SACRAMENTO (Diya TV) — In a groundbreaking decision, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong, allowing him to run for both the State Assembly and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional seat. Fong’s legal victory comes after the Secretary of State initially denied his bid, citing potential voter confusion and the disenfranchisement of voters.
Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang acknowledged concerns about the unusual nature of Fong’s petition but emphasized that state law doesn’t explicitly prohibit such dual candidacies. Fong’s attorneys argued that the law lacked clarity on this specific matter, and the judge agreed, noting that the legislature had not addressed it despite multiple amendments to the elections code over the last decade.
Fong, endorsed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, expressed gratitude for the court’s decision, stating, “Today’s ruling is a victory for the voters of the 20th Congressional District, who will now have the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice in the March 5th election.”
The legal dispute arose when the Secretary of State, Shirley N. Weber, determined Fong couldn’t run for Congress since he had already filed for re-election to the Assembly. Fong’s attorney, Brian Hildreth, argued that the secretary’s role was to “receive and file” nomination documents, not decide eligibility.
Despite the judge’s decision in Fong’s favor, concerns linger about potential challenges to his candidacy’s legitimacy. Judge Chang questioned the legal uncertainty surrounding Fong’s eligibility and the potential consequences for voters if his candidacy were later deemed invalid.
Democratic State Assembly Member Wendy Carillo criticized the ruling as a “gross interpretation of the law” and pledged to introduce legislation to prevent similar situations in the future.
Vince Fong’s victory in court adds a new twist to the race for California’s 20th Congressional District, with the primary scheduled for March 5th. The district, encompassing parts of Kern, Kings, Tulare, and Fresno counties, is historically Republican-leaning. Fong, a former district director for McCarthy, enjoys front-runner status in the race.
The ruling concludes a chapter in the ongoing political saga, marking a win for Fong and ensuring Central Valley voters can choose their preferred candidate in the upcoming election.