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Fong's candidacy in question; Boudreaux, Giglio pounce

December 13, 2023

The race to replace Bakersfield Congressman and Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy just got a whole lot more messy. The frontrunner, State Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-32), may face legal hurdles after filing for two different races. The first race is his re-election campaign to the State Assembly. The second race is the now-crowded primary to replace McCarthy in Washington.

Being in both races is a violation of California's Elections Code 8003, Section B. Which states:

"No person may file nomination papers for a party nomination and an independent nomination for the same office, or for more than one office at the same election."

However, political strategist Matt Klink thinks because Fong has met the federal requirements to run for Congress, that the federal election laws will supersede the state code.

"There are only three criteria," Klink said. "One, that you are 25 years old. Vince Fong is clearly that. Two, that he has been a U.S. Citizen for 7 years. Vince Fong definitely has that. And three, that he lives in the district. Vince Fong definitely has that."

Fong's most vocal rival, David Giglio, is now threatening legal action against the California Secretary of State's Office and the Kern County Recorder if Fong is allowed to run. In a statement posted to X, Giglio's attorney John M. Pierce wrote:

"If the California Secretary of State and Kern County Recorder are willing to disregard existing election laws...We will take legal action against both parties."

Fong's team sent a statement to Eyewitness News reading:

"Assemblyman Fong has qualified as a candidate for Congress and the voters of the 20th Congressional District will have the opportunity to select him as their next Congressman."

Director of the UC-Merced Center for Analytic Political Engagement Nathan Monroe says the dispute has the potential to work in favor of both campaigns.

"Someone telling [voters] that Fong is not qualified that could really shape where voters cast their votes," Monroe said. "Similarly, if there is some lack of real clear resolution when the primary occurs. It will not be the first time candidates in modern American politics challenged the legitimacy or the outcome of a modern American election."

If two is a party then three is a crowd. A third high-profile candidate has entered the race, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. According to our sister station KMPH, Boudreaux has been Tulare County Sheriff since 2013 and is the current President of the California State Sheriff’s Association. Boudreaux praised McCarthy in his announcement statement potentially signaling an endorsement heading his way should Fong be ineligible to run for Congress. Fong is currently endorsed by McCarthy.

by William Silverstein, Eyewitness News, BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --- (KBAK/FOX58)