“Our campaign isn’t about any one person. It’s about people who are struggling across our state,” the Democrat said in an advertisement announcing his campaign. “California should be a place where everyone has a chance to succeed.”
He joins an already crowded race for governor, though the election is more than three years away. California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and former state Controller Betty Yee, both Democrats, also announced their 2026 bids for governor. Democratic State Treasurer Fiona Ma, who previously said she would run for governor, announced earlier this year that she is running for lieutenant governor.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom cannot seek a third term.
Before Thurmond became the state’s superintendent in 2019, he served on the West Contra Costa School Board, on the Richmond City Council and in the state Assembly. In 2021, he came under criticism after helping to hire his friend, a psychologist who lived in Philadelphia, as the state’s first superintendent of equity, Politico reported. The official later resigned.