Vivek Viswanathan in Del Mar
Vivek Viswanathan after running from Camp Pendleton to Del Mar. Image from campaign video

State treasurer candidate Vivek Viswanathan is set to complete a 625-mile series of runs from Sacramento to the U.S.-Mexico border in Imperial Beach Saturday.

Viswanathan plans to run approximately 8.5 miles from Marina View Park in Chula Vista to Border Field State Park.

He ran approximately 12 miles Friday from Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to Marina View Park, his campaign’s creative director, Annie Khoa, told City News Service.

Viswanathan began the runs March 10 on the steps of the treasurer’s office in Sacramento. He said he was conducting the runs because of a belief that by “going through communities on foot and experiencing how people are living, what’s on their minds, we can make a big difference.”

The runs took him through the state’s Central Valley and Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

The tactic is reminiscent of the 1,003-mile, 91-day walk across Florida taken by Lawton Chiles in 1970 that catapulted him from a state senator largely unknown outside his district to a victory in a race for the United States Senate.

Dan Walker conducted a 1,197-mile walk across Illinois during his successful 1972 gubernatorial campaign.

The tactic was employed less successfully by then-Rep. Jerome Waldie, who finished fifth in the 1974 California Democratic gubernatorial primary won by Jerry Brown.

Viswanathan, 31, was a policy adviser for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and a special adviser in the office of Gov. Jerry Brown from 2017 through January.

He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard in 2009, a master’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge University in 2010 and an MBA and law degree from Stanford in 2014.

Viswanathan is among five candidates in Tuesday’s election seeking to succeed John Chiang, who is running for governor. The other top candidates are fellow Democrat Fiona Ma, a member of the State Board of Equalization, and Republican Greg Conlon, a businessman who lost to Chiang in 2014.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.