In response to the unprecedented decision by the California Secretary of State to remove Assemblyman Vince Fong (AD32) from the congressional ballot, the Fong for Congress campaign released the following statement:
“Today’s decision by the Secretary of State to unilaterally disqualify a county-qualified candidate for Congress is an unprecedented interference in the candidate filing process. County elections offices have full jurisdiction to qualify candidates for the ballot. The Secretary of State simply has a ministerial duty to certify the candidate lists and include ALL qualified candidates. Assemblyman Fong has qualified for the ballot and the voters of the 20th Congressional District deserve the opportunity to select the candidate of their choice. The Elections Code provides a five-day filing extension to ensure all prospective candidates may file for an office should the incumbent choose not to run, as is the case in this election. We fully intend to litigate this decision and will be filing a challenge in Superior Court imminently.”
According to GV Wire, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber announced Friday afternoon, “Under state law, a candidate who has filed their declaration of candidacy is not permitted to withdraw as a candidate at that primary election. Mr. Fong filed his completed nomination documents for Assembly District 32 prior to the close of the December 8, 2023 filing deadline. Mr. Fong then submitted completed nomination documents for Congressional District 20 during the 5-day extension period triggered by the incumbent’s decision not to seek re-election. State law prohibits any candidate from filing nomination papers for more than one office at the same election.
“As such, the Secretary of State’s office has determined that Mr. Fong’s filed nomination papers for Congressional District 20 were improperly submitted. Mr. Fong will not appear on the list of certified candidates for Congressional District 20 that our office will transmit to county election officials on candidates on December 28.”
According to Fong’s press release, “Assemblyman Vince Fong remains committed to running for Congress, adding, ‘Voters in the 20th Congressional District have a right to choose the candidate of their choice to represent them in Congress. / will fight the Secretary of State’s misguided decision and do whatever it takes to give voters in our community a real choice in this election because the voters choose our elected officials, not Sacramento.’”