By Adam Beam | Related Press
SACRAMENTO — The chief of the California Senate on Friday stated she would run for governor in 2026, getting into a marketing campaign that’s removed from the minds of voters however is rapidly filling with candidates in a state that requires frequent fundraising to compete in among the nation’s most costly media markets.
Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, made historical past as solely the third particular person and the primary lady to carry each of the state Legislature’s high jobs — speaker of the Meeting and president professional tempore of the Senate.
Atkins remains to be within the latter position, however plans to step down early subsequent month as she enters the ultimate yr of her time period and can’t search reelection due to time period limits.
California, regardless of its progressive popularity, has by no means had a girl or an overtly LGBTQ governor. Atkins, who’s a lesbian, may very well be each. However she’ll need to compete in opposition to a robust area of Democrats, together with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, former Controller Betty Yee and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. Lawyer Common Rob Bonta can also be contemplating a run to succeed present Gov. Gavin Newsom, who can’t search a 3rd time period.
Kounalakis, Thurmond, Yee and Bonta take pleasure in showing — and profitable — in a statewide election, that means voters will likely be acquainted them. Atkins has solely ever been elected by voters in San Diego.
However she is well-versed within the inside workings of the Capitol and policymaking. She has negotiated multibillion-dollar budgets and main laws with two governors. And he or she has a compelling private story — rising up in a home with no working water in rural Virginia earlier than making her method out West and turning into one of the vital highly effective elected officers within the state.
“I definitely don’t match the mildew of previous governors and even among the candidates that will likely be on this race,” Atkins stated. “I’m going to lean on my story, as a result of I believe Californians are going to need somebody extra like them.”
Atkins got here to California in 1985 to assist look after her sister’s younger son. She later labored at a ladies’s well being clinic that carried out abortions earlier than getting elected to the San Diego Metropolis Council. She had a short stint as mayor earlier than getting elected to the state Meeting in 2010 and the state Senate in 2016.
Within the Legislature she labored with former Gov. Jerry Brown and Newsom to craft a collection of budgets marked by multibillion-dollar surpluses. That ended final yr when the state had a multibillion-dollar deficit.
Newsom has steadfastly refused sweeping tax will increase to stability the funds — one thing Atkins, too, stated she would attempt to steer clear of if she have been elected governor.
“We wish to protect what we’ve finished. It took a variety of work,” Atkins stated. “I might not gravitate towards elevating taxes on this second. I don’t assume it’s referred to as for but.”