Tony Thurmond will run for governor in 2026. (Courtesy photo)

State School Superintendent Tony Thurmond has announced that he’s entering the 2026 race for governor of California.

In commercials and email messages, Thurmond describes himself as a “proud father, Afro-Latino and longtime public servant who’s fought for Californians on my local school board, city council, in the state assembly and for the last five years as state superintendent – running the largest public education system in America.”

Emphasizing his immigrant roots, the superintendent highlighted memorable episodes that shaped his life such as the death of his mother when he was six years old and growing up poor, dependent on food stamps.  Despite these challenges, Thurmond said that he excelled thanks to public education, which he called “the great equalizer.”

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“It’s what enabled an orphan with no money, power or influence to grab onto opportunities and build a pathway to a better life. I’ve spent my life fighting to ensure all Californians have those opportunities – which is why I’m running to be the next governor of California,” declared Thurmond.
Among the issues that Thurmond aims to address if elected are poverty, homelessness, jobs, home ownership, improved schools and climate change.  He noted that people are struggling even though “California is the fifth largest economy in the world and home to some of the wealthiest people on the planet.”

Thurmond insists, “Home ownership is an unreachable dream. Schools are underfunded, and children are being used as pawns for extremist dogma that denies racism and attacks LGBTQ+ students. The climate is only growing hotter and disproportionately impacting the working poor. Our children are gunned down by weapons of war.
“And let’s face it, friend. Washington is too gridlocked to tackle these challenges with the urgency they deserve – and you’d better believe a growing right-wing movement is well-equipped to flip California red and send our state backward.

Appealing to the public to support his campaign, Thurmond said, “Together, we can raise the minimum wage and create jobs that pay the bills. We can build additional paths to home ownership, affordable rents and more housing altogether. We can take weapons of war off our streets, transition to cleaner energy faster and build safe, inclusive communities for everybody. We’ll make this state a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”

Thurmond has a long record of public service. A native of Monterey, California, he served four years representing the 15th Assembly District before being elected state superintendent of public instruction in 2018.  Prior to that position, Thurmond was a member of the Richmond City Council and a member of the board of the West Contra Cost Unified School District. Also, served a City Council liaison to the City of Richmond’s Youth Commission and workforce Investment Board.

A graduate of Temple University, Thurmond also earned a Master of Arts and Master of Social Work degrees from Bryn Mawr College.

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