Janani Ramachandran lost against Mia Bonta in a special California State Assembly District 18 election held August 31, but the Indian American has not lost hope.
She will run again, Ramachandran told indica News. “I don’t know what exactly the future holds for me, but I do plan to run for office again,” she said.
Ramachandran, 28, who calls herself a “people person” and “not a politician,” is a Democrat and ran a tough and challenging race against Bonta, Democrat, who received 43,460 votes; Ramachandran received 33,012.
Assemblymember Bonta’s terms end 2022. She is the wife of former Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who was in April appointed as state attorney general by California Governor Gavin Newsom, leading to the special election after Rob vacated the Assembly 18 seat.
“My biggest challenge was not having enough funds,” Ramachandran told indica News. “Although we raised over $460K, my opponent raised over $2.2 million.
“Unfortunately, we live in a political system where money buys elections, especially when big corporations get involved,” she said. “The gambling industry, the beer industry, big pharma, police unions and more were big contributors to my opponent’s campaign. I am still proud of the fact that my opponent spent over $70 dollars per vote gained, versus us spending around $12 per vote.”
She said that in addition, her opponent had the support of the “establishment” — including the Democratic Party and organized labor — “and major name recognition because her husband Rob Bonta is our State Attorney General, and most recently held this very seat for the past decade.
“Nevertheless, I am so proud to have run a strong grassroots campaign,” said Ramachandran, an alumna of Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Her career experience includes working as a social justice attorney. She has also served on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs and the Oakland Public Ethics Commission.
Pointing to the support she had, she said that she had 1,000 volunteers, the endorsements of 54 organizations and over 100 elected officials — including Congressman Ro Khanna — and community leaders.
“We defeated the odds of making it to the top 2 when no one expected us to,” said Ramachandran pointing to defeating six contenders in the primary election. “We shocked the establishment, truly. We proved that a grassroots campaign — not funded by big corporations and special interests — could get as far as 44% of the vote.”