State Treasurer John Chiang has opened a campaign committee to raise money for the 2018 governor’s race, his political strategist announced.
Chiang, 53, served two terms as state controller before being elected treasurer in 2014. He is the latest in a number of prominent Democrats who have announced their intention to run for governor or are at least considering the job. Those include Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, hedge-fund founder and billionaire Tom Steyer and Steve Westly, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former state controller.
Chiang, pronounced “Chung,” is a former IRS tax attorney and member of the state Board of Equalization. He has been considering making the run for several months.
Political consultant Parke Skelton said Chiang formed the campaign committee late Monday.
Chiang, a Democrat, ran for state Controller in 2006, winning a primary battle despite being heavily outspent, and engaged in a battle with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, who wanted to cut the pay of state workers in order to deal with red ink in the state budget.
Chiang was re-elected in 2010. In 2014, he was handily elected State Treasurer with 57.7% of the vote, the largest margin of any of the seven down-ticket statewide races, Skelton noted.
The son of Taiwan immigrants, Chiang was born in New York City and grew up in Chicago. Chiang has a law degree from Georgetown University.
At Carl Sandburg High School in Chicago, Chiang was vice president of the student body, while the president at the time was Dave Jones, now California’s elected insurance commissioner and a candidate in 2018 for state attorney general. The two have remained friends over the years.
Incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown, 77, also a Democrat, is in the midst of his fourth term. He served two terms from 1975 to 1983 before voter-approved term limits went into effect, and then was elected to a third term in 2010. He was reelected last year.