California school superintendent Tony Thurmond announces run for governor

California school superintendent Tony Thurmond on Tuesday announced he's running for governor in 2026.

In a social media post, the Democrat wrote: "I didn’t come from money, power, or influence. I'm running for Governor to be a voice for those who need one — because California may be working for millionaires and billionaires but for the rest of California —  we need real change."

Thurmond's announcement was not a huge surprise.

This summer, he said he was "seriously considering" the seat and formed a committee to explore a run.

He's been much more vocal lately as well.

In July, he spoke on behalf of trans students at the conservative Chino Valley Unified School District, where he was ordered to leave. 

He didn't back down and teamed up with the Attorney General to sue the district over its policy to out trans students. 

Thurmond's video talks about how he is different from anyone else running from governor. 

He told a story about how his mother emigrated from Panama and died when he was six. His father left him and his brother after the Vietnam War. He was raised by a cousin and lived in poverty.

In his message, he said he would be a voice for those who need one, including the homeless, low-paid workers and others in need. 

Thurmond joined KTVU for an interview on Tuesday. 

"I have tremendous respect for Gov. Newsom. I think he's been a creative governor and I just think that regardless of his great leadership, our state's in a tough place and it needs to get better," Thurmond said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is termed out in 2027. 

"We must address homelessness, we must create affordable housing, and we have to address crime and safety in our cities. I've been serving for 15 years and I want to continue my mission."

Thurmond said he wants to address some 10,000 students who are homeless in the State of California, even if it is just through his campaign. Thurmond is calling for more supportive housing units for youth who are on their own. "If we don't support those youths now, they will become homeless adults." 

His plan to build more housing includes streamlining permitting. 

Acknowleging he's still in his current position for three more years, Thurmond said he wants to make it a point that students can read by third grade. "Students who don't learn to read by third grade are more likely to drop out of school," he said. He is currently overseeing a $500 million program to bring reading coaches into schools. 

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis has also said she wants to run to replace Newsom.