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By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 19, 2024 (San Diego) -- San Diego’s Toni Atkins yesterday signaled she would run for governor, and several news outlets say her announcement is expected today.

Atkins, 61, a Democrat who rose through the ranks of city politics to become the first gay leader of the state Senate, has filed paperwork to begin raising money for a gubernatorial bid in 2026.

The Sacramento Bee said her campaign had scheduled a “major announcement” in San Diego on Friday, which is expected to be at a press conference in Balboa Park. Times of San Diego will cover the announcement.

Announced candidates for governor — to succeed termed out Gavin Newsom — include fellow Democrats Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond.

Attorney General Rob Bonta has also said he’s considering a gubernatorial bid, the Bee reported.

Last November, Atkins told The Associated Press that she was “interested in looking at that [governor race] possibility.”

At the California Democratic Party fall convention, Atkins told The Sacramento Bee: “Governors work with legislators to get things done. I’ve done the policy work, I’ve done the budget work. And it really is a unique experience to be able to work with those different parties — the speaker, the pro tem, the governor. I feel like I’ve got experience with each. And for me, experience matters.”

Atkins terms out of the state Legislature in December. In 2021, Voice of San Diego reported that Atkins launched a fundraising committee for a lieutenant governor bid in 2026 “and has been raising thousands of dollars from groups locally and from across the state and country.”

On Thursday, Sacramento TV station KCRA said it tried to ask Atkins about her Friday announcement.

“I look forward to talking to you,” she said.

In September, The San Diego Union-Tribune praised Atkins in an editorial.

“Atkins — who lives in South Park with her spouse, Jennifer, and their dogs, Joey and Mia — has had some disappointments,” the U-T said. “Perhaps most notably, her push to set up a comprehensive universal single-payer health care system for all residents of the state faltered over concerns about the cost.”

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