Two Republicans Advance to a Runoff to Finish Kevin McCarthy’s Term

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California’s most conservative congressional district just experienced its own version of the “Groundhog Day” time loop. After two elections, held two weeks apart, the same two candidates have advanced to two subsequent elections.

Vince Fong and Mike Boudreaux, both Republicans, have qualified for a runoff election in the state’s 20th Congressional District to determine who will finish the term of the former House speaker Kevin McCarthy, who resigned from Congress last year not long after being ousted from his leadership post.

Both Mr. Fong and Mr. Boudreaux had already won a chance to vie in the November general election for a full, two-year term, starting in January 2025. That was determined in an earlier primary election on March 5, Super Tuesday.

But in a special election on Tuesday, Mr. Fong, a state lawmaker and onetime aide to Mr. McCarthy who was endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, won more than 42 percent of the vote. Mr. Boudreaux, the longtime sheriff of Tulare County, finished with about 26 percent of the vote. As the top two finishers — and with neither candidate taking 50 percent of the vote — they will compete again on May 21 to determine who completes Mr. McCarthy’s term.

Marisa Wood, a Democrat, finished third on Tuesday, with about 23 percent of the vote. (Ms. Wood also finished third in the primary on March 5.) The race was not called by The Associated Press until Friday.

Voters in the district, which is in California’s Central Valley, will now have two months before they are asked to cast ballots once again for Mr. Fong or Mr. Boudreaux. They will then get a more than five-month break before they vote for either of the Republicans in November. Whoever wins the runoff in May will head into the November election with the advantage of incumbency, albeit a relatively new one.

Turnout was significantly lower in Tuesday’s special election than it was on March 5, with tens of thousands of voters opting to stay home, but that appeared to do little to change the result.

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