California Senate Leader Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) launched her campaign for Governor on Friday, looking to succeed Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2026.
Atkins joins a field that already includes Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, former Controller Betty Yee and could possibly include Attorney General Rob Bonta as well.
The big picture: Atkins, the President pro tempore of the Senate, got her start in the Legislature in 2010 when she was elected to the Assembly.
- After rising to Speaker of the Assembly in 2014, she was elected to the State Senate in 2016 and was selected as the President pro tempore in 2018.
- She is the first woman to lead the California Senate.
What they’re saying: “It’s time for California to finally elect a woman governor,” Atkins said at her campaign launch on Friday in San Diego. “As the most qualified candidate running for governor, who also happens to be a woman, I agree.”