February 25, 2018 - Eleni Kounalakis Blocks Ed Hernandez Endorsement at California Democratic Party Convention


Outsider candidate comes from behind to virtually tie establishment legislator in delegate support

San Diego, CA — Eleni Kounalakis, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, in her first campaign for elected office, blocked the endorsement of long-time legislator, Ed Hernandez, at the California Democratic Party convention. Hernandez, who has been campaigning for this office for nearly four years, was separated from Kounalakis by only 17 votes out of 2,784 votes cast. Jeff Bleich was a virtual no-show with 187 votes.

“When I launched my campaign in April of last year, I said I would run a grassroots campaign to win this race,” said Kounalakis. “I visited all 58 counties to listen to what voters are most concerned about. I met with Democratic activists and community leaders in every county to build our grassroots army that will help us win this election. I am so proud of the support we received at the convention, and I look forward to winning the support of California voters across the state for the June 5th primary election.”

Kounalakis comes armed with a growing list of endorsements from prominent Democratic elected officials and organizations, like U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, the California Federation of Teachers, EMILY’s List, Equality California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, California State University Employees Union SEIU 2579, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., Representatives Nanette Barragan, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Jimmy Panetta, Eric Swalwell, and Mike Thompson, former State Senator Mark Leno, Assembly members Blanca Rubio and Kevin McCarty, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, CA Women’s List, and the Sacramento, Stonewall, Fresno, Marin, San Fernando Valley and Ventura County Young Democrats.

Kounalakis is the only viable Democratic woman in the race for Lt. Governor. Her unique blend of experience as a successful business woman and job creator and government experience as a U.S. Ambassador has resulted in Kounalakis vaulting to the front of the field for the Top Two primary.

She recently announced that she had raised $2.4 million in the campaign, more than any other candidate in the race, and has more cash on hand than any of her opponents as we head into the critical last few months of the primary campaign.

Kounalakis is the only candidate in the race to visit all 58 counties. She spent the summer and fall traveling across the state, meeting with Democratic central committees, clubs, and activists, and community leaders. She has received support from hundreds of delegates to the CDP convention and has built a base of grassroots support that will help her advance to the general election and win in November.

Kounalakis is a businesswoman and diplomat. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as Ambassador to Hungary in 2010. She is a lifelong Democrat and five-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention and worked as an advocate for early childhood education as a member of California's First 5 Commission and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

She was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to lead the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council and served as a member of the San Francisco Port Commission. Prior to serving our country in the diplomatic corps, she was president of AKT Development Corporation in Sacramento, where she helped deliver tens of thousands of affordable homes for middle-class families. Kounalakis was born and raised in Sacramento and is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Dartmouth College. She and her husband, Markos, live in San Francisco where they are raising their two teenage sons.