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Who is Running in Special Congressional Election? The Preliminary List Is Set.

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A preliminary list of names to run in the special election for Congressional District 20 is set. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Several candidates running for the full-term Congressional seat last held by former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy are also running to finish his term.

McCarthy, who already opted not to run for re-election, resigned Dec. 31, 2023. The move created not only a Congressional District 20 election with no incumbent but requires a special election to fill the remainder of the term as well.

The deadline to file for the March 19 special election expired Thursday, with 13 candidates pulling papers to run.

If a candidate wins a majority of votes, the winner will be shortly sworn into Congress. The term expires Jan. 3, 2025.

If there is no majority winner, the top-two vote earners advance to a May 21 special election.

For the March 5 regularly scheduled primary, the top-two vote earners — regardless of party affiliation or status in the special election — advance to the Nov. 5 general election. The full-term starts Jan. 3, 2025.

The district covers parts of Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings counties.

Who is Running?

The following list of candidates pulled papers to run. The California Secretary of State will certify the official list of candidates next Wednesday, Jan. 31.

  • Kyle Kirkland, R-Clovis; owner of Club One Casino*
  • Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield; state Assemblyman*
  • Mike Boudreaux, R-Springville; Tulare County Sheriff*
  • Kelly Kulikoff, R-California City; California City Mayor*
  • Marisa Wood, D-Bakersfield; educator*
  • Benjamin Dewell, NPP-Tehachapi; Eastern Kern APCD variance board member*
  • Harmesh Kumar, D-Concord; doctor
  • Anna Cohen, R-Bakersfield
  • Cameron Lorimer, R-Bakersfield
  • Ronald Reppenhagen, R-Palmdale; security company manager
  • David Fluhart, NPP-Caliente; farmer
  • James Cardoza, NPP-Fresno; real estate photographer
  • L Parsons James, unknown

* Also running in the March 5 election for the full-term seat.

It is likely that not all candidates will make the final cut. Cameron Lorimer, a Bakersfield Republican, pulled papers but said he never returned them. Reppenhagen missed the deadline because he thought it was Friday.

Kumar is also running for U.S. Senate on March 5. Fluhart ran unsuccessfully for Kern County Supervisor in 2020.

Fong, considered one of several frontrunners along with Boudreaux and Kirkland, is also running for the full-term seat. Secretary of State Shirley Weber is challenging the legitimacy of his candidacy, asking a state appellate court not to certify him if he wins.

Weber, in a court filing, said Fong running for both Congress and the state Assembly on March 5 violates election law. A lower court ruling allows Fong to run for both.

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

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