Carl Gunderson (June 20, 1864[1] – February 26, 1933)[2] was an American politician who served as the 11th Governor of South Dakota. Gunderson, a Republican from Mitchell, South Dakota, served from 1925 to 1927.

Carl Gunderson
11th Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 6, 1925 – January 4, 1927
LieutenantAlva Clark Forney
Preceded byWilliam H. McMaster
Succeeded byWilliam J. Bulow
13th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 4, 1921 – January 6, 1925
GovernorWilliam H. McMaster
Preceded byWilliam H. McMaster
Succeeded byAlva Clark Forney
Personal details
Born(1864-06-20)June 20, 1864
near Vermillion, Dakota Territory
DiedFebruary 26, 1933(1933-02-26) (aged 68)
Mitchell, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseGertrude Bertleson
Alma materUniversity of South Dakota
Cornell University



Gunderson was born in a log cabin in Clay County in the Dakota Territory,[3] near Vermillion. As a young man, he filed a claim on a homestead in Clay County that remained dear to him all his life. He stated that his occupation was a farmer all his life. He attended the University of South Dakota and Cornell University. He went into the mercantile business in Vermillion. He married Gertrude Bertleson and they had four children.[3]



Gunderson served five terms in the state senate of the South Dakota Legislature, being elected in 1892, 1896, 1898, 1900, and again in 1916. Gunderson served as president pro tempore of the senate in the 1899 session and served as the 13th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota from 1921 to 1925 under Governor William H. McMaster.

In 1924, when McMaster declined to seek re-election, Gunderson successfully ran to succeed him. He defeated the Democratic nominee, William J. Bulow, in a landslide. In 1926, however, Gunderson narrowly lost to Bulow in a rematch of the 1924 election. He ran for Governor again in 1930. In the Republican primary, no candidate received 35% of the vote, and under state law, the nomination had to be decided by a convention of the state Republican Party. Despite placing second in the primary, Gunderson fared poorly in the convention; his support collapsed quickly and he faded from contention after the first few ballots.[4] In 1932, Gunderson challenged Republican Governor Warren Green for renomination, but lost the Republican primary in a landslide.



After his defeat he returned to his home in Mitchell until his death on February 26, 1933.[5][6] He was buried on the tract of land that he had homesteaded,[2] Bluff View Cemetery, Vermillion, Clay County, South Dakota US.


  1. ^ South Dakota Manual, 1925, p. 261
  2. ^ a b Biographical Directory of the South Dakota Legislature, 1889–1989 (1989), p. 400
  3. ^ a b "Carl Gunderson". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  4. ^ "Warren Green Is G.O.P. Nominee: Gladys Pyle Loses Out on 12th Ballot". Lead Daily Call. Huron, S.D. May 21, 1930. p. 1. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  5. ^ American Leaders, 1789–1994
  6. ^ Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789–1978
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of South Dakota
1924, 1926
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
William H. McMaster
Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of South Dakota
Succeeded by