Antonio Ray Harvey, Tanu Henry and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

On Sept. 26, California Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) Tony Thurmond released a video announcing that he is running for governor in 2026.

In the video, Thurmond, 55, said his candidacy is “about people.”

“California has had a lot of governors,” Thurmond states in the introduction of his announcement. “My story is nothing like theirs.”

“I didn’t come from money, power or influence,” he continued. “Mom emigrated from Panama and became a classroom teacher, but died when I was six years old. My dad served the nation but left us after the Vietnam war.”

Raised by his mother’s cousin, Thurmond, who represented Richmond in the State Legislature from 2014 to 2018, shared the many lessons he learned from his childhood — about the value of hard work, pushing through adverse circumstances and focusing on success.

Also in the race for governor are Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounilakis and former California state Controller Betty Yee.