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List of governors of Virginia

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The following is a list of the Governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Governor is the head of the executive branch of Virginia's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[1]

The first Constitution of 1776 created the office of Governor, to be elected annually by the Virginia State Legislature. The Governor could serve up to three years at a time, and once out of office, could not serve again for four years.[2] The 1830 constitution changed the thrice renewable one-year term length to a non-renewable three-year term, and set the start date at the first day in January following an election.[3] This constitution also prevented governors from succeeding themselves, a prohibition that exists to the present day.[4] The 1851 Constitution increased terms to four years[5] and made the office elected by the people, rather than the legislature.[6] The commencement of the Governor's term was moved to the first day in February by the 1902 Constitution,[7] and then to the Saturday after the second Wednesday in January by the 1971 and current Constitution.[8]

If the office of governor is vacant due to disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia becomes Governor.[9] The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in 1851.[10] Prior to that a Council of State existed; it chose from among its members a President who would be "Lieutenant-Governor" and would act as governor when there was a vacancy in that office.[2][11]

Officially, there have been 73 Governors of Virginia; the Acting Governors are not counted.

Colonial GovernorsEdit

President of the Committee for Public SafetyEdit

Parties

  No party

# Picture President Took office Left office Party
1   Edmund Pendleton August 16, 1775 July 5, 1776 None

List of GovernorsEdit

Parties

  Democratic   Federalist   Democratic-Republican   Whig   Republican   Independent

# Picture Governor Took office Left office Lieutenant Governor Party Notes
1   Patrick Henry July 5, 1776 June 1, 1779 Office Blank

