McCarthy’s Ex-Staffer Competes to Succeed Him in California Election


The House seat once held by Kevin McCarthy is set to receive a successor, and the former speaker is exerting influence to shape his legacy’s continuation.

The special election runoff on Tuesday evening will see Vince Fong, a former McCarthy staffer, facing Tulare Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, who aims to challenge the Republican establishment. The winner will gain an edge in November when the seat is up for a full two-year term.

Once the special election winner is sworn into Congress, California’s 20th Congressional District will have a representative for the first time in nearly five months. This addition will provide reinforcement to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), who is managing a historically slim majority alongside hard-line conservatives unafraid to challenge GOP leadership.

Whether Fong or Boudreaux wins, the Republican majority will shift to 218-213, giving Johnson more flexibility by increasing his one-vote majority to two.

Fong is the favorite after receiving 42.3% of the vote in March’s special election, leading to a runoff since no candidate secured over 50%. Boudreaux received 25.8%.

McCarthy has significantly supported Fong’s campaign, attending fundraising events and securing an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. A political action committee linked to McCarthy has also directed $450,000 to a pro-Fong super PAC to bolster his candidacy and target Boudreaux in the March primaries.

Although McCarthy left office in December 2023, he continues to maintain a high profile in Washington politics. Previously a prolific fundraiser for the Republican Party, he now focuses on boosting candidates and seeking retribution against the hard-line conservatives who played a role in his ouster.

The replacement of McCarthy impacts the House as it addresses several other vacancies announced recently. These include the seats vacated by Republican Reps. Bill Johnson, Mike Gallagher, and Ken Buck, all of whom resigned before their terms ended. Additionally, there is the seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Donald Payne, who passed away late last month.

These races are viewed as non-competitive and will boost the Republican majority once filled. In the meantime, Johnson faces resistance from some hard-line members, including a recent failed ouster attempt by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Cami Mondeaux
Cami Mondeaux
Congressional Reporter. A Utah native, Cami graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2021 and covered state government as a breaking news reporter for KSL News Radio.

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