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Republican Vince Fong is in the runoff to finish McCarthy's term


Republican state legislator Vince Fong advanced the California election in May to determine the successor to deposed former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy for the remaining January term.


The candidate who will challenge Fong in the May 21 special election in the 20th District remains to be determined as of Tuesday night amidst a congested field of contenders.


Fong, a former adviser to McCarthy who also has his support, and Mike Boudreaux, the sheriff of Tulare County and another Republican, were among a group of candidates vying for the speaker's resignation-vacant office in the firmly conservative District last year.


Fong is a member of the California Assembly who received the support of former President Donald Trump. The seat was not in doubt for the Republicans on Tuesday, and the party's precarious majority in the chamber was not in jeopardy.


The congressional District in question, encompassing portions of Bakersfield and Fresno and traversing the Central Valley agricultural region, is the most firmly Republican in the predominantly Democratic state of California.


Preliminary results indicated that Fong, Boudreaux, and Democrat Marisa Wood edged ahead of the field as the ballots closed at 8:00 p.m.


The election will be viewed as a possible proxy referendum on the former president's influence as he approaches an almost inevitable rematch with President Joe Biden in November due to his involvement.


McCarthy is the only speaker in House history to have been voted out of office. As a result, the campaign to succeed him has been messy, marked by ongoing litigation and exposed rivalries within the GOP.


McCarthy previously held one of the state's 52 House seats, presently unoccupied by the Republican Party.


Many voters were likely to be perplexed and turn out in small numbers for the election, as some of the same candidates appeared on the March 5 primary ballot for the complete term of the 20th Congressional District, which commences in January. In that contest, Fong and Boudreaux have advanced to the November election.


The special election pertains exclusively to the duration of McCarthy's term, which concludes in early December next year. Without a candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote, an election would be held on May 21 to match the top two finalists.


It seemed improbable that any candidate would surpass the nine names on the ballot and win the entire seat.


In February, Trump endorsed Fong, describing him as "a true Republican." Ric Grenell, a former acting director of national intelligence during the Trump administration, and Shannon Grove, a Republican senator from Bakersfield, Fong's home state, are among Boudreaux's supporters.


Fong and Boudreaux are conservatives who support Trump and negotiate a substantial portion of the same policy terrain.


However, the election also contains an element of insider-versus-outsider status: Fong was personally selected by McCarthy as the result of his political operation, whereas the sheriff was not.


Legislator Fong, who emerged from McCarthy's orbit, asserts that he provides "proven, trustworthy leadership." He maintained the lead in fundraising efforts. Boudreaux, the son of a detective, emphasizes his decades of experience in law enforcement and claims to have "the knowledge to keep us safe."


The nation's border crisis ranked as the primary concern throughout the race.


Fong is headquartered in the District's most populous swath, Kern County, whereas Boudreaux is well-known in Tulare and Kings Counties. According to incomplete results, the election could be decided in Fresno County, where the two were narrowly divided in the March 5 p. 

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