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Appellate court to determine whether to uphold or reverse Vince Fong's congressional candidacy

Posted at 9:12 AM, Apr 05, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A Sacramento Superior Court decided in December that the local assemblyman was eligible for the March Primary ballot. Now, it’s up to an appellate court to either uphold or reverse that decision.

  • Video shows 20th Congressional District candidate and local Assemblyman Vince Fong.
  • This decision however would not impact Fong's standing in the special election — which if he wins — would put him in congress until January.

Oral arguments filled a Sacramento courtroom Thursday — all surrounding local Republican Vince Fong’s run for Congress and a section of Elections Code: 8003(b).

The section states that no person may file a party nomination and an independent nomination for the same office or for more than one office at the same election.

A Sacramento Superior Court decided in December that the local assemblyman was eligible for the March Primary ballot. Now, it’s up to an appellate court to either uphold or reverse that decision.

Fong announced his candidacy for the 20th Congressional District seat after former Congressman Kevin McCarthy announced his early retirement, however the Secretary of State argued Fong was ineligible to do so — citing election code 8003(b).

During the appeal hearing Thursday, the state’s attorney argued the section — if read plainly — prohibits dual candidacy. He said moreover, should the court overlook this case, it could create precedent that could result in a candidate oligarchy during future elections.

However, the appellate judges argued the wording of the section could be interpreted differently, since — as Fong’s attorney pointed to — the section of the code references independent nominees.

Fong’s attorney arguing that section 8003(b) applies to independent nominees and points to the number of candidates in this and previous elections who’ve appeared on the ballot in both state and local races, as well as presidential nominees, however judges where skeptical whether or not this case fell under the same pretenses.

If the court does reverse the previous decision — Fong could be removed from the running in the general election moving Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Bakersfield teacher Marisa Wood up to the first and second place spots.

This however would not impact his standing in the special election — which if he wins — would put him in congress until January.

This coming just eight days before the state will certify the primary election results.


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