Secretary of State rules Fong cannot run for Congress

The Bakersfield Republican already filed to run for re-election to the California Assembly.

Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield) is ineligible to run for Congress, per a ruling by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. 

Weber confirmed Friday afternoon that Fong is barred from running due to state law. Fong responded by saying he will challenge the ruling in court immediately.


The big picture: Fong is unable to run for Congress because he already qualified for re-election for Assembly District 32. 

  • Under California law, candidates are not allowed to run for two public offices at the same time. That bars candidates from withdrawing after the close of one filing to pull papers for another office. 
  • While Fong was on the record earlier in the week telling KGET that he had qualified as a candidate for Congress – and was listed as a candidate when county elections offices published the list of people running for the 20th Congressional District – his candidacy necessitated review by Weber because of state law. 

What we’re watching: Fong’s path to running for District 20 now hinges on challenging the law in court in the hopes of reversing Weber’s decision. 

  • In the meantime, fellow Republicans David Giglio, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Kyle Kirkland and Matt Stoll have all qualified for the ballot. 

What they’re saying: Fong released the following statement on Friday: “Today’s decision by the Secretary of State to unilaterally disqualify a county-qualified candidate for Congress is an unprecedented interference in the candidate filing process. County elections offices have full jurisdiction to qualify candidates for the ballot. The Secretary of State simply has a ministerial duty to certify the candidate lists and include ALL qualified candidates. Assemblyman Fong has qualified for the ballot and the voters of the 20th Congressional District deserve the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice. The Elections Code provides a five-day filing extension to ensure all prospective candidates may file for an office should the incumbent choose not to run, as is the case in this election. We fully intend to litigate this decision and will be filing a challenge in Superior Court imminently.”

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