A former Fresno Republican politician has put political party ties aside for shared ethnicity.
Former State Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) has made a hefty contribution to California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat, for her 2026 gubernatorial bid.
Driving the news: On Monday, Borgeas made a $36,400 contribution from his 2026 Senate campaign account to Kounalakis’s campaign account for governor.
- This isn’t an unexpected donation from Borgeas despite their differing political parties.
- As Rob Pyers from the California Target Book pointed out, Kounalakis’s family previously donated $18,600 to Borgeas’s Senate campaigns in 2018 and 2022.
- Kounalakis is the daughter of Angelo and Sofia Tsakopoulos, the individuals who contributed to Borgeas’s campaigns.
What we’re watching: Given that he took $36,400 out of his campaign account, it’s an early signal that Borgeas may not make another stab at a State Senate run in 2026. He could, however, wind up as a high-profile Republican in Kounalakis’ administration, should she win.
- Borgeas was handed the short end of the stick by the California Redistricting Commission, which merged the part of Fresno where Borgeas lives with Sen. Shannon Grove’s (R–Bakersfield) previous district.
- Borgeas opted not to run against Grove for the new 12th district nor move into the un-represented 4th Senate District in nearby Madera County.
- With an expansive field of nonincumbent Republicans vying for the mountainous GOP-rich Senate seat, two Democrats managed to capture the top two spots out of the June Primary. Marie Alvarado-Gil ultimately flipped the seat for the Democrats.
- Grove was first elected to the Senate in 2018 and has six years of service in the Assembly, meaning she will be termed out in 2026.
- In the meantime, Borgeas reported $684,000 on hand at the end of last year when the latest reporting period closed.