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Fong Gone to Washington. What Happens to Vacant Assembly Seat?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 30, 2024

Vince Fong will be sworn in as a Congressmember soon. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)

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Vince Fong officially resigned from the state Assembly last Friday, which will leave the seat vacant until at least December.

Fong, R-Bakersfield, won a special election for Congressional District 20 on May 21, entitling him to finish the term through Jan. 3, 2025. He has not been sworn in. Congress is off this week, returning June 3.

“Together, we have fought for common sense policies to curb the high cost of living, rein in state spending to protect precious tax dollars and demand transparency from our state government. It is your voice that needs to continue to be heard to make California a better place to live and work,” Fong said in a news release, announcing his resignation.

State law normally allows the governor to call for a special election to fill a vacant Congressional, Assembly or state Senate seat. There is a caveat that because of deadlines, no election will take place.

“When a vacancy occurs in a legislative office after the close of the nomination period in the final year of the term of office, no special election shall be held,” Elections Code § 10701(b) says.

The nomination period closed Dec. 8, 2023. The new Assembly term starts Dec. 2.

That means the seat will remain vacant until December, but possibly longer. Fong’s office will still remain open to help with constituent services.

November Could Lead to Vacancy Again

Fong’s name will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot for both the full-term Congressional seat, and also for Assembly. Normally, a candidate can only run for one office at a time, and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber attempted to keep Fong off the Congressional ballot.

A judge and subsequent appeal court ruled in Fong’s favor, causing a possibly one-time-only quirk. The Legislature is debating a change to the law to prevent a future double run.

Although Fong was the only name on the Assembly primary in March, Bakersfield City Councilmember Ken Weir qualified for November through the write-in process. Fong has endorsed Weir.

Fong defeated Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, R-Springville, in the special election, 61% to 39%. The same two candidates will also appear on the November ballot. Fong and Weir will appear for Assembly District 32 voters.

If Fong wins both seats in November, he would have to chose again — likely Congress. That would require the governor to call another special election for the Assembly seat.

The potential earliest election date is Jan. 14, 2025 for a primary, followed by the special general election March 18, 2025 — provided Fong resigns and Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for the election the day after the November election. A candidate winning a majority in the primary would cancel the need for a general/runoff special election.

If Fong only wins one of the two elections, the point may be moot.

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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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