Newsom and Lt. Gov. Kounalakis Are out of Town, So Who’s Running California?


Toni Atkins, Democratic State Senator, is acting as Governor of California while Governor Gavin Newsom (Lt. Governor) and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kuunalakis (Lt. Governor) is out of town. Emily Hoeven, a CalMatters reporter, tweeted Tuesday night.

“@toniatkins is currently acting governor of California, with @GavinNewsom at Washington, D.C., and Lt. Governor. Hoeven stated that @EleniForCA was in Greece to visit her family.

Atkins is the California State Senate’s president pro tempore. This makes her the third candidate for the governorship. According to the website of the LGBTQ caucus, she was previously the speaker for the California State Assembly between 2014 and 2016.

In 2016, the 39th State Senate District was represented by an acting governor. It covers large parts of San Diego. Since 2018, the president pro tempore has served as president.

Although Atkins won’t likely take any immediate actions as acting governor, it is worth asking why Newsom and Kounalakis chose to leave the state at different times. Her resume shows that Atkins isn’t much different from either Newsom or Kounalakis politically, but it’s obvious that Atkins should still be available as an act of principle.

It’s possible that it’s irrelevant, given that the Golden State is ruled by Democrats. Californians still have the right to know who is in charge.

Hoeven deserves a special mention for her incredible California scoops. She holds California leaders responsible.


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