Former McCarthy Protegé Ruled Ineligible for Congressional Bid


The California Secretary of State’s office said Friday afternoon that California Sen. Vince Fong’s last-minute bid to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy is against state law. This ended the Bakersfield Republican’s congressional bid in an instant. Fong said he would go to court to stay on the ticket.

As soon as Fong filed to run for office on Monday, there were questions about whether he was allowed to. This was because there were so many candidates to choose from after the former speaker announced his resignation from Congress. McCarthy set off a chaotic domino effect when he announced his departure so close to the filing deadline. This could leave him without a well-positioned chosen successor.

McCarthy used to be Fong’s district director. At first, Fong said he wouldn’t run to replace McCarthy because he wanted to keep his seat in the state Assembly. He changed his mind after state senator Shannon Grove, who was thought to be the front-runner, made her surprise decision to drop out of the race.

But Fong had already met the requirements to run for Assembly, and after last Friday’s filing deadline, state law says a candidate can’t drop out. He chose to go ahead with his plans anyway and filed to run for office with Kern County election officials. McCarthy quickly backed him up. David Giglio, a far-right conservative candidate, said he would sue Fong if he stayed on the ticket.

A lot of people wanted to run for the open spot in a deep red area of the Central Valley. Tulare County Sheriff Michael Boudreaux and Fresno casino magnate Kyle Kirkland were among them.

After not knowing for a week, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber’s office revealed that Fong couldn’t run for Congress because of election laws in the state.

The office of the Secretary of State said in a statement that Mr. Fong’s nomination papers for Congressional District 20 were sent in the wrong way. Our office will send a list of approved candidates for Congressional District 20 to county election officials on December 28. Mr. Fong will not be on that list.

That’s not going to happen, Fong said, and his team called Weber’s move “an unprecedented interference in the candidate filing process.” The campaign said it would go to court to fight the ruling.

The people who live in the 20th Congressional District have the right to pick the person they want to serve them in Congress, Fong said in a statement. “I will fight the Secretary of State’s bad decision and do whatever it takes to give voters in our community a real choice in this election. Voters, not Sacramento, choose our leaders.”

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