Mia Bonta Declares Victory Over Attorney Janani Ramachandran in California Special Election for Assembly District 18 Seat
American social justice attorney Janani Ramachandran. (photo courtesy of Janani Ramachandran)
India-West Staff Reporter
Janani Ramachandran, an Indian American attorney running in a special election Aug. 31 to fill California’s state Assembly District 18 seat, appears to have lost the race to Mia Bonta, wife of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, according to a kron4.com report Sept. 2.
The report said Bonta declared victory after receiving 56% of the vote with more than 63,000 ballots having been counted.
The results of the special election will be certified officially by Sept. 10, AP reported.
Bonta will be replacing her husband, Rob Bonta, who left the Legislature in April after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed him to fill the state’s top law enforcement post.
AP added in a report from Oakland, California, on Aug. 31: The wife of California Attorney General Rob Bonta was leading in early returns Aug. 31 night as she sought his old San Francisco Bay Area legislative seat in a special election against a fellow Democrat.
After polls closed, Mia Bonta had just over 55% of the vote, compared to about 45% for her opponent, Janani Ramachandran, with about 46,000 votes counted.
Mia Bonta is backed by a powerful coalition of political, business and union leaders that Ramachandran says makes her beholden to special interests.
Bonta had 38% of the vote in the June primary, well short of the majority she needed to win outright and avoid a runoff with Ramachandran, who finished second with 25%. Under California’s election system the top two vote-getters move on the general election regardless of their party affiliation.
Two-thirds of voters in the 18th Assembly District are registered Democrats. Rob Bonta won with 87% support in each of his last four elections.
Mia Bonta is president of the Alameda School Board and chief executive of Oakland Promise, a college and career preparation program in the city’s public schools. She raised nearly three times as much as her opponent and benefited from four independent expenditure committees that spent nearly $1 million on her behalf.
Ramachandran, 29, is a social justice attorney, previously served on the Oakland Public Ethics Commission and currently serves on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs. She is backed by the Legislature’s Asian and Pacific Islander and LGBTQ caucuses and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna.
Ramachandran says Bonta isn’t progressive enough for the 18th District that includes a large swath of Oakland.
“My opponent may have the corporations on her side – but what we have is much more powerful: the power of the people,” Ramachandran said in backing “a true living wage, Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, rooting racism out of our criminal-legal systems, and ending inhumane evictions.”
A previous India-West report added: Ramachandran is a San Francisco East Bay native and daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from a small South Indian village who worked tirelessly every day to give her the opportunity to pursue her dreams, her bio notes.
Ramachandran’s passion for justice was evident at an early age. At 16, while relocating to India for a few years, she founded a nonprofit that built libraries in under-resourced schools in her local community.
After graduating from Stanford University, she worked as a home-visiting case manager at a community health clinic, serving immigrant mothers experiencing domestic violence and homelessness.
Ramachandran notes that she is running for state Assembly because the time for timid ideas is over.
“We need bold solutions and leaders with the courage to fight for them,” the campaign site said. “With your help, we can put the people first in Sacramento and have California’s first South Asian Assemblywoman, and first LGBTQ API Assemblywoman – by electing Janani Ramachandran, who is fearless in the fight for justice.”
Ramachandran told India-West in an earlier interview that she hopes to dedicate her life to being a public servant. “I’m running not just be any other Democrat. I’m running to lift up the voices of unheard people in our community, including South Asians,” she said. (See India-West interview here: https://bit.ly/3jzhtzV)