One of the Bay Area's most-watched congressional races got a lot more crowded by Friday's candidacy filing deadline.

The challenge to Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, from well-funded fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont has been making national headlines since last April.

Dr. Vanila Singh, a Republican from Fremont, entered the 17th Congressional District race in January. But two other candidates completed their filings by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline: Google attorney Vinesh Singh Rathore, an independent from San Jose, and tech recruiting executive Joel Vanlandingham, a Republican from San Jose. That could be bad news for Khanna, whose strategy includes appealing to voters across party lines.

A similar 11th-hour curveball came in the East Bay's 15th Congressional District, where freshman incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, is being challenged not only by fellow Democrat and state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, as expected, but also by Alameda County Republican Party vice chairman Hugh Bussell, a software content development manager from Livermore.

Both districts have heavy voter-registration advantages for Democrats, but the state's "top two" primary system -- in which candidates of all parties compete directly in June's primary and the top two vote-getters advance to November, regardless of party affiliation -- means any candidate might help tip the balance in favor of another.


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Candidates hoping to succeed Corbett in the 10th state Senate District include Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont; former Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, a Hayward Democrat; Roman Reed, a Fremont Democrat; Peter Kuo, a Santa Clara County Republican; and Audie Bock of Hayward, who switched from Green to independent while serving in the Assembly, was later a Democrat and now is a Republican. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Roy Hashimoto took out candidacy papers for this race but did not return them by Friday.

Wieckowski's Senate bid leaves the 25th Assembly District seat up for grabs. Filing for that seat by Friday were former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler, San Jose Councilman Kansen Chu, Milpitas Councilman Armando Gomez and Ohlone College Trustee Teresa Cox of Fremont, all Democrats, as well as former Ohlone Trustee Bob Brunton, a Republican from Fremont.

Vying to succeed termed-out Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner in the 15th Assembly District, Democrats Elizabeth Echols of Oakland, Sam Kang of Emeryville and Tony Thurmond of Richmond filed as expected, as did Republican Richard Kinney of San Pablo. Attorney and East Bay Municipal Utility District board member Andy Katz, a Berkeley Democrat, had planned to run but decided against it. However, the last few weeks saw a rush of new candidates: attorney Pamela Price, an Oakland Democrat; staffing company owner Clarence Hunt, an Oakland Democrat; and retired professor Eugene Ruyle, an Oakland Peace and Freedom Party member. In addition, Cal adjunct professor and Berkeley Democrat Bernt Rainer Wahl's papers were still being reviewed Friday night.

There were no late entries to the race to succeed termed-out Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, in the 16th Assembly District. Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich and Steve Glazer, all Democrats, filed as expected, as did attorney Catherine Baker, a Republican from Dublin.

In Alameda County, Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan is retiring after 16 years in office, and four hope to succeed her: Karen Monroe, the county's associate superintendent of education services; Jeff Bowser, the Pleasanton Unified School District's board president; Helen Foster, a San Lorenzo Unified School District board member; and San Leandro Councilwoman Ursula Reed.

Incumbent county Auditor Patrick O'Connell faces a challenge from Steve Manning, now O'Connell's chief deputy. But county supervisors Wilma Chan and Richard Valle plus three county board of education members, 22 superior court judges, the assessor, the district attorney, the sheriff/coroner and the treasurer-tax collector all are running unopposed.

In Contra Costa County, Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell faces Ayore Riaunda, a financial manager in the county's Health Services department. Also, two candidates will vie to replace county Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick, who is retiring: deputy superintendent Karen Sakata of Alamo and Linda Delahunt, a retired education program manager from Orinda.

Contra Costa County supervisors John Gioia and Karen Mitchoff are unopposed for re-election, as are the district attorney, sheriff-coroner, assessor, clerk-recorder and treasurer.

Staff writers Doug Oakley and Jeremy Thomas contributed to this report. Contact Josh Richman at 510-208-6428 and follow him at Twitter.com/josh_richman. Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.