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Republicans gain another seat in the House

House Speaker Mike Johnson (right) administers the House oath of office during a ceremonial swearing-in to Rep. Vince Fong on Monday. Amanda Fong holds the Bible. The Associated Press/Photo by Jose Luis Magana

Republicans gain another seat in the House

The House of Representatives swore Rep. Vince Fong, R-Calif., into office on Monday afternoon, bringing the chamber’s total to 431 members and slightly increasing the GOP’s thin majority.

Fong, who ran to replace former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s seat, won a special election on May 21, beating out Republican challenger Mike Boudreaux by more than 20 percent. Fong faced no Democratic opponent because participation in a general election in California is limited to the top two front-runners. Both front-runner positions were occupied by Republicans, so the GOP easily took back the seat.

Both McCarthy and former president Donald Trump endorsed Fong’s candidacy.

Fong’s victory brings the Republican majority in the House of Representatives back from the brink of its one-vote margin following the resignation of Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., in April. There are still four vacancies in the House that will be filled on June 11, June 25, and Sept. 18, and Republicans will use them to try to grow their majority in the remainder of the 118th Congress. The last vacancy, that of Gallagher, cannot be filled until the general election on Nov. 5, per state law. His resignation came after the filing period laid out by state law.

Prior to joining the U.S. House, Fong served as a member of the California State Assembly, representing the state’s 34th district.

Why was the seat vacant? Tensions over the GOP’s direction on spending spilled over when eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., voted with Democrats to remove U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last October.

After his removal from the speakership, many wondered if McCarthy would remain in Congress, assume some other leadership role, or step down at the end of his term. Ultimately, the longtime Republican announced he would cut his time in Congress short by stepping down at the outset of 2024.

McCarthy is just part of a wave of other congressional lawmakers who have opted to end their time on the Hill. Other notable Republican resignations include Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, and more.

Dig Deeper: Read my report in The Stew on the high turnover from the 118th Congress.

Leo Briceno

Leo is a WORLD politics reporter based in Washington, D.C. He’s a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and has a degree in political journalism from Patrick Henry College.


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