1776-1852

None First under 1776 Constitution
(limit of 3 one-year terms)
2   Thomas Jefferson June 1, 1779 June 3, 1781 None 3rd President of the United States
3   William Fleming June 3, 1781 June 12, 1781 None
4   Thomas Nelson, Jr. June 12, 1781 November 22, 1781 None
  David Jameson November 22, 1781 December 1, 1781 None Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
5   Benjamin Harrison V December 1, 1781 December 1, 1784 None
6   Patrick Henry December 1, 1784 December 1, 1786 None Re-elected after 5-year hiatus
(1 more than constitutional minimum)
7   Edmund Randolph December 1, 1786 December 1, 1788 None First under U.S. statehood
8   Beverley Randolph December 1, 1788 December 1, 1791 None
9   Henry Lee III December 1, 1791 December 1, 1794 Federalist
10   Robert Brooke December 1, 1794 December 1, 1796 Democratic-Republican
11   James Wood December 1, 1796 December 1, 1799 Federalist
  Hardin Burnley December 7, 1799 December 11, 1799
  John Pendleton, Jr. December 11, 1799 December 19, 1799
12   James Monroe December 19, 1799 December 1, 1802 Democratic-Republican U.S. Senator 1790–1794, fifth President of the United States
13   John Page December 1, 1802 December 7, 1805 Democratic-Republican
14   William H. Cabell December 7, 1805 December 1, 1808 Democratic-Republican
15   John Tyler, Sr. December 1, 1808 January 15, 1811 Democratic-Republican
  George William Smith January 15, 1811 January 19, 1811 Democratic-Republican Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
16   James Monroe January 19, 1811 April 3, 1811 Democratic-Republican U.S. Senator 1790–94, Fifth President of the United States
17   George William Smith April 3, 1811 December 26, 1811 Democratic-Republican Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
Later elected in his own right
Died in office
N/A   Peyton Randolph December 27, 1811 January 3, 1812 Democratic-Republican Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
18   James Barbour January 3, 1812 December 1, 1814 Democratic-Republican U.S. Senator 1815–1825
19   Wilson Cary Nicholas December 1, 1814 December 1, 1816 Democratic-Republican
20   James Patton Preston December 1, 1816 December 1, 1819 Democratic-Republican
21   Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. December 1, 1819 December 1, 1822 Democratic-Republican
22   James Pleasants December 1, 1822 December 10, 1825 Democratic-Republican Resigned U.S. Senate to assume Governorship
23   John Tyler December 10, 1825 March 4, 1827 Democratic-Republican Resigned to enter U.S. Senate 1827–1836, 10th United States President
24   William Branch Giles March 4, 1827 March 4, 1830 Democratic U.S. Senator 1804–1815
25   John Floyd March 4, 1830 March 31, 1834 Democratic First under 1830 constitution
(limit of 1 four-year term)
26   Littleton Waller Tazewell March 31, 1834 April 30, 1836 Democratic U.S. Senator 1824–1832
  Wyndham Robertson April 30, 1836 March 31, 1837 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
27   David Campbell March 31, 1837 March 31, 1840 Democratic
28   Thomas Walker Gilmer March 31, 1840 March 20, 1841 Whig
  John M. Patton March 20, 1841 March 31, 1841 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
  John Rutherfoord March 31, 1841 March 31, 1842 Democratic Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
  John Munford Gregory March 31, 1842 January 1, 1843 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
29   James McDowell January 1, 1843 January 1, 1846 Democratic
30   William Smith January 1, 1846 January 1, 1849 Democratic
31   John B. Floyd January 1, 1849 January 16, 1852 Democratic U.S. Secretary of War 1857–60
32   Joseph Johnson January 16, 1852 January 1, 1856 Shelton Leake Democratic First under 1851 constitution
(limit of 1 four-year term)
First popularly elected governor
33   Henry A. Wise January 1, 1856 January 1, 1860 Elisha W. McComas
William Lowther Jackson
Democratic
34   John Letcher January 1, 1860 January 1, 1864 Robert Latane Montague Democratic (On June 20, 1863, the new U.S. state of West Virginia was formed)
35   William Smith January 1, 1864 May 9, 1865 Samuel Price Democratic
  Francis Harrison Pierpont May 9, 1865 April 4, 1868 None Republican Elected by Restored General Assembly (Union)
  Henry H. Wells April 4, 1868 September 21, 1869 None Republican Appointed Governor by U.S. military
36   Gilbert Carlton Walker September 21, 1869 January 1, 1874 John F. Lewis
John Lawrence Marye, Jr.
Republican Appointed Governor by U.S. military
then elected as a Republican Governor
later served as a Democratic Congressman
37   James L. Kemper January 1, 1874 January 1, 1878 Robert E. Withers
Henry Wirtz Thomas
Democratic
38   Frederick W. M. Holliday January 1, 1878 January 1, 1882 James A. Walker Democratic
39   William E. Cameron January 1, 1882 January 1, 1886 John F. Lewis Re-adjuster
40   Fitzhugh Lee January 1, 1886 January 1, 1890 John E. Massey Democratic
41   Philip W. McKinney January 1, 1890 January 1, 1894 James H. Tyler Democratic
42   Charles Triplett O'Ferrall January 1, 1894 January 1, 1898 Robert C. Kent Democratic Resigned U. S. House seat to assume Governorship
43   James Hoge Tyler January 1, 1898 January 1, 1902 Edward Echols Democratic
44   Andrew Jackson Montague January 1, 1902 February 1, 1906 Joseph Edward Willard Democratic
45   Claude A. Swanson February 1, 1906 February 10, 1910 James T. Ellyson Democratic U.S. Senator 1910–33
46   William Hodges Mann February 10, 1910 February 1, 1914 James T. Ellyson Democratic
47   Henry Carter Stuart February 1, 1914 February 1, 1918 James T. Ellyson Democratic
48   Westmoreland Davis February 1, 1918 February 1, 1922 Benjamin F. Buchanan Democratic
49   Elbert Lee Trinkle February 1, 1922 February 1, 1926 Junius E. West Democratic
50   Harry F. Byrd February 1, 1926 January 15, 1930 Junius E. West Democratic U.S. Senator 1933–65
51   John Garland Pollard January 15, 1930 January 17, 1934 James H. Price Democratic
52   George C. Peery January 17, 1934 January 15, 1938 James H. Price Democratic
53   James H. Price January 15, 1938 January 21, 1942 Saxon W. Holt Democratic
54   Colgate Darden January 21, 1942 January 16, 1946 William M. Tuck Democratic
55   William M. Tuck January 16, 1946 January 18, 1950 Lewis Preston Collins II Democratic
56   John S. Battle January 18, 1950 January 20, 1954 Lewis Preston Collins II
Allie Edward Stakes Stephens
Democratic
57   Thomas B. Stanley January 20, 1954 January 11, 1958 Allie Edward Stakes Stephens Democratic
58   J. Lindsay Almond January 11, 1958 January 13, 1962 Allie Edward Stakes Stephens Democratic
59   Albertis Harrison January 13, 1962 January 15, 1966 Mills Godwin Democratic
60   Mills Godwin January 15, 1966 January 17, 1970 Fred G. Pollard Democratic
61   Linwood Holton January 17, 1970 January 12, 1974 J. Sargeant Reynolds (Democratic)
Henry Howell (Democratic)
Republican
62   Mills Godwin January 12, 1974 January 14, 1978 John N. Dalton Republican
63   John Dalton January 14, 1978 January 16, 1982 Chuck Robb (Democratic) Republican
64   Chuck Robb January 16, 1982 January 18, 1986 Dick Davis Democratic U.S. Senator 1989–2001
65   Gerald Baliles January 18, 1986 January 13, 1990 Douglas Wilder Democratic
66   Douglas Wilder January 13, 1990 January 15, 1994 Don Beyer Democratic First African-American governor elected in American history
67   George Allen January 15, 1994 January 17, 1998 Don Beyer (Democratic) Republican U.S. Senator 2001–2007
68   Jim Gilmore January 17, 1998 January 12, 2002 John H. Hager Republican
69   Mark Warner January 12, 2002 January 14, 2006 Tim Kaine Democratic U.S. Senator 2009–present
70   Tim Kaine January 14, 2006 January 16, 2010 Bill Bolling (Republican) Democratic First Catholic Governor, U.S. Senator 2013–present, nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2016
71   Bob McDonnell January 16, 2010 January 11, 2014 Bill Bolling Republican
72   Terry McAuliffe January 11, 2014 January 13, 2018 Ralph Northam Democratic
73   Ralph Northam January 13, 2018 Incumbent Justin Fairfax Democratic

Living former Governors of VirginiaEdit

As of October 2019, there are nine former governors of Virginia currently living, the oldest being A. Linwood Holton, Jr. (served 1970–1974, born 1923). The most recent governor of Virginia to die was Gerald Baliles (served 1986–1990, born 1940), on October 29, 2019. He is also the most recently served governor to die.

