BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Local businessman Mark McKenzie sued the incumbent Auditor-Comptroller-County Clerk in mid-March — after she ruled he did not meet the minimum qualifications for the job

The dispute centered on a requirement that candidates for the office have a degree in Accounting or an equivalent degree.

While McKenzie does not hold an accounting degree, he holds both a bachelor’s and masters’ degree in business management and accounting, from Colorado State University Global and the University of Texas at Austin, respectively.

In an interview, Bedard pointed to his courseload — which she says lacked many common Accounting courses — as the reason for her decision.

“In my opinion, looking at the requirements that it be a major in Accounting or its equivalent, his degrees do not qualify as being the equivalent of a major in accounting,” Kern County Clerk Mary Bedard said.

Kern County Superior Court judge Thomas S. Clark disagreed, ruling McKenzie’s degrees constituted an equivalent degree to Accounting, and ordered McKenzie back on the ballot.

Had the suit been unsuccessful, only Aimee Espinoza, Bedard’s assistant, would have remained in the race.

Espinoza meets multiple qualifications for the office — she holds a degree in Accounting and has served nearly three years as Assistant Auditor.

McKenzie is the CEO of Trestles Construction Solutions, and has been outspoken about election integrity and security as a member of the Election Integrity Project.

California’s primary election is on June 7. Kern County residents have until May 23 to register to vote in that election.