Home>Articles>Former Controller Betty Yee Announces 2026 Run For Governor

State Controller Betty Yee addressing the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, June 1, 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Former Controller Betty Yee Announces 2026 Run For Governor

Democrat’s announcement comes only hours after Kounalakis’ announcement

By Evan Symon, April 25, 2023 2:30 am

Former Controller of California and current California Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Betty Yee announced her candidacy for Governor in 2026 on Monday, coming only a few hours after Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis announced her own run for the office.

A graduate of UC Berkeley and Golden Gate University, Yee began her career in the Legislature in a variety of positions before becoming then-Governor Gray Davis’ Chief Deputy Director for the Budget in 1999. Removed from the position following the recall of Davis in 2003, Yee became the Chief Deputy to Board of Equalization member Carole Migden. Within a year, she was moved to the Board itself following Migden being elected to the state Senate, and was soon elected in on her own.

Yee proved to be a controversial Board member, being best-known for her attacks on e-commerce retailers like Amazon, making them collect state sales tax on their website. Yee remained on the Board for over a decade before being elected as the next Controller of the state in 2014. Yee served two terms as Controller, and was known for her tardiness in releasing financial reports on the state, being years behind on releasing several annual reports. In addition, she had trouble keeping track of checks written out by the state, losing track of around 49 million at one point in 2021.

Term limited out in 2022, Yee mentioned that she would next be running for Governor after Newsom. However, with Lt. Governor Kounalakis announcing her run on Monday, Yee swooped in only a few hours later after her official announcement to announce her own run in 2026.

“I’ve been traveling up and down the state meeting with Californians in anticipation of my campaign, and I plan to focus on economic and climate issues. It would be awesome. I do think we’re ready for women ascending into leadership roles. One of our areas of strength is our diversity, and seeing the top executive in the state being a person of color sends a great message.”

While Yee has not formally launched her campaign yet, with that coming later in 2023, her announcement had a huge effect on Monday when it came to Gubernatorial candidates.

“She completely knocked Kounalakis off the state headlines,” said Hope Gordon, a New York-based political analyst who focuses on female Gubernatorial candidates across the U.S., to the Globe Monday. “But also it is showing the power of female candidates across the country right now. California already has two for the Governor in 2026, and 2 big candidates for the Senate race next year.”

“Others, like Treasurer Fiona Ma and several members of Congress, can still jump in too. It is very, very early right now, and more, better known candidates will probably come up. Several more Dems will likely go in, as will a few GOP candidates. Neither Yee or Kounalakis are all that well known, so if the candidates keep coming in like that, the GOP could have a chance if the right candidate is picked and if they are well known and moderate enough.”

“But the big thing with the Yee announcement is putting down roots now for what will be a crazy run. As soon as the 2024 election is over, these candidates will be all you will hear about for the next two years afterwards. They’re going to be responsible for all the environmental initiatives that Newsom signed in, not to mention overseeing some huge things like the Olympics. A lot will be on the line.”

Other candidates are expected to announce their candidacy for Governor in 2026 soon.

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Evan Symon
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One thought on “Former Controller Betty Yee Announces 2026 Run For Governor

  1. She plans to focus on economic and climate issues? What does she know about economic issues? She’s another leftist Democrat with a degree in sociology who has spent her adult entire career in Democrat politics and has never owned or ran a business. How many Californians are clamoring for action on climate issues? Few to none? She’s probably getting promises of payoffs from somewhere if she pushes the climate change scam? Why can’t she do Californians a favor by retiring and take up knitting?

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