San Francisco, CA –  Today, Eleni Kounalakis announced the endorsement of former Governor Gray Davis. Before serving as California’s 37th Governor, Davis served as California’s Lieutenant Governor, State Controller and member of the State Assembly.

 “I am fully behind Eleni Kounalakis's campaign to become California's next Lt. Governor,” said former Governor Gray Davis. “A champion for early childhood and higher education, Eleni is a fierce advocate for ensuring more kids have greater opportunities to succeed. Eleni has what it takes to be a successful Lt. Governor. As a businesswoman, economic advisor and former Ambassador, she'll fight to lower the cost of higher education, help businesses thrive in California and work towards an economy that works better for everyone."

Kounalakis said, “I am honored to have Governor Gray Davis’s support in my race to be California’s next Lt. Governor. He has been a bold leader for early child education, California’s public schools and affordable higher education. Education changed the course of my own family’s story, and when I’m elected, I will fight hard to ensure more families can thrive and more kids can walk the pathway of the American Dream.”

The Kounalakis campaign recently released its internal poll memo, showing Kounalakis with a 16-point lead in a head-to-head vote against Ed Hernandez. 

Kounalakis has had a recent wave of powerful endorsements, including President Barack Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein and former Senator Barbara Boxer. They join Senator Kamala Harris, over a dozen members of Congress, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, Equality California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, EMILY’s List, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, California State University Employees Union SEIU 2579, scores of local and state leaders, and over 30 Democratic clubs across California.

Kounalakis was the top vote-getter in the June Primary, winning 28 counties across the state. She is the only Democratic woman in the race for Lt. Governor and would be the first woman elected Lt. Governor in California history. 

She kicked off her campaign in 2017 by visiting all 58 counties. She spent the summer and fall traveling across the state, meeting with Democratic central committees, clubs, activists, and community leaders. She received the support from over a thousand delegates to the California Democratic PartyConvention and has built a base of grassroots support that helped her place first in the primary and will help her win in November.

Eleni Kounalakis served overseas as Ambassador to Hungary in the Obama Administration from 2010-2013, and spent 18 years delivering affordable homes and building housing communities in the Sacramento region. She is a life-long Democrat and five-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

She was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to lead the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council and served as a member of the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism and the First 5 Commission, where she worked to provide and improve opportunities for early childhood education. 

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.

Her blend of experience in public service and as a successful businesswoman, economic advisor, and job creator make her uniquely qualified to serve as Lt. Governor. You can learn more about her campaign and see her growing endorsement list at

press releaseAleksandra Reetz