(KRON) — California Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis has been elected for another term, defeating Republican challenger Angela Underwood Jacobs. Kounalakis was sworn in as the Golden State’s 50th lieutenant governor by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January of 2019.
With 42% of the vote reported, Kounalakis is at 57.82% compared to Underwood Jacobs at 42.19%. Kounalakis’ win followed news of Newsom’s re-election. The governor easily cruised to a second term, with AP projecting him as the winner within minutes of the polls closing Tuesday.
Kounalakis made history earlier this year by becoming the first woman to sign a bill into state law in California.
The state’s protections against evictions were set to expire at the end of March and Gov. Newsom was on vacation in another country, and more importantly, he was outside of the state, which under California law meant that Kounalakis was the acting governor.
In order for the protections to be extended on time and prevent mass evictions, Kounalakis signed the bill that the legislature had fast-tracked.
In an interview with Inside California Politics several days later, Kounalakis commented on her possible future ambitions of leading the Golden State, saying that she was “certainly looking to put together a campaign for a potential run for governor in 2026.
Prior to being lieutenant governor, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary from 2010 until 2013. She was the first Greek-American woman to serve as a U.S. Ambassador.