Opinion: California is overdue for a Republican governor. First Democrat, Eleni Kounalakis enters 2026 race

Lashaun Turner

California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis (D) has announced her candidacy for governor in the 2026 election.

Kounalakis, a Democrat, is the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor of California. She previously served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under President Barack Obama.

Kounalakis announcement on Facebook said "I will fight fiercely to build a future where everyone — regardless of race, class, or immigration status — has the same opportunity that my family and I had."

The campaign website says Eleni is a champion for women and gender equality, fighting for laws to protect women from sexual assault and expanding access to reproductive choice in California.

Is California overdue for a Republican governor?

California has long been a beacon of hope and opportunity for people from all over the world. But in recent years, the state has been in decline. Homelessness is on the rise, crime is increasing, and the cost of living is out of control.

Some believe that these problems are a result of the state's one-party rule and its policies. The Democratic Party controls the offices of governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature.

As of December 2022, Democrats hold a 32–8 supermajority in the 40-member California State Senate. And 62-18 majority in the State Assembly. The Democrats have controlled the California state legislature for decades.

California is a state that is in need of change. Residents are facing pressing issues including rising crime, homelessness, a housing crisis, and high taxes.

A Republican governor could bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the state and might be more likely to address these problems head-on.

One of the most pressing issues facing California is crime. The state's crime rate has been rising in recent years, and many residents feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. A Republican governor would be more likely to support policies that toughen on crime, such as increased police presence and harsher sentences for criminals.

Another major issue facing California is homelessness. The state has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, and the problem is only getting worse. A Republican governor would be more likely to support policies that address the root causes of homelessness, such as mental illness and addiction.

California is failing to build enough affordable homes for lower income residents in part because the state lacks an effective approach to planning and financing development of affordable housing at both the state and local levels- Elaine Howle, California Housing Agency

Finally, California has some of the highest taxes in the country. These high taxes are a burden on businesses and individuals, and they are driving people out of the state. A Republican governor would be more likely to support tax cuts that would stimulate the economy and make California more attractive to businesses and residents.

A Republican governor, with Democrats having super-majority in the legislature, would be challenged in getting anything accomplished.

One-party rule can make it more difficult to address the state's problems. When there is no one to challenge the party in power, it is more likely to pursue policies that are popular with its base, even if those policies are not in the best interests of the state as a whole.

The 2026 governor's race is likely to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Kounalakis is the first major politician to announce a run for governor of California in 2026. She is expected to face a crowded field, including other Democrats such as Attorney General Rob Bonta and Treasurer Fiona Ma.

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Lashaun is a Journalist whose column covers Black Political Opinion, Local stories and the I.E Food Tour, with NEWSBREAK since June 2021.- JADED: Journalism with a Touch of Shade is Lashaun's views and opinions on various trending topics. Lashaun aka Lady I.M.PRE$S is a former NBC/CNBC Affiliate KCAA Broadcaster for "Cali's BEST" Radio Show airing on 102.3FM & 106.5FM from 2016-2020. Lashaun has been in the Media & P.R field for over 13 years and has interviewed an estimated 20k Celebrities and Entrepreneurs. Lashaun also produced & hosted Blaze Indie L.A TV show on LA's Channel 36 from 2014-2016"

Los Angeles, CA

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