East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta is endorsing billionaire Tom Steyer for president, it was announced Wednesday.
Bonta, who represents Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro in the Assembly, lauded Steyer for his leadership in standing up to Big Oil, along with a belief that Steyer can beat President Trump on the issue of the economy.
“Tom Steyer has a record fighting for communities in the Bay Area, and beyond,” Bonta said, in a statement. “Tom Steyer is willing to go to battle for what is right, even in the face of resistance as he demonstrated with his work fighting the fossil fuel industry.”
“Tom is the only candidate that can go head to head with Trump on the economy and win,” Bonta added. Steyer’s work in criminal justice reform also led Bonta to endorse his dark-horse candidacy, along with Steyer being one of the first to call for the impeachment of Trump.
Bonta’s choice to endorse Steyer is somewhat of a surprise given the strong progressive flavor of his assembly district, perhaps the bluest in all of California. Especially when progressives in the district have two strong candidates to choose from, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
In 2016, Bonta endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and was an early supporter of Sen. Kamala Harris’ run for president that ended abruptly last December.
In the aftermath of Harris dropping out, several candidates began reaching out to Bonta and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, also an early Harris supporter.
Bonta told the East Bay Citizen in December that Steyer was one of the presidential candidates who personally reached out to him.
Unlike Bonta, Schaaf said last month that she would not offer a presidential endorsement, and would instead support whoever is the Democratic Party’s nominee.