The race to fill a potentially vacant East Bay state Assembly seat got underway almost immediately after Gov. Gavin Newsom tapped Assemblyman Rob Bonta on Wednesday to be California's next attorney general.
By day's end on Thursday, three candidates in one of California's most liberal districts announced plans to run. And more contenders are almost certain to join the accelerated campaign before a special election takes place this summer.
"It’s a mad scramble because it’s not a traditional cycle," said Bill Wong, political director of the California Assembly Democrats. "There's probably going to be a lot of interest, because it’s a really progressive seat and there’s a lot of local electeds there."
Vacant legislative seats in the deep-blue East Bay tend to draw fervent interest from candidates: In 2018, an opening in the adjacent 15th Assembly District drew a field of a dozen hopefuls.
Already, three candidates have declared that they will enter the race to replace Bonta if he is confirmed: social justice attorney Janani Ramachandran, Alameda City Councilmember Malia Vella, and James Aguilar, a San Leandro Unified School District Board trustee.