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Fong Leads Fundraising Parade for McCarthy's Old Congressional Seat
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 months ago on
February 26, 2024

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Vince Fong leads in all fundraising metrics for Congressional District 20.

A former president gives to David Valadao’s campaign.

As expected, incumbents lead the way in congressional fundraising.


Vince Fong leads his rivals in all fundraising metrics for a vacant congressional seat. And, this came before former President Donald Trump endorsed him.

The latest Federal Election Commission figures — Jan. 1 through Feb. 14 — show that Fong raised $660,834. That is the most of 11 contenders for the election for the full-term seat. Fong also leads in metrics for overall fundraising, money spent — for the period and overall — and cash on hand.

Notable funders of Fong’s campaign include KOCHPAC ($5,000), an arm of Koch Industries; Stewart Resnick — of the Wonderful Company, considered the wealthiest farmer in the country — and his wife, Lynda Resnick, giving $13,200 each during the campaign; and several political action committees associated to Republican congressmembers.

Voters have ballots for the election ending March 5, which will decide the top two vote earners to advance to the Nov. 5 general election. The same voters also have ballots for the special election ending March 19, to fill the remainder of the term.

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy resigned on Dec. 31. He endorsed Fong, and contributed $4,00 to the campaign. McCarthy’s Majority Committee PAC gave another $10,000.

Most of Fong’s spending went toward consultants, filing fees, and advertisements. He did take his staff out for a $433 meal at Chef Lino’s Grill in Bakersfield.

How the Other CD 20 Candidates Fair

Boudreaux received most of his contributions from the farming industry. His most interesting spending item: $659 spent at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop for volunteers.

Most of Club One Casino owner Kyle Kirkland’s funding comes from a $135,000 self-loan. He did pick up other money, mainly from the Fresno business community and gaming interests.

Despite the fundraising figures and media presence, it was not enough for Kirkland to earn a spot on a televised debate by CBS 47 last week. He didn’t make the cut, based on the station’s polling requirements.

Kirkland, though, has more than $304,000 in debt. At least he will stay warm. The campaign spent $2,500 on jackets.

The main Democrats in the race, Marisa Wood, D-Bakersfield, and Andy Morales, D-Fresno, trail in fundraising figures.

Outside groups have spent more than $500,000 on the race, most of it to support Fong, according to an Open Secrets analysis. Most of that comes from Central Valley Values PAC, a McCarthy-connected committee. Third-party spending, by law, is not allowed to coordinate with the candidate.

What Former President Gave to Valadao?

Rep. David Valadao continues with fundraising figures expected for an incumbent.

Valadao, R-Hanford, raised more than $113,000 for the six-week period, taking his total to $2.3 million. His most interesting contributor this period: former President George W. Bush, who gave $6,600.

Spending documents show that Valadao spent $540 for a Las Vegas fundraiser at Mr. Chow, a Chinese restaurant at Caesars Palace. During the same period, the campaign spent another $308 for a fundraising dinner, and $9,430 for lodging at The Venetian. It is not clear if that was for a Valadao fundraiser or someone else.

The campaign also spent another $825 for another fundraiser at Rumi’s Kitchen in Washington, DC. He also spent $1,175 at the Crescent Court, a five-star (according to hotels.com) luxury hotel/spa in Dallas.

Valadao also paid $366 for campaign staffer snacks at a Washington Raising Canes.

An Open Secrets analysis reported that 45% of Valadao’s fundraising comes from political action committees.

Salas Soaring, Hurtado Flailing

Rudy Salas raised the most during the period and is second overall to Valadao in fundraising for the congressional District 22 race. He received several thousands of dollars from PACs associated with other Democratic congressmembers.

Chris Mathys, R-Firebaugh, has more than $597,000 in debt, nearly all in self-loans.

As Politico pointed out, Hurtado’s cash on hand ($10,271) is less than her debt ($31,104). She did receive contributions from Lynda Resnick of The Wonderful Company ($6,600); and Assemblymember Jasmeet Bains ($200), Fresno City Councilman Nelson Esparza ($1,000), and state Sen. Steve Glazer ($1,000).

The race has seen more than $1 million in outside spending. Open Secrets reports that most of that comes from the House Majority PAC, on behalf of Salas.

Incumbents Lead Fundraising in Other Congressional Races

Rep. John Duarte, R-Modesto, and Adam Gray, D-Merced, are headed for a November rematch in District 14 because they are the only two running. In California’s top-two system, both will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

In CD 21, only incumbent Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and challenger Michael Maher, R-Kingsburg, are running. It is also a rematch of the 2022 race won by Costa.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, whose CD 5 stretches to north Fresno, has drawn two little-known challengers who also ran and lost in 2022.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
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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