3 more candidates enter race for CA State Assembly District 15 seat

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Three more candidates have entered the already tight race for the California State Assembly District 15 seat, bringing the total number of candidates up to 12.

Richmond-based attorney Raquella Thaman, software engineer Sergey Piterman and UC Berkeley sophomore Pranav Jandhyala recently filed to run for the position.

Jandhyala announced his candidacy in mid-January and is running as the only Republican on the ballot, while both Thaman and Piterman, as well as the other 10 candidates, are listed as Democrats.

Thaman announced her candidacy Feb. 5, and her platforms are centered on removing “big money” from politics, securing universal minimum income, reforming Proposition 13 to direct more funding to public schools and addressing the housing crisis in the East Bay.

She said her biggest challenge will be her late entry into the race and her pledge to only take money from individuals rather than corporations. She added that she entered the race to show how far someone can get without raising huge amounts of money.

“There is a large amount of special interest money going into this race,” Thaman said. “The power should be put back in the hands of the people.”

Piterman, a UC Berkeley alumnus, announced his candidacy Wednesday. His platform is based on liquid democracy, which he said “bridges the gap” between a representative democracy and a direct democracy.

Piterman plans to use a program called United.vote, through which voters would be able to contact representatives and follow their voting record, which he hopes will modernize the political process.

“I want to create more of a back and forth between constituents and representatives using (United.vote),” Piterman said. “I hope (liquid democracy) is the platform everyone will be running on in the future.”

Thaman, Piterman and Jandhyala join a growing group of candidates vying for the District 15 Assembly seat, including East Bay activist Cheryl Sudduth, who said the diversity of candidates is “imperative” so voters “can make informed choices.”

Contact Amanda Bradford at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @amandabrad_uc.