Does he want to be called California Gov. Rob Bonta?
California’s attorney general last week told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Emily Hoeven that he is “seriously considering” a run for the seat that Gov. Gavin Newsom will vacate in 2026. The Bee was unable to independently confirm that statement.
While Bonta has yet to form a candidate campaign committee for the office, he would be a formidable challenger should he choose to run. In 2022, Bonta, who was appointed by Newsom, won an election to a full term as attorney general with 57% of the vote.
If elected, he would be the first Filipino American to serve as California governor.
He wouldn’t be the first California attorney general to use the position as a springboard to higher office. Kamala Harris rose from attorney general to U.S. senator and later vice president. Xavier Becerra, Bonta’s immediate predecessor, left the office to serve as President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Should Bonta, a Democrat, choose to run for governor, he would join two others who have already announced their intentions.
In April, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and former State Controller Betty Yee, also Democrats, both announced they want to become the first woman to serve as California governor.
Prior to being California attorney general, Bonta served in the Assembly from 2012 to 2021.
Like Newsom, Bonta is an outspoken critic of other states’ Republican administrations; he has used his position on several occasions to challenge state laws that would loosen restrictions on firearm purchases or create new restrictions on abortion access or LGBTQ equality.
Bonta’s wife, Mia Bonta, replaced him in the Assembly.