Kounalakis, Hernandez finish top two in tight CA lieutenant governor race

 
 Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Peter Fimrite and Sophie Haigney June 6, 2018

Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis finished with a hold on first in a tight three-way race to qualify for the November general election to replace Gavin Newsom as California’s lieutenant governor.

Kounalakis, a Democrat, was ahead of 11 candidates for one of two spots in the runoff. With 99.1 precincts reporting just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, she had 23.4 percent of the vote.

State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina (Los Angeles County), a practicing optometrist, looks like a likely second-place finisher with 20.8 percent of the vote, and Republican Cole Harris, a Los Angeles import-export businessman, trailed him in third with 18.4 percent of the vote.

The top-two primary featured an extraordinary amount of outside spending, with Sacramento housing developer Angelo Tsakopoulos serving as the largest donor with more than $4.7 million to a super PAC supporting his daughter, Kounalakis.

Former U.S. ambassador to Australia and Piedmont attorney Jeff Bleich, a Democrat, had 9.3 percent of the vote early Wednesday morning. David Fennell, a Republican Silicon Valley entrepreneur, had 8.3 percent.

Peter Fimrite and Sophie Haigney are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: pfimrite@sfchronicle.comsophie.haigney@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @pfimrite @SophieHaigney

Read the article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

 
Sarah Kotis