Newsom sets special election date to serve out McCarthy’s term

Candidates have a couple weeks to launch bids for the special election.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has set a date for the special election for Congressional District 20 to serve out the remainder of Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy’s term. 

The special election will be held on May 21, two weeks after the primary election is held. 


The big picture: Newsom issued a proclamation on Monday setting the special election for May 21. 

  • With the date finally set, candidates can start filing their papers to run for the special election on Jan. 19 and have until Jan. 25. 
  • Secretary of State Shirley Weber will publish the certified list of candidates on Jan. 31. 
  • Ballots will be sent out by mail starting on Feb. 19 to all registered voters in the district. 
  • County election offices will have by March 26 to count vote-by-mail ballots. 
  • If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will be held on May 21. 

What we’re watching: The field for the primary election is crowded, with Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield), David Giglio, Kyle Kirkland, Matt Stoll, Stan Ellis and Kelly Kulikoff running as Republicans. 

  • Democrat contenders are Marisa Wood and Andy Morales, while Ben Dewell and TJ Esposito will appear on the ballot as independents. 
  • While the special election will be held after the primary, if the winner of the special election also advances to the general election in November, that person would have the advantage of being an incumbent, albeit just for a matter of months.
  • Fong was the first to announce his candidacy for the special election on Monday, followed shortly by Boudreaux and Kirkland.

What they’re saying: Fong said in a statement that he will run for the special election to provide representation to the 20th District as soon as possible.

  • “Our state and our nation is in crisis. We are facing chaos at the Southern Border, crippling high cost-of-living, threats to our energy industry, and a desperate need for more water infrastructure,” Fong said. “The Central Valley needs proven, tested representation in Congress that can immediately get to work and deliver meaningful solutions to these issues.” 
  • Boudreaux said, “I am proud to announce that I will be a candidate for the 20th Congressional district in this upcoming special election. I’m excited to continue sharing my vision for a safer, stronger Valley and look forward to earning the support of my neighbors to represent them in Congress for the balance of 2024.”
  • Kirkland said, “The need for a voice in Congress that represents the values and needs of our district has never been more important. I am running in this special election to be that voice. With over four decades of experience in identifying opportunities, solving problems, and giving back to my community, I am prepared to make our district’s needs heard in Washington and bring practical, action-oriented experience to solving our nation’s problems.”
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