Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is backing California Democratic Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis's bid to succeed Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) in 2026.
Kounalakis announced in April she would be running for the governorship, as Newsom is term-limited and is unable to run for reelection in 2026.
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"Eleni has proven to be a fierce leader," Clinton said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times. "That's the California way, and in 2026, that will be the Eleni Kounalakis way."
"Honored to have the support of two of our country's toughest glass-ceiling breakers," Kounalakis tweeted Thursday, paying homage to Clinton and former California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has also endorsed her gubernatorial bid.
Kounalakis has been a longtime major donor for Clinton, raising more than $1 million for Hillary's first presidential campaign in 2008, according to the Washington Free Beacon. She also served as a California co-chair of Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016.
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Kounalakis made history in 2018 as the first woman elected to be lieutenant governor of California and became the first woman in the Golden State to sign a bill into law while serving as acting governor when Newsom was away in 2022. She would become California's first female governor if elected.
"I will fight fiercely to build a future where everyone — regardless of race, class, or immigration status — has the same opportunity that my family and I had," Kounalakis said in a statement with her campaign launch.
Original Location: Hillary Clinton makes endorsement in 2026 California governor's race to replace Newsom
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