Other high offices heldEdit

* Denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

This is a table of congressional, confederate and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Virginia except where noted.

          Governor           Gubernatorial
term
U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
Thomas Jefferson 1779–1781 Delegate to the Second Continental Congress, (1775–1776); Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (1783–1784); U.S. Minister to France. (1785–1789); 1st U.S. Secretary of State, (1790–1793); 2nd Vice President of the United States, (1797–1801); 3rd President of the United States, (1801–1809)
Thomas Nelson, Jr. 1781 Delegate to the Second Continental Congress, (1775–1781)
Benjamin Harrison V 1781–1784 Delegate to the Second Continental Congress, (1775–1781)
Edmund Randolph 1786–1788 1st U.S. Attorney General, (1789–1794); 2nd U.S. Secretary of State, (1794–1795), Delegate to the Constitutional Convention (United States), (1787-1787)
Henry Lee III 1791–1794 H Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (1786–1788)
James Monroe 1799–1802
1811
S Delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (1783–1786); U.S. Minister to France, (1794–1796); U.S. Minister to the United Kingdom, (1803–1808); 7th U.S. Secretary of State*, (1811–1817); 8th U.S. Secretary of War, (1814–1815); 5th President of the United States, (1817–1825)
John Page 1802–1805 H
James Barbour 1812–1814 S U.S. Minister to the United Kingdom, (1828–1829); President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, (1819); 11th U.S. Secretary of War, (1825–1828)
Wilson Cary Nicholas 1814–1816 H S
Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. 1819–1822 H
James Pleasants 1822–1825 H S
John Tyler 1825–1827 H S* President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, (1835); 10th Vice President of the United States, (1841); 10th President of the United States, (1841–1845); Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, (1861–1862)
William Branch Giles 1827–1830 H S
John Floyd 1830–1834 H
Littleton Waller Tazewell 1834–1836 H S
Thomas Walker Gilmer 1840–1841 H* 15th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, (1844)
John M. Patton 1841 H
James McDowell 1843–1846 H
William Smith 1846–1849
1864–1865
H Confederate House of Representatives, (1862–1863)
John B. Floyd 1849–1852 24th U.S. Secretary of War, (1857–1860)
Joseph Johnson 1852–1856 H
Henry A. Wise 1852–1856 H U. S. Minister to Brazil, (1844–1847)
John Letcher 1860–1864 H
Gilbert Carlton Walker 1869–1874 H
Frederick W. M. Holliday 1878–1882 Confederate House of Representatives, (1864–1865)
Charles Triplett O'Ferrall 1894–1898 H
Andrew Jackson Montague 1902–1906 H
Claude A. Swanson 1906–1910 H S 45th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, (1933–1939)
Harry F. Byrd 1926–1930 S
George C. Peery 1934–1938 H
Colgate Darden 1942–1946 H
William M. Tuck 1946–1950 H
Thomas B. Stanley 1954–1958 H
James Lindsay Almond, Jr. 1958–1962 H
Chuck Robb 1982–1986 S
George Allen 1994–1998 H S
Mark Warner 2002–2006 S
Tim Kaine 2006–2010 S

Birth placesEdit

Part of Virginia # of Governors Elected
Central Virginia 16
Not from Virginia 12
Peninsula 10
Southwest Virginia 8
South Central Virginia 7
Northern Neck of Virginia 5
Northwest Virginia 4
West Central Virginia 4
Northern Central Virginia (NOVA) 2
Southeast 2
Eastern Shore of Virginia 1
Not from Virginia or United States 1
Total 72
  • These numbers reflect place of residence when taking office, not birthplace

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ VA Const. art. V
  2. ^ a b 1776 Const.
  3. ^ 1830 Const. Art IV section 1.
  4. ^ VA Const. Art V sec 1
  5. ^ 1851 Const. art V section 1.
  6. ^ 1851 Const. Art V section 2.
  7. ^ 1902 Const. Art V section 69.
  8. ^ VA Const. art V section 1.
  9. ^ VA Const. Art V section 16.
  10. ^ 1851 Const. art V section 8.
  11. ^ 1830 Const. art IV section 5.
General
  • Virginia State Government Website[permanent dead link]
  • Congressional Quarterly
    • Virginia governors. (2000). In Congressional Quarterly (Ed.), American political leaders 1789–2000. Washington: CQ Press. Retrieved January 10, 2006, from CQ Electronic Library, CQ Voting and Elections Collection, . Document ID: amldrs-147-7136-390228. (Requires Subscription)
  • Thorpe, F.N. (1909). The Federal and State Constitutions: Virginia-Wyoming. Scholarly Press. p. 3852. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  • National Governors Association's list of Virginia Governors
Constitutions
Specific