California schools chief Tony Thurmond announces 2026 run for governor

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Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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California's top schools official on Tuesday announced he is running for governor in 2026.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond kicked off his bid for the governorship with the release of a video that his campaign said focused on his life story and overcoming adversity: "being without his parents from a young age, growing up in poverty, working his way through school, becoming a social worker and eventually running the largest public school system in America."

Thurmond has been elected statewide twice, in 2018 and most recently in 2022, when he earned 63.7% and 5,681,318 votes.

Prior to serving as California's superintendent of public instruction, Thurmond served in the State Assembly, and before then on the Richmond City Council and the West Contra Costa School Board.

Tony Thurmond
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond speaks outside of Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Chula Vista.
AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Beyond his service in public office, his campaign noted, Thurmond is a public school parent, a former social worker and a public educator.

Gov. Gavin Newsom cruised to a second term last year and has swatted away chatter that he could be considering a White House bid. He will be termed out in January 2027.

ABC News contributed to this report.