California Republican Vince Fong sworn in as McCarthy’s replacement

Rep. Vince Fong (R-Calif.) was sworn into the House on Monday, filling the seat of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the remainder of the term.

Fong won a special election in California’s 20th Congressional District last month against Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, handing the House GOP a two-vote margin over Democrats as Republicans attempt to keep their razor-thin majority in the chamber.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) administered the oath of office to Fong on the House floor during Monday night’s vote series. Members of the California delegation gathered around him.

“I’m truly honored, humbled and grateful to be given this opportunity by the voters to serve and be a strong voice for our region,” Fong said, later thanking his family, some of whom were in the gallery for the swearing in.

Fong thanked McCarthy, whom he said “worked tirelessly for decades” for the constituents of the Central Valley of California. Lawmakers on the House floor stood and clapped at the mention of the former Speaker.

“I know that our concerns are very familiar with the current concerns that all of you have heard, we must do more to find solutions and deliver results,” Fong said, listing off his policy priorities including the U.S. southern border, rising costs, infrastructure, water and energy resources and job opportunities.

He will fill McCarthy’s seat for the rest of his term, which runs through January, though he will vie for a full two-year term in November’s election.

Fong will face up against Boudreaux again in the fall after they both advanced from a regularly scheduled primary earlier this year. In the March primary for the full-term race, Fong shored up about 42 percent of the vote, while Bordeaux scored about 26 percent, per Decision Desk HQ.

Fong, a mentee and former aide to McCarthy, had served in the California State Assembly since 2016, representing the State Assembly’s 32nd District in Bakersfield.

“I look forward to serving and working alongside all of you to address our nation’s challenges and to ensure that the voice of the congressional district and my neighbors [that] have entrusted me are heard every single day in these halls of Congress,” Fong said on the House floor. “We can tackle these challenges head-on and leave a better and stronger America for future generations.”

McCarthy retired from the House earlier this year, just months after he was ousted from the Speakership with less than a year in the top spot. McCarthy endorsed Fong to succeed him in the district, as did former President Trump, who described him as a “true Republican.”

California’s 20th Congressional District, which covers much of the southern and southeastern part of the state’s Central Valley, is likely to stay in GOP hands this fall, with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report rating the district as “solid Republican.”

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