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California Lieutenant Governor Launches 2026 Campaign

If Elected, Eleni Kounalakis Would Be The First Woman To Assume The Governor's Office In California

On Monday, Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis announced her campaign to seek governorship in the Golden State in 2026.

The Lt. Governor is the first Californian to launch a 2026 campaign for Governor and, if elected, Kounalakis would be the first woman to assume the Governor’s office in California.

Kounalakis was elected to serve as Lt. Governor of the Golden State in the November 2018 midterm and assumed office in January 2019 alongside former San Francisco mayor and current Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Today I’m launching my campaign to become the next Governor of the great state of CA,” wrote Kounalakis. “My family [and] I owe everything to our state.”

“I will fight fiercely to make sure EVERY Californian has the chance to walk the path of the CA dream just like I have.”

“The challenges that California has require leaders who are decisive, who have experience and who have a track record of getting things done,” Kounalakis told Politico in an exclusive interview. “You really have to start early. I’m committed to this. I’m ready to run it.”

Kounalakis has reportedly informed Governor Newsom of her intention to seek governorship, according to the outlet.

“We’re in a time where women’s rights are being attacked in ways that were inconceivable before Donald Trump won,” she said. “I am the first woman elected lieutenant governor of California, and God willing, I will be the first woman elected governor.”

During her tenure, she has assumed acting governorship over a dozen times during Newsom’s absence.

Last year, the Lt. Governor became the first woman to sign a bill into law in California while Newsom was on a family vacation in Central and South America.

“She is not a cookie-cutter politician,” said former California Senator Barbara Boxer. “I hate to say it’s kind of rare in politics — it’s the old fashioned way. If somebody gave you their word, it was their word. She’s like that. She’s authentic.”
Boxer added: “She’s not like the usual politician who is going to run and you ask them and they say, ‘I haven’t made up my mind, I’m talking it over with my family, yada, yada, yada.’ She’s very clear. She doesn’t give you a word salad.”
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