Vince Fong, longtime McCarthy aide, will seek Assembly seat | January 6, 2016 – 

Vince Fong, district director for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, announced Wednesday he will run for the 34th Assembly District seat, ending months of speculation.

The Princeton-educated Bakersfield native has long been rumored as a possible successor to Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, who will be termed out of office.

Fong, 36, made his bid official in a brief press release referring to a press conference he’ll hold Thursday outside the Kern County Administrative Center in downtown Bakersfield.

The West High School graduate pointed out he’s been McCarthy’s district director for nearly a decade, “managing public policy issues for the region — working to create jobs and fight to improve the quality of life for Central Valley residents.”

In a statement, Fong said he will champion Kern County’s two signature industries.

“Our oil and agriculture industries are under attack by the liberal establishment in Sacramento, and I intend to be a fighter for our jobs and our economy,” Fong said.

A member of the GOP himself, Fong is running in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a nearly 2-1 margin.

The 34th, which takes in much of Kern County, had 101,164 registered Republicans and 59,618 registered Democrats in February 2015, according to the most recent elections data available.

The district includes much of metropolitan Bakersfield, and sprawls across Kern, from McKittrick to Lebec, and Tehachapi to Ridgecrest.

Fong has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University. But in a statement, the chairman of the Kern County Republican Party highlighted his Kern political experience.

“Mr. Vince Fong is a great person who has worked for and represented Congressman McCarthy here locally,” said Dean Haddock, Republican Party chairman. “If he were elected, he would do a fine job representing our local community.”

Haddock, however, emphasized it’s still too early in the election season for him to endorse or recommend Fong.

Grove, who took office in December 2010, is limited by state law to three two-year terms.

No other candidates have publicly announced their intent to run for the post.

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