GOP’s Vince Fong trounces opponent in special election for House seat vacated by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Earlier this week, two Republicans faced off in a special election for the U.S. House seat vacated by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and the winner left his opponent in the dust.

On Tuesday night, California Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) was declared the winner of the special election for the 20th Congressional District seat formerly occupied by McCarthy. Fong soundly defeated Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux — a fellow Republican — by a 60.3% to 39.7% margin, the New York Post reported.

The 20th Congressional District has been called the most conservative in California since registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats there 47% to 27%.

Fong, 44, spent a decade working as McCarthy’s district director before getting elected to the state Assembly, and McCarthy endorsed him in the race. Fong also received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, who called Fong a “true Republican.”

“I am filled with humility and gratitude tonight,” Fong said in a statement.

“With the campaign over, the real work now begins,” his statement continued. “In Congress, I will remain focused on solving the tough issues facing our community – securing the border, supporting small business, bringing investment in water storage and infrastructure, unleashing our energy industry, and keeping the United States safe amidst the grave security threats facing our nation.”

Fong said he will continue working on state business before transitioning to Washington, so it is unclear when he will officially be sworn in. Once he is, he will serve in Congress — fortifying Republicans’ razor-thin majority — until at least January.

Sheriff Boudreaux, 57, who enjoyed endorsements from Trump’s acting director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, and GOP state Sen. Shannon Grove, is slated to compete against Fong for the congressional seat once again in November. However, now that the special election race is over, he seems focused on the job of fighting crime.

“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,” he said. “I look forward to providing updates on this effort in the coming weeks.”

It’s hardly surprising that two Republicans ended up contending for the seat once occupied by McCarthy. The 20th Congressional District has been called the most conservative in California since registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats there 47% to 27%.

Rep. McCarthy, 59, was first elected to the seat in 2007. He was then elected speaker in January 2023. However, just 10 months later, he became the first speaker in U.S. history to be ousted from the role after fellow House Republicans became frustrated with his leadership. He then resigned from the House altogether in December.

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