California court approves Kevin McCarthy protege's two state ballot candidacies

Los Angeles — A California court ruled Tuesday that a state legislator can run in two races on the November ballot: one for ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy's former U.S. House seat and the other for the state Assembly seat he plans to vacate if elected to Congress.  

The verdict favored Republican Assemblymember Vince Fong, a longtime McCarthy staffer and the speaker's handpicked candidate in the Central Valley's 20th Congressional District. District voters will have the “right to select the candidate of their choice,” Fong stated.  

McCarthy announced his resignation in early December, two months after his historic ousting as speaker and shortly before the deadline for candidates to file for the seat.  

The announcement sparked a political battle between Fong and Democratic Secretary of State Shirley Weber over whether he could run twice. He ran for Assembly reelection but switched to House as the seat became available. His campaign claims he is just running for Congress, although he will also run in the Assembly.  

The state court sided with Fong in December. That verdict allowed him to run in the March 5 primary for House and Assembly seats and the March 19 special election to finish McCarthy's term, which runs through January.  

He advanced to a May election for McCarthy's remaining term and the general election for a full House term. Both races pit him against Republican Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux.  

Weber appealed the December judgment, and a state appeals court upheld it on Tuesday, allowing Fong to run for House. “This decision puts an end to the unnecessary and ill-advised Sacramento campaign to deny voters a real choice in this election,” Fong said.  

Weber said her agency was unhappy in the verdict, which did not follow protocol. Her office is evaluating all alternatives, she added. Weber stated that both court verdicts allow “chaos, gamesmanship and voter disenfranchisement,” hurting other candidates.  

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