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Fiona Simmons January 3, 2024 2 min read
California’s Club One Casino Owner Runs for Congress Following McCarthy’s Exit
Kirkland promised to prioritize fixing the economy and doing something for the high costs of living
A gambling industry veteran is running for a major political position in California. Kyle Kirkland, an influential cardroom businessman, hopes to succeed US Rep. Kevin McCarthy who departed Congress at the end of 2023.
McCarthy was removed as House Speaker in October in a move that concluded a 17-year Congress tenure and surprised many people. However, his eventual departure is an opportunity for Kirkland, who now hopes to secure a Congress position.
However, the Republican candidate will face a lot of competition for the 20th Congressional District seat. One of his biggest rivals would be Assemblyman Vince Fong who hopes to secure both reelection and a Congress seat. This dual campaign was officially approved by a Superior Court judge in December, although it continues to face opposition.
According to Kirkland himself, the Fong situation inspired him to join the fray.
Kirkland’s Experience Will Help Him Tackle Hot Issues
For reference, Kirkland is the owner of Fresno’s Club One Casino, a venue for poker games. The property sports some 51 gaming tables, 3 bars and a restaurant.
While he lacks prior experience in politics, Kirkland is a veteran businessman who has had a lengthy career in the music industry prior to his venture into gambling. Before buying the Club One Casino, Kirkland served as the chairman of Steinway Musical Instruments for almost two decades.
The businessman admitted that he has always been interested in government and lawmaking. He believes that McCarthy’s sudden exit provides a perfect opportunity for a non-career politician to enter politics.
Kirkland added that he understands what issues the people of California are concerned about, listing the economy, border crisis and unanswered crime as some of the hot topics in the state. He added that the state needs new thinking and someone who is action-oriented.
In interviews with journalists, Kirkland promised to prioritize fixing the economy and doing something for the high costs of living. He is certain that his long career as a businessman will provide him with an edge when it comes to handling these matters.
Kirkland is on the ballot for the 2024 primary set to take place on March 5 this year.