Kevin McCarthy’s Seat Will Be Filled by a Onetime Aide

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Vince Fong, a Republican state assemblyman in California, won a special election on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, to finish the congressional term of Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted as the House speaker in October.

Mr. Fong, a former aide to Mr. McCarthy, was the prohibitive favorite in the race after receiving the most votes in two previous elections for the seat and beating his nearest opponent by roughly 20 percentage points.

Mr. Fong was endorsed by Mr. McCarthy in the race and benefited from the enduring sway of his former mentor in the Bakersfield region. Perhaps just as crucial to Mr. Fong was an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump, considering that the congressional district is considered California’s most conservative.

In the special runoff election on Tuesday, Mr. Fong beat Mike Boudreaux, the sheriff of Tulare County, for the third time this year. The two men qualified for the Tuesday runoff after a special election in March in which they were the two top finishers but neither candidate took 50 percent of the vote.

Mr. Fong and Mr. Boudreaux are also competing in the November election for a full term in the next congressional session, after emerging as the two top vote finishers in a separate March primary. By finishing in the top two positions in the March elections, Mr. Fong and Mr. Boudreaux locked Democrats out of the seat. California’s “jungle” primary system allows the two top finishers to advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.

Mr. Boudreaux, who is also a Republican, had indicated that he may withdraw from the November election if he did not win Tuesday.

Mr. Fong, representing the southern end of the Central Valley, will have the benefit of incumbency in the November election for a full term in the next congressional session.

During the campaign, both candidates called for tighter border controls, abortion restrictions, more California oil production and more water for farmers. Mr. Boudreaux, who serves as the president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, emphasized his experience on public safety. Mr. Fong, who is the vice chairman of the California State Assembly budget committee, highlighted economic issues, saying he would oppose new taxes and reduce regulations on businesses.

Mr. Fong secured about 42 percent of the vote in each of the March elections. Mr. Boudreaux won 24 percent of the vote in the primary, and then 26 percent in the first contest to finish Mr. McCarthy’s term. Mr. Fong was well ahead in fund-raising, having pulled in about $1.5 million, more than three times the roughly $425,000 raised by Mr. Boudreaux.

Mr. Fong also fought off an early threat: an initial determination in April by the California secretary of state that he was ineligible to run for Congress because he had already submitted re-election paperwork for his Assembly seat. Mr. Fong sued the secretary of state, and state courts determined he could remain on the congressional ballot.



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