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Tuesday November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Lieutenant Governor

Photo of Eleni Kounalakis

Eleni Kounalakis

Businesswoman/Economic Advisor
5,914,068 votes (56.6%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • I will advance policies to build more affordable housing, reform healthcare, and prepare California’s economy for the 21st Century as the chair of the Commission for Economic Development.
  • I will work tirelessly to lower the cost of a UC and CSU education as a member of those important boards.
  • I’ll fight any expansion of offshore oil drilling as a member of the State Lands Commission.



U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, United States Department of State — Appointed position (2010–2013)


Eleni Kounalakis is a California businesswoman, a Democratic Party activist, a wife and the mother of two teenage sons, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under President Barack Obama. Eleni was raised the proud daughter of an immigrant, who started out as a farmworker, and a school teacher. She deeply believes in the values of hard work, education and political activism.

In 1992, Eleni started her career as a staff member of the California Democratic Party in Sacramento and worked in the historic election which elected two women to the U.S. Senate and turned California blue.

After the election, Eleni joined her family business, AKT Development, one of California’s most respected housing development firms. Over the next 18 years, Eleni worked her way up from project manager to president. Her work building master planned communities and delivering housing for middle-class families in the Sacramento region earned her recognition as one of Sacramento’s most prominent businesswomen.

In 2010, Eleni was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and served side-by-side President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton promoting democracy. She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest, published in 2015 by The New Press.

Ambassador Kounalakis continued to work as a democratic activist, working on the campaigns of countless progressive candidates and initiatives. Passionate about early childhood development, she served on California’s First 5 Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. She was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the San Francisco Port Commission, and currently chairs the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment.

Eleni Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989, and earned her MBA from
UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1992. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate of
Laws from the American College of Greece. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, veteran journalist Markos Kounalakis, and their two sons, Neo and Eon.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $11,156,172

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Eleni Kounalakis
Employees of Eleni Kounalakis, Economic Advisor
Employees of AKT Development
Employees of ValueAct Capital
GR Trucking and employees

More information about contributions

By State:

California 96.69%
New York 1.49%
District of Columbia 0.30%
Illinois 0.21%
Other 1.31%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.82%)
Small contributions (0.18%)

By Type:

From organizations (4.95%)
From individuals (95.05%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Videos (3)

— October 26, 2018 Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor 2018

Eleni Kounalakis is running for Lieutenant Governor to build a better, stronger California. As Lieutenant Governor, she'll oppose all tuition increases, fight expanded offshore oil drilling, create more affordable housing, and work to ensure our economy works better for every Californian. 


Eleni is endorsed by President Barack Obama, Senator Kamala Harris, California Federation of Teachers, CA League of Conservation Voters, EMILY's List, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers and so many more.


Learn more at:

— October 26, 2018 Eleni Kounalakis For Lieutenant Governor 2018

Eleni Kounalakis will stand up to the Trump Administration to stop the expansion of offshore oil drilling as a sitting member of the State Lands Commission. As California's Lieutenant Governor, Eleni will protect our air, water, and coastline for future generations. 


Learn more about her campaign at:

— October 26, 2018 Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor 2018

Senator Kamala Harris is behind this campaign 100% because she knows Eleni will work hard for all California families. 


Learn more at 


“Eleni Kounalakis has always fought for California values and the California Dream at home and serving our country abroad. 


Eleni is a powerful and courageous advocate for immigrants, economic innovation, and access to quality health care for every Californian. 


And I know Eleni will work to hold perpetrators of sexual misconduct accountable so every woman is safe from harassment in the workplace. Vote Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor. It’s about time.”


- U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

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