Vince Fong Wins California Special Election to Complete Former Speaker McCarthy’s Term

Vince Fong Wins California Special Election to Complete Former Speaker McCarthy’s Term

California State Assemblyman Vince Fong asks questions during a meeting in Sacramento, Calif., on Jan. 23, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

Caden Pearson

Caden Pearson

5/22/2024

Updated: 5/22/2024

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California Assemblymember Vince Fong won a special election on Tuesday to replace ousted former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) until the end of his term next January.
The Associated Press announced the result on Tuesday night. Mr. Fong, a protege of Mr. McCarthy, beat out Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux in the special runoff election to fill the seat.
“With the campaign over, the real work now begins,” Mr. Fong said in a statement. He added that he will focus on border security, supporting small businesses, investments in water storage and infrastructure critical for agriculture, “unleashing our energy industry,” and national security.
The runoff came after both Republicans emerged as the top two contenders in a March 19 special election in which neither won more than 50 percent of the vote. Mr. Fong received 42 percent of the vote, and Mr. Boudreaux received 26 percent.
Mr. Fong, who had the backing of former President Donald Trump and Mr. McCarthy, will now serve out the remainder of Mr. McCarthy’s term.
After being sworn in, Mr. Fong will increase the slim majority that Republicans currently hold in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The timing of his swearing-in is not immediately clear, as the decision is up to the current House Speaker Mike Johnson.
Currently, the House GOP can only afford to lose one vote on any bill if Democrats vote along party lines. Republicans currently hold only 11 of California’s 52 seats in the House. With the district once held by Mr. McCarthy remaining in GOP hands, it will give Republicans 12 seats in the state delegation and boost the party’s fragile edge in Congress by a single vote.
Mr. Fong and Mr. Boudreaux faced off on two ballots held in March, one to replace Mr. McCarthy for the remainder of his term and the other to win his seat in the general election. The May ballot was a runoff after neither candidate secured the votes needed at the March 19 election.
They will compete against each other again in the fall for a full term in California’s 20th Congressional District.
After his defeat, Mr. Boudreaux said that he called Mr. Fong to congratulate him on his victory and indicated that his focus is now on November. He also thanked his supporters and sponsors.
“California faces a crime crisis unlike any other in its history. That’s why I will be stepping up the fight for a safer Valley and safer California,” Mr. Boudreaux said in a statement to media outlets.
Mr. Boudreaux, who worked with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for nearly 40 years and has served as sheriff since 2013, was endorsed by former Trump administration U.S. Ambassador and acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence Kash Patel, and Republican state Sen. Shannon Grove of Bakersfield.
He said a decision on his approach to the general election would come in the next few days, according to local media reports.
The Epoch Times contacted Mr. Baudreaux for further comment.
Mail-in voting for the special May election started last month. The 20th Congressional District of California, covering parts of Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, allowed eligible voters to either mail in their ballots with a postmark of May 21 or vote in person.
On the day of the election, polling stations were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with several ballot boxes distributed across the area.
The district stands out as one of the few Republican strongholds in the state, having consistently elected GOP candidates since 2003. About 47 percent of the voters are registered Republicans, compared to 27 percent registered as Democrats.
President Trump endorsed Mr. Fong in March, writing on Truth Social that he was “proud” to support him and that they would work together on the economy, taxes, excessive regulations, energy, and gun rights.
Mr. Fong overcame legal challenges from California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a Democrat, who tried to disqualify him from running for state and federal offices at the same time. However, multiple courts allowed Mr. Fong to continue his congressional campaign.
Mr. McCarthy’s seat became vacant after the former House speaker announced his departure from Congress last year, following his historic ousting from the speakership.
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Caden Pearson

Caden Pearson

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Caden Pearson is a reporter covering U.S. and world news.

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