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GreekReporter.comDiasporaHilary Clinton Endorses Eleni Kounalakis for Governor of California

Hilary Clinton Endorses Eleni Kounalakis for Governor of California

Eleni Kounalakis and Hillary Clinton
Eleni Kounalakis (left) and Hillary Clinton (right). Credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0 (left image) / CC BY-SA 2.0 (right image)

Former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hilary Clinton has backed Eleni Kounalakis in her campaign for the California governorship.

The Greek American politician previously ran to become the governor of California back in 2018. She did not attain the position but did succeed in becoming the state’s first-ever female lieutenant governor. Now, Kounalakis is hoping to make history again by becoming California’s first female governor.

The political relationship between Clinton and Kounalakis is decades old. Kounalakis’ father, Angelo Tsakopoulos, was a major donor to President Bill Clinton, and Kounalakis herself raised funds for Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

Hilary Clinton backs Eleni Kounalakis

“Eleni has proven to be a fierce leader,” said Clinton in a statement commending Kounalakis on her policy positions on a range of issues, including abortion, education, and the economy.

“That’s the California way, and in 2026, that will be the Eleni Kounalakis way,” the former presidential candidate continued.

Kounalakis aimed to get ahead of her competition by officially starting her campaign for governor last month. She is now gaining prominent endorsements, including backing from Barbara Boxer, a former US Senator from California who also broke barriers.

The political connection between Kounalakis and Clinton has strong roots. Angelo Tsakopoulos, her father, was a prominent donor and connection to President Clinton. Tsakopoulos even dined and stayed overnight at the White House.

In 2008, Kounalakis worked to raise funds for Hilary Clinton’s own bid for the presidency. Clinton did not win, but Kounalakis worked for her as ambassador to Hungary whilst Clinton was secretary of state.

In 2016, Kounalakis acted as a  California co-chair of Clinton’s presidential campaign during her second attempt at taking the top job in the White House. Kounalakis helped raise money and provided advice on foreign policy.

Speaking warmly about her fellow Democrat, Kounalakis commented during an interview on Wednesday, “I could go all the way back to 1992 when Hillary Clinton first inspired me.”

Greek background

Kounalakis, who is of Greek descent, has spoken in the past about the influence of her Greek immigrant background.

“I grew up as the daughter of a Greek immigrant and like many other families, we had humble beginnings. My siblings and I were reminded every day how lucky we were to have the opportunity this country offers,” she said when launching her campaign in April.

Her father, Angelo Tsakopoulos is also a big name in the Greek American community. Before becoming a well-known philanthropist and political donor he worked as a field laborer and sold melons on the streets during his youth. He even worked as a waiter in the Governor’s Mansion at one point. All this was before transforming his real estate business into a development empire.

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