The Sacramento Bee published a story that suggests Bakersfield Assemblyman Vince Fong could be catapulted to the leadership of the state’s Republican minority in the Assembly in the wake of mounting dissatisfaction among conservatives about the direction of GOP leadership in Sacramento.
Of course, the story also says that Fong’s rise could be the result of an alleged affair involving current Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes (Yucca Valley) and former Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Riverbank), the one-time leader of the Republican caucus in the Assembly.
The allegations came to light Monday through a conservative blog called americanchildrenfirst.org, which printed a letter from Olsen’s estranged husband alleging the affair, and possible misappropriation of state funds to conceal the relationship. The site is run by conservative activist Joseph Turner, who has led numerous efforts to turn back illegal immigration, and who has called on Mayes to resign.
“In light of these revelations and his vote to pass the “cap and trade” bill, we call upon Mayes to resign his leadership position so that another member with real principles and conservative values can lead the party,” americachildrenfirst.org posted in a news release. “In the absence of his resignation, we call upon the Assembly Republican Caucus to remove Mayes immediately.”
Turner, along with other conservatives, were angered by Mayes brokering a deal on cap and trade with Democrats. Mayes was one of eight Republicans who voted to extend cap and trade, which forces companies to buy credits before releasing greenhouse gases into the air. It’s an issue that is hotly opposed by conservative Republicans, including Fong.
While the Sacramento Bee speculated that Fong could be the top candidate to replace Mayes, Turner’s group endorsed Riverside County Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore).
Fong declined to comment to the Sacramento Bee. The newspaper speculated that Fong’s work with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) could be a factor.
In court documents obtained by americanchildrenfirst.org, Mayes and Olsen are in the process of divorcing their spouses.