Capitol Alert

Former Sacramento developer opens committee to run for lieutenant governor in 2018

Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis of Sacramento, U.S. ambassador to Hungary, went to a Lady GaGa concert at Papp Laszlo Sportarena in Budapest in November 2010 and gave her an award for cultural diplomacy.
Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis of Sacramento, U.S. ambassador to Hungary, went to a Lady GaGa concert at Papp Laszlo Sportarena in Budapest in November 2010 and gave her an award for cultural diplomacy. U.S. Embassy Budapest

Eleni Kounalakis, a former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, on Wednesday opened a committee to raise money for a possible lieutenant governor’s bid.

Kounalakis, the daughter of prominent Sacramento developer and Democratic donor Angelo Tsakopoulos, was previously president of AKT Development Corp.

Kounalakis now lives in San Francisco and is involved in several academic and charitable programs and causes, and is the author of a 2015 memoir, “Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties, and Democracy in Budapest.” Her name surfaced last year when hacked correspondence posted online by Wikileaks showed Kounalakis pitching a coffee break for Hillary Clinton while en route from the Sacramento airport to create a viral moment for the campaign and the city

While opening the committee does not guarantee a statewide run, it allows Kounalakis to begin raising money and lining up the support she would need to campaign.

Kounalakis, who did not immediately return a message, would join a growing race for the state’s second-in-command post, albeit one with few legal responsibilities.

Sen. Ed Hernandez, a Democrat and optometrist from Azusa, was the first major candidate in the race, and has consolidated several endorsements from colleagues.

Last month, Asif Mahmood, a Democrat and Muslim doctor from Los Angeles, jumped into the campaign, promising to make the race a referendum on Donald Trump.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

  Comments