California special election for Kevin McCarthy’s seat to go to runoff

McCarthy’s retirement and GOP House majority

GOP House majority slims further as McCarthy announces retirement 04:13

Washington — CBS News projects the U.S. House special election in California’s 20th congressional district will go to a runoff to fill the vacancy left by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Republican State Assembly member Vince Fong advanced to the runoff, which will take place in May.

Fong, who is vying to fill the vacancy left by McCarthy, has the former speaker’s endorsement and the backing of former President Donald Trump. Among those challenging him is Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. 

It was still unclear who would emerge to face him in May’s special election. 

The solidly conservative district is all but certain to deliver the House another Republican. But how quickly that happens remains to be seen. 

A candidate had to win more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election. With no candidate projected to win a majority of the vote in the district, the top two candidates, regardless of party, will now move on to an election on May 21. The winner will serve until Jan. 3, 2025, or the remainder of McCarthy’s House term.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy appears outside of the White House on Nov. 29, 2022.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy appears outside of the White House on Nov. 29, 2022. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The special election drew some confusion, after voters in the Golden State headed to the polls just two weeks ago to vote in the primary. That’s because California Gov. Gavin Newsom set the date for a special election in the state’s 20th Congressional District for March 19, just two weeks after the primary for McCarthy’s seat for a full term was held. 

Fong and Boudreaux have already advanced to be on the ballot for the November election for a full term representing the district. The special election will determine who carries out the remainder of the former House Speaker’s term.

McCarthy announced in December that he was leaving Congress to “serve America in new ways,” two months after he became the first speaker in U.S. history to be ousted from his post.

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