Vince Fong advances in special election runoff to replace ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Californians voted to advance Republican State Assemblyman Vince Fong during Tuesday’s special election to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted last year.

Fong, a former McCarthy aide endorsed by both McCarthy and former President Trump, faced off with Republican Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux at the polls on Tuesday. 

Because both candidates are Republicans, the GOP will hold 218 seats, compared to the Democrats’ 213, factoring in four vacancies. In California’s jungle primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Fong, who also earned the most votes in March’s primary election, will serve out the rest of McCarthy’s term until he battles against Boudreaux again in November in the general election.

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Fong and Boudreaux advanced to Tuesday’s runoff following a March special election where they emerged as the top two candidates, with neither getting more than 50% of the vote to trigger a victor. By November, voters in the district will have voted for either candidate a total of three times.

McCarthy resigned from the House in December, three months after he was voted out of the speakership. 

The district, which cuts through the Central Valley farm belt, including parts of Bakersfield and Fresno, is the most strongly Republican House seat in heavily Democratic California. Trump largely carried CA-20 in 2020 and McCarthy represented the district from 2007 until his resignation in late 2023. In February, Trump called Fong “a true Republican.”

Among Boudreaux’s supporters are Ric Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence under Trump, and Republican state Sen. Shannon Grove, from Fong’s hometown of Bakersfield.

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Trump’s involvement in the race casts it as a litmus test for the former president’s political relevance as he presumably gears up for a potential rematch against President Biden in November.

“I am proud to join California’s Republican Congressional Delegation, and give Vince Fong my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. “Vince was one of only 6 Republicans in the State Assembly to stand with me, and reject the Second Impeachment Hoax. In Congress, Vince will work with me to Grow the Economy, Lower your Taxes, Cut Burdensome Regulations, Champion American Energy, and Protect and Defend the Second Amendment, which is under siege by the Radical Left.”

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In October, the House of Representatives voted to oust McCarthy, the first time in history the top leader of the lower chamber was booted from the job. 

Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace contributed to this report. 

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