Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles
says her campaign for the 15th Assembly
District will not accept corporate donations.

With 15th District Assemblymember Tony Thurmond running for state superintendent next year, Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles is the first to officially announce a campaign to be his replacement in the Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland Hills assembly seat.

In a primary race likely dominated by progressive candidates, Beckles’ touts a record supporting rent control in Richmond, protecting its immigrant population, and raising the citywide minimum wage, among other progressive actions. Her campaign also announced it will not accept political contributions from corporations.

Beckles is a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and a constant opponent of the Chevron refinery, the city’s largest employer and historically dominant political force.

Although Beckles announced her candidacy Thursday, Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb filed an intent to run for the seat in March, but has not made an official public announcement. Kalb filed for the assembly seat before Thurmond announced his campaign for state superintendent last month, saying the move was made in the event Thurmond did not run for re-election.

Beckles also opened a campaign account the state secretary of state’s office today, in addition, to unveiling a short list of early endorsements, including Berkeley Councilmember Kriss Worthington, former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, Richmond Councilmember Ben Choi, and Oakland school board member Shanhti Gonzales.

Thurmond’s decision to forego a certain re-election next year after being first elected in 2014, is likely to attract a larger number of primary candidates seeking to be his successor. In large part, due to the scarcity of open seats in the Legislature following the extension of term limits from 8 to 12 years in 2012 and the enormous power of the incumbency for Democrats in Sacramento.

Candidates from the Berkeley City Council, in addition, to Beckles’ own Richmond City Council is widely rumored to be also eyeing a run in the 15th District next year.