(KTXL) — California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced Monday she is running to be elected the next governor of California in 2026.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was reelected in November, is ineligible to run for governor again due to term limits set in the state’s constitution.
Kounalakis was first elected to her current position alongside Gov. Newsom in 2018 and won her reelection in 2022 with nearly 60% of the vote.
Prior to serving as lieutenant governor, Kounalakis served as an ambassador to Hungary in the Obama administration from 2010 to 2013.
“My gratitude for the possibilities our beautiful Golden State has offered and my passion for ensuring every family has the same shot at a brighter future led me to begin my career in public service,” Kounalakis said. “As Lieutenant Governor, I’ve worked hard to make our state work better for all Californians — making college more affordable, fighting against climate change, and championing abortion rights and gender equality.”
Kounalakis regularly serves as acting governor when Newsom leaves the state.