Assemblymember Tony Thurmond may be
itching for a move to higher office in 2018.

After just one term representing Richmond, Berkeley and parts of Oakland in the 15th Assembly District, Tony Thurmond is showing strong interest in running for the state superintendent of public instruction seat opening in the fall of 2018, according to numerous sources with knowledge of his plans.

Rumors of Thurmond’s interest in succeeded soon-to-be termed out State Superintendent Tom Torlakson have been bandied about in recent months by many East Bay politicos.

But its validity was strongly bolstered this week after Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb filed an intention to run for Thurmond’s 15th District seat that also represents a portion of North Oakland.

There is very little enmity toward Thurmond among East Bay elected officials and he is extremely popular among his constituents. Last November, he won re-election to a second term with support of nearly 90 percent of the vote.

Oakland Councilmember
Dan Kalb

On Tuesday night, Kalb hinted at Thurmond’s possible intentions when he tweeted “Assemblymember @TonyThurmond doing a great job for #AD15. Only filed [Form] 501 just in case of vacancy.”

Kalb may not be the only one interested in potentially succeeding Thurmond. Richmond Councilmembers Jael Myrick and Jovanka Bekcles may also be interested. Other possible names include Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan; Elizabeth Echols, who lost to Thurmond in 2014; East Bay Municipal Utilities District board member Andy Katz; Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett; and according to some, even newly-elected Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin.

(Arreguin said Monday that he’s not interested in running for the Assembly next year and his “focus is on making an impact and helping move Berkeley into a new era.”)

Thurmond’s interest in helping California’s schools is not surprising. Both of his assembly campaigns had a distinctive focus on education. He also served as a West Contra Costa County Unified School District board member from 2008-2012.

Although, Thurmond has not filed any paperwork for the state superintendent race, at least one other possible candidate already has done so, according to the state secretary of state’s office. Former San Diego State Sen. Marty Block raised $23,000 in campaign contributions last August. His state superintendent campaign account listed year-end cash balance of $14,773.