Janani Ramachandran, an Indian-American democrat who is running for the California State Assembly, has accused the California Democratic Party of rigging the endorsement vote over the July 4 weekend that her opponent won.
In the special primary election, she earned the second-highest votes after her opponent, Mia Bonta, the wife of California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
Ramachandran during the primary election on June 29 got 14,036 votes. Mia Bonta, the wife of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, got 22,558. That makes Ramachandran eligible to run for the final election on August 31.
Ramachandran, 28, is running from the 18th Assembly District. If elected, she will be the first Indian-American LGBTQ person to hold the state legislative seat.
On July 7, her campaign filed an official objection to the California Democratic Party endorsement decision of Mia Bonta, alleging irregularities within the party and the way the party “rushed” the endorsement vote over the holiday weekend.
Ramachandran believes that the way party endorsed Mia is a clear violation of the party’s own conflict of interest rules. The party, she alleges, allowed delegates who have been accused of forgery to cast ballots without first investigating those serious allegations.
“They didn’t even hear our case,” Ramachandran told indica News, referring to the party and the complaint she has filed.
Ramachandran said “we lost” the endorsement but the campaign will go on.
Asked if she plans to go to court, she said: “No, I would focus on the campaign.”
She alleged Rob Bonta’s conflict of interest “very”clearly violated the Democratic party’s own bylaws. “They ignored it,” she said.
But why did the Democratic Party Endorsement Appeals Committee not listen? “Because corruption and nepotism is entrenched in the party and they were not interested in following fair process. It was a rigged endorsement vote,” Ramachandran told indica News.
According to the press note sent by Ramachandran, her campaign and 20 percent of the Assembly Distrit 18 delegates urged the committee to investigate Rob Bonta’s conflict of interest violation and “credible accusations that Mia Bonta and her mother committed voter fraud and forged signatures during the party’s previous endorsement vote.”
But the EAC, made up of party executive leadership, didn’t even discuss the voter fraud accusations or alleged signature forging, and the conflict-of-interest violation was brushed aside.
Ramachandran alleges that because the vote was rushed without due process and fairness to both sides, “delegates did not have time to consider vital issues, including why members of the Bonta campaign – including Mia Bonta and her mother – who have publicly been accused of forging a signature in the most recent party endorsement process were allowed to vote before the allegations were investigated.”
Among other vital issues, she cited “how Rob Bonta violated the party’s own rules against conflict of interest while campaigning for his family member without disclosing his financial interests, as he is required to do.”
She also asked “if Rob Bonta’s last-minute packing of the endorsing body with family members and staff violates the party’s own rules or other regulations on self-dealing and conflict of interest.”
The Attorney General’s conduct appears to be a clear violation of CDP bylaws, particularly the rules regarding disclosing conflicts of interest and self-dealing, Ramachandran said in the press statement.
“The party violated its own rules by rushing a vote without notice over a holiday weekend. But much more importantly, this rush to elevate Mia Bonta prevented a fair and thorough discussion of the serious allegations of forgery and what appear to be clear violations of conflict of interest rules,” Ramachandran said.
“The Democrats should be the party of fairness – not voter suppression and refusal to address charges of corruption and self-dealing. We are asking them to stop, investigate and get it right,” added Ramachandran, who was formerly an Oakland Public Ethics Commissioner.