Trump Endorses McCarthy’s Pick to Fill His Former Seat

A recent superior court ruling allows the California state lawmaker to simultaneously run for Congress and for reelection to his current seat.
Trump Endorses McCarthy’s Pick to Fill His Former Seat
California 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)
Jackson Richman

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed California Assemblyman Vince Fong to succeed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Mr. McCarthy has endorsed Mr. Fong, a Republican who was district director for Mr. McCarthy.

“State Assemblyman Vince Fong is running in the Primary and Special Election for California’s 20th Congressional District,” wrote President Trump on his social media site, Truth Social, on Feb. 20.

“Vince was one of only 6 Republicans in the State Assembly to stand with me, and reject the Second Impeachment Hoax,” he continued, referring to President Trump being impeached in January 2021 for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“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,” stated President Trump.

The former president went on to note: “There are 11 candidates running in this ‘Jungle Primary’ (including a wonderful man who recently withdrew), but now is the time to unite around Vince Fong and elect a true Republican to this seat. I am proud to join California’s Republican Congressional Delegation, and give Vince Fong my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Mr. Fong thanked President Trump for the endorsement.

“Thank you @realDonaldTrump for your endorsement! Let’s get to work to secure the border, improve our economy, and defend our water and energy resources!” posted Mr. Fong on X, formerly Twitter.

Mr. McCarthy left the House on Dec. 31, a couple months after being ousted as speaker of the House. Mr. McCarthy has represented California’s 20th Congressional District since 2007.

In December, Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang paved the way for Mr. Fong to run for his former boss’s seat.

The ruling allows Mr. Fong to simultaneously run for Congress and for reelection to his seat in the California Assembly.

A statute argued by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber “is inapplicable to Fong and cannot be used as a reason to preclude him” from running for Congress. However, Judge Chang acknowledged this “may result in voter confusion and the disenfranchisement of voters if Fong is ultimately elected for both offices but does not retain one.”

“Moreover, it somewhat defies common sense to find the law permits a candidate to run for two offices during the same election.”

Mr. Fong applauded the ruling.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of the 20th Congressional District, who will now have the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice in the March 5th election,” he said in a statement. “I am grateful that Judge Chang upheld the integrity of our elections and sided with Central Valley voters against an overreaching Sacramento politician.”

Mr. Fong filed to run for his state Assembly seat, assuming a formidable candidate, state Sen. Shannon Grove, would run to succeed Mr. McCarthy, who is retiring after a tumultuous year that saw his speakership, which he won after 15 balloting rounds, end after nine months. Ms. Grove passed on a run, prompting Mr. Fong to run but not before the deadline to drop his reelection campaign to his state Assembly.

The GOP primary for the special election will be on March 19, while the special general election will be on May 21. The seat is safely Republican.

In addition to Mr. Fong, other GOP candidates in the special election include Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, casino owner Kyle Kirkland, and Anna Zoë Cohen.

The election to succeed Mr. McCarthy will come as the GOP looks to have a bit of breathing room in its narrow House majority after losing a key New York congressional seat to the Democrats. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), who served in Congress between 2017 and 2023 before unsuccessfully running for New York governor, will succeed disgraced former Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who was expelled in December following a damning House Ethics Committee report.

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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