Alameda County deputy probation officer Tojo Thomas is perhaps best known as the former candidate who made his opponent, county Supervisor Nate Miley, lose his cool.
Voters in the 2012 supervisorial race, however, overwhelmingly supported the incumbent over Thomas. Four years later Thomas failed to win a seat on the Castro Valley school board.
But Congress is a new opportunity, said Thomas, who announced his run for Congress in the 15th District on Facebook Wednesday, after Rep. Eric Swalwell announced April 8 that he is running for president. Swalwell has said he will not run for re-election, if he runs for president. Swalwell, though, has made comments recently suggesting his stance could be malleable.
Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab also announced her candidacy for the March 2020 primary in the 15th District. State Sen. Bob Wieckowski said he will establish an exploratory committee for his own run.
Thomas plans to run on a campaign platform that focuses on immigration, tax reform, and gun safety.
Thomas, himself, immigrated from India at the age of 18. “I have personally seen what it takes to be a successful immigrant reaching for the American Dream,” he wrote.
A recent $3,400 tax bill was the impetus for Thomas to push for a roll back of President Trump’s tax breaks. “It is not helping our middle-class families as promised. Instead, it was set up for the top one percent,” he wrote.
He will also advocate for an assault weapons ban, also proposed by Swalwell.
Although Thomas won just over 27 percent of the vote in the 2012 race against Miley, he proved to be a thorn in the supervisor’s side throughout the spring campaign.
Thomas heaped allegations of impropriety on Miley, at the time. They included Miley’s involvement in the sudden dissolution of a county program for the poor, the hiring of a chief probation officer who later was accused of sexual harassment, and reports Miley was using campaign contributions to pay a portion of his health club dues at the Claremont Hotel.
During one debate, Miley lashed out at Thomas and told his opponent that he did not respect him. Thomas also lacked experience for the job of county supervisor, Miley added. But Thomas shot back, telling Miley, “I don’t have experience in corruption.”