Vince Fong will run to replace Kevin McCarthy in Congress

Bakersfield Assemblymember Vince Fong announced on Monday that he will be running for Congress to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who plans to retire by the end of the year. This move makes Fong the most prominent Republican contender for the 20th Congressional District seat in the Central Valley.

The 44-year-old initially stated that he would not run for the congressional seat when McCarthy first announced his retirement plans. However, Fong had a change of heart and declared his candidacy on Monday morning. He emphasized the importance of having proven conservative leaders representing the Central Valley in Congress during this critical time in the nation’s history.

Fong, a Bakersfield native, has a background working for former Rep. Bill Thomas and served as McCarthy’s district director before being elected to the state Assembly in 2016. He has focused on public safety, water, and fiscal issues during his time in Sacramento, advocating for conservative fiscal policies despite Republicans having limited influence in the state Capitol.

If elected, Fong aims to defend the Central Valley’s water and energy resources, prioritize border security, and oppose new taxes and reckless spending that contribute to inflation and a soaring cost of living.

Fong’s decision to enter the congressional race comes after California Senator Shannon Grove, also from Bakersfield, announced that she would not be running for the seat. Grove cited her commitment to serving her California Senate term, which ends in 2026, as the reason for her decision.

Candidates have until Wednesday to enter the race for McCarthy’s seat, and Fong’s entry into the race adds an interesting dynamic to the upcoming congressional Election in 2024.

Historically, the Central Valley has been an area of significant political importance in California, representing the agricultural heartland of the state and often acting as a key battleground for both state and federal elections.

The competition to replace McCarthy is sure to draw attention and could impact the political landscape not only in the Central Valley but also at a national level. With Fong’s entry into the race, the race for California’s 20th Congressional District is set to be closely watched in the coming months.

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