Fong, vice chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, asks questions during a meeting in Sacramento, Calif., on Jan. 23, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

3/20/2024

Updated: 3/20/2024

Republican California state Assemblyman Vince Fong prevailed in the March 19 special election to fill former Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s unfinished term, which runs through January 2025.
Early election results show the Bakersfield lawmaker winning 40.5 percent vote, followed by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux—also a Republican—at 26.3 percent and Democrat candidate Marisa Wood, at 23.3 percent. Nine candidates vied for the 20th Congressional District seat—which covers the Central Valley including parts of Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties. 
Since no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will go head-to-head on May 21.
County officials estimated costs of between $150,000 and $300,000 each for the special election, with more funds required for a mandated run-off. 
Having served for nearly two decades, Mr. McCarthy resigned from the seat after being ousted by colleagues from his role of speaker last year. He became the first speaker to be voted out of office in U.S. history.
Mr. Fong and Mr. Boudreaux also lead the field in the typically conservative district in the March 5 race for the seat’s full term starting January 2025. The pair finished first and second, respectively, and will face off in November.
Mr. Fong, who worked for Mr. McCarthy as district director for nearly a decade, was endorsed by the former congressman when he announced his bid last December and by former President Donald Trump in February.
“Now is the time to unite around Vince Fong and elect a true Republican to this seat,” President Trump wrote on his Truth Social account in February.
Mr. Fong’s path to the election was initially filled with legal hurdles after Secretary of State Shirley Weber rejected his application because he was already registered to run for reelection to the state Assembly. A Superior Court judge ruled in Mr. Fong’s favor in January and allowed his name on the ballot, though Ms. Weber is challenging the court’s finding.
The Tulare County sheriff was endorsed by several current and former state representatives, including state Sen. Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, regional Republican groups, such as the California Republican Assembly, and some members of President Trump’s Cabinet, including former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Kash Patel.
Mail-in ballots will be counted in the coming days, with official results expected in the next month.
Jill McLaughlin contributed to this report.
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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