Two more Republicans have filed to run to succeed Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield).
They entered the race on Tuesday, just one day before the deadline to declare candidacy for the 20th Congressional District.
The big picture: Fresno businessman Kyle Kirkland and former fighter pilot and small business owner Matt Stoll filed papers to run for Congress.
- Kirkland is the owner of Fresno’s Club One Casino, the lone cardroom in the city.
- He is also the Chairman of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Foundation and has long been a supporter of animal welfare projects.
- Kirkland gave at least a $1 million donation to the Chaffee Zoo – the largest in zoo history – to kick off its centennial campaign.
- Kirkland, who was registered as a no party preference voter according to voter data as of Tuesday morning, entered the race as a Republican.
- Stoll served in the Navy for 20 years as a fighter pilot, retiring from military service in 2019. He flew 44 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- After the Navy he started a property management business in Visalia and also owns retail store Garden World.
- Stoll has already made two attempts for Congress – both last year. He ran in the special election to replace Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Tulare) when he retired, placing third in the primary. Stoll also ran in District 21 to try and oust Rep. Jim Costa (D – Fresno), but also placed third in the primary.
Driving the news: WIth Kirkland and Stoll entering the race, the competition for Congressional District 20 continues to get crowded up against the deadline.
- Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield), a former McCarthy staffer who has his backing, did an about-face and launched a campaign for Congress on Monday.
Fong’s campaign faces a daunting legal challenge, as he has already qualified to run for Assembly in the March Primary and California law prohibits candidates appearing twice on the same election ballot.
- Despite that, his campaign told KGET that he has qualified to run.
- With uncertainty over Fong’s status, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux also entered the race, pulling papers on Monday.
Elsewhere… The California Secretary of State’s office is keeping cards close to the vest over how it will handle Fong’s filings.
- “Because of the unusual circumstances, we are carefully reviewing the issue. We’ll provide clarifying information as soon as possible,” a Secretary of State spokesman told The Sun on Tuesday evening.