The superintendent, who has previously received endorsement from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, has said that he was seriously considering a run for governor. He registered "Tony Thurmond for Governor 2026" in July.
Thus far, "Tony Thurmond for Governor 2026" has obtained contributions from the Union of American Physicians and Dentists Sacramento, according to a June 31 filing. On Monday, it reported contributions from a committee associated with a former California assembly member, "Jim Frazier for Assembly 2022," who has previously endorsed both Newsom and Thurmond.
Tony Thurmond election documents (FOX News Digital).
Thurmond was recently accused by a school board president – Sonia Shaw – of interrupting a Chino Valley meeting, breaking its rules for a "laughable" campaign stunt. Thurmond was kicked out while being escorted by security.
Thurmond had shown up to decry policies that would inform parents about their child's mental health, including their gender status, as parents on the left and right around the country express outrage about secretive transitions in public schools.
"You'll not bully us," Shaw said. "We're here because of people like you. You're… proposing things that pervert children."
Thurmond has also been accused of creating a toxic work environment, in which he humiliated and intimidated staff, according to allegations in a September 2021 article from POLITICO.
California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond speaks with security. (FOX News Digital)
"It’s not the California Department of Education. It’s Tony Thurmond’s campaign headquarters. It’s not about the students of California," a former employee told the outlet.
"People are coming and going, trying to survive working under him, and it’s getting to the point where who is going to be left to get things done? The last thing you want to do is work for him," another former staffer said.
The staffer added that some of Thurmond's policies were placing more power in the hands of Newsom.
"The long-term end result… might be that more and more of the operations of the department come under the control of the governor," they said.
A Thurmond spokesperson denied the allegations from the POLITICO article, adding that "he is passionate about education in part because of his experience as ’an orphan and foster youth.'"
Thurmond's office did not immediately respond to request for comment.
As superintendent, Thurmond has prioritized equity.
In June, Thurmond announced an initiative to leverage hundreds of millions spent on textbooks to demand more current narratives.
"Many of our textbooks haven’t kept up with that diversity. This is a chance to diversify those narratives," Thurmond said. "This is all happening against the backdrop of where you have governors in other states literally trying to strip out any representation about race, about the experience of LGBTQ+ students… California’s going in the other direction."