Worry over Fong’s Kern Co. Assembly seat could open path for new GOP young gun in Sacramento

With the Kern County legislator vying for ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional seat, lackluster energy for a write-in campaign bid could vault a new face into the Assembly race.

An unconventional political strategy to send a second Republican through to the November 2024 general election for a coveted legislative seat could be running into some speed bumps.

Kern County Republicans are currently trying to send a second Republican into a runoff against Asm. Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) as he runs for the 20th Congressional District and re-election to the 32nd Assembly District. 


One contender emerges: Kern County’s GOP appeared to initially coalesce around Ken Weir, the party’s former chairman and current councilman for the 3rd ward, to serve as a qualified write-in candidate.

  • For write-in votes to count, candidates must declare their candidacies with local elections offices by Feb. 20. 
  • A qualified write-in candidate can secure a place on the November ballot in print if they place within the top two vote-getters in the primary.

Weir-ing Thin: As days have stretched on, Weir’s candidacy has seemingly cooled and concerns have grown that a Democratic write-in candidate could emerge, capture sufficient votes to advance to November, and nab the seat should Fong capture McCarthy’s congressional seat, south Valley sources told The Sun. 

  • Now, new names are being bandied about as an alternative to Weir. 
  • At the top of the list?  Alex Dominguez, an expert water and agriculture attorney with Kern County’s Klein DeNatale Goldner and first Vice President of the Kern County Farm Bureau, sources told The Sun.
  • Dominguez, an Ole Miss law grad, has deep Kern County roots and ties to Fong and Rep. David Valadao.

The bigger picture: A pivot to Dominguez would continue a trend that the San Joaquin Valley is an emerging bright spot in dark blue California as home to an increasingly younger, vibrant bench of GOP candidates.

  • Dominguez would join the ranks of Assembly contenders Alexandra Macedo in the Tulare County-anchored 33rd Assembly District, and David Tangipa in the Fresno County-based 8th Assembly District.
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