Trump endorses ex-Kevin McCarthy aide Vince Fong to fill vacant seat as his former aides back Fong’s opponent

Former President Donald Trump is throwing his support behind ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s chosen successor for his empty seat in Congress.

Vince Fong, a California Assembly member who worked as McCarthy’s district director for almost a decade, is one of nine candidates running to replace him in Central Valley for his House seat.

One of his opponents, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, has courted the endorsements of former Trump officials like former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell and ex-chief deputy, Kash Patel.

‘I am proud to join California’s Republican Congressional Delegation, and give Vince Fong my Complete and Total Endorsement!’ Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. ‘Vince was one of only 6 Republicans in the State Assembly to stand with me, and reject the Second Impeachment Hoax. In Congress, Vince will work with me to Grow the Economy, Lower your Taxes, Cut Burdensome Regulations, Champion American Energy, and Protect and Defend the Second Amendment, which is under siege by the Radical Left.’

Endorsing Boudreaux last month, Grenell and Patel described him as the anti-establishment, America First choice. ‘Sheriff Mike Boudreaux is an America First patriot who has proven he is a principled fighter for freedom,’ Grenell said, The Porterville Recorder reported at the time. ‘California needs leaders with courage to stand up to Washington bureaucrats. His record proves he is the right choice for the Valley.’

Patel said, ‘Sheriff Boudreaux is the kind of leader we need in Congress, one with the courage to stand up and fight, not back down, and put American first,’ The Recorder reported.

Patel declined to comment further when reached Wednesday by Fox News Digital. Grenell did not immediately respond.

McCarthy resigned from the House of Representatives on Dec. 31, nearly three months after he became the first speaker in history to be ousted from the job.

It’s a deep-red district, anchored in Bakersfield, and Fong’s Republican opponents have already been fighting to appeal to Trump’s MAGA base.

Another of his opponents, Kyle Kirkland, is a business owner and nonprofit animal rescue operator who is attempting to portray himself as an outsider. His website proudly declares he’s ‘not a career politician.’

Trump’s endorsement of Fong is likely to give him a boost with voters who may have been wary over his years-long ties to the GOP establishment. Fong wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, soon after the former president’s announcement, ‘Thank you… for your endorsement! Let’s get to work to secure the border, improve our economy, and defend our water and energy resources!’

Fox News Digital reached out to Fong for further comment. 

The election to replace McCarthy is scheduled for May 21. Before that, the pool of nine candidates will get whittled down to two in a March 19 primary. 

Rather than holding party-specific primaries to nominate candidates for the general, California’s election laws mandate a single ‘jungle primary’ where the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

McCarthy is widely held as an establishment Republican who also worked to become a staunch Trump ally.

Just before a group of eight hardline GOP lawmakers voted with all House Democrats to oust McCarthy, the former president wrote on Truth Social, ‘Why is it that Republicans are always fighting among themselves?’

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