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If McCarthy Bails From Congress, These Are the GOP Prospects for His Seat



What Republican could replace Kevin McCarthy? Left to right: Devin Nunes, Connie Conway, Shannon Grove, Mike Boudreaux, Devon Mathis, and Jim Patterson are among the prospective candidates. (GV Wire Composite)
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The media in Washington, D.C., are increasingly speculating that longtime Rep. Kevin McCarthy might not run for re-election.

McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, represents parts of Clovis and Fresno in a gerrymandered Republican-safe district. He was ousted as Speaker of the House in October, after serving only nine months on the job.

The deadline to file for election is Dec. 8. If the incumbent does not run, the deadline is extended until Dec. 13.

If McCarthy exits, there is a deep GOP bench that can easily step in to replace him. Here is a list of potential contenders.

Devin Nunes

Photo of Rep. Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes

A former congressman himself, Nunes resigned in January 2022 to operate Donald Trump’s Truth Social Media. Nunes has the two biggest advantages of anyone in the field — name recognition and money. The latest finance report to the FEC shows Nunes with $11 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

The move would require a significant pay cut. Forbes reported that Nunes earns $750,000 working for Trump; A congressmember earns $174,000. He also recently opened a new winery.

Connie Conway

Connie Conway

Another former congresswoman (she won a special election succeeding Nunes), Conway has the name recognition and ability to win an election. She opted not to run for re-election. She reported only $13,000 cash on hand as of Dec. 31, 2022.

“If my service is needed, I’m okay with that,” Conway told Politics 101.

Shannon Grove

Shannon Grove

The state senator represents much of the same area as McCarthy and is in her final term in the Legislature. Grove plans to run for the Board of Equalization in 2026. She’s raised $50,000 for the account through June 30 and has more than $100,000 in other state campaign accounts.

Devon Mathis

Devon Mathis

The south Valley assemblyman announced this week he is not running again for a final term. He did say he will remain involved in public service. Does he know something? State campaign finance records show he has $74,000 cash on hand.

“If he is truly out, yes I would have to look at it,” Mathis said.

Jim Patterson

Official Assembly portrait of Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Jim Patterson

The Fresno assemblyman is termed out. He did flirt with the idea of running for Fresno County Supervisor before withdrawing. He ran for Congress in 2002, losing out to Nunes. He also ran in 2010, finishing second to Jeff Denham.

He has a campaign account for the 2026 Board of Equalization race and has nearly $400,000 cash on hand in his various state accounts.

Mike Boudreaux

Mike Boudreaux

The Tulare County sheriff flirted with running for the congressional seat vacated by Nunes in 2022 but decided not to run. He has been at the forefront of gun rights.

Andreas Borgeas

Andreas Borgeas

The former state senator from Fresno opted not to run for re-election when redistricting merged him with Shannon Grove’s district. He has won political races for Fresno City Council and Fresno County Supervisor but has been mostly quiet the last year.

Campaign finance records show him holding onto $678,000 in cash.

However, one source says he has no interest in returning to politics.

Other names floated around are Clovis Unified trustee Clint Olivier; Clovis councilmembers Diane Pearce and Vong Mounoutoua; former David Valadao congressional staffers Cole Rojewski and Tal Eslick; and water consultant and former Fresno County planning commissioner Austin Ewell.

Rojewski told Politics 101 that the timing is not right. Eslick said he is “100% no.” Pearce said she still supports McCarthy and is focusing on Clovis.

“I’m not in the habit of closing doors, though,” Pearce said.

Others Would Have to Make Snap Decision

Several other people would be viable challengers but have pledged to run for another office in the March primary. They would have to make a snap decision to switch elections.

A candidate can only run for one race at a time.

This list includes:

Garry Bredefeld

The current Fresno City Councilman filed to run for Fresno County Supervisor. It is already a bruising campaign against incumbent Steve Brandau and will likely get more heated. Fresno County Assessor Paul Dictos is also in the race.

Bredefeld says he is sticking with his supervisorial run.

Vince Fong

The Bakersfield assemblyman filed to run for re-election. He has held Republican leadership roles in Sacramento.

Nathan Magsig

The Fresno County supervisor from Clovis plans to run for re-election. He ran for Congress in 2022 against fellow Republican Tom McClintock but did not advance past the primary.

Pete Vander Poel

The four-term Tulare County supervisor filed to run for re-election. He said he is focused on that race.

From left to right: Garry Bredefeld, Vince Fong, Nathan Magsig, and Pete Vander Poel are running for other offices in 2024. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Others Who Filed

Several candidates hoping to knock out McCarthy already filed to run for the Congressional District 20 seat, which covers parts of Fresno, Tulare, Kern, and Kings counties.

Marisa Wood, a Bakersfield teacher, ran against McCarthy in 2022 and lost 67% to 33%. She is a Democrat.

Fresno Democrat John Burrows is a staffer for Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza. He has raised the most money of a McCarthy opponent — $281,588 through Sept. 30, with $98,082 cash on hand.

Madera Republican David Giglio ran in CD 13 in 2022 but did not advance beyond the primary. He has earned a few right-wing endorsements so far.

Fresno Democrat Andy Morales was one of the first candidates to announce his candidacy against McCarthy.

Others who have pulled papers in Kern County are Ben Dewell, Joe Murillo, Mohammad Arif, and Sarah Jacqueline Goldberg.

From left to right: Marisa Wood, John Burrows, Andy Morales, and David Giglio have filed to run in Congressional District 20. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email