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Vince Fong California primary Kevin McCarthy replacement close

Assemblyman Vince Fong leads in primary race to replace Kevin McCarthy in California's most Republican-filled district, facing legal challenge.

In California's 20th Congressional District, a Republican assemblyman, Vince Fong, is currently leading in the primary race to fill the shoes of retired Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy. With 37.3% of the votes counted as of Tuesday night, Fong is ahead of his competitors. The Associated Press estimated that 42% of the votes had been counted in this highly Republican district.

Following closely behind Fong are Democrat Marisa Wood and Republican Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, with Wood at 24% and Boudreaux at 23%. It is still too early to determine which two candidates will advance to the general election on Nov. 5.

Fong, who secured endorsements from McCarthy and former President Donald Trump, was expected to secure a spot in the general election. However, he faces a legal challenge from the California Secretary of State that could potentially disqualify his candidacy.

The 20th Congressional District, encompassing parts of Bakersfield and Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, has seen nearly a dozen candidates on the ballot. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election, with results expected to be certified by April 12.

Weber, the Secretary of State, has challenged Fong's candidacy due to his dual presence on the ballot for both the congressional and Assembly districts. Fong, a former district director for McCarthy, has garnered support from various local figures in his bid for Congress.

In a separate special election to complete the remainder of McCarthy's term, Fong, Boudreaux, and Wood are also contenders. The primary for this special election is scheduled for March 19, with a potential runoff on May 21 if no candidate secures a majority of votes. The winner will be sworn in promptly to serve until January 2025.

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