Resign-to-run laws

Resign-to-run laws are laws in several jurisdictions in democracies where a current office-holder cannot run for another office.

Rationale and advantagesEdit

  • Campaigning may be time-consuming; campaigners may short-change their jobs while running for another office.
  • While campaigning, officeholders may attempt to (inappropriately) use resources from their current office for the campaign. This could include the officeholders' current staff.
  • An officeholder who aspires to a greater office may not work as hard in the current office as they might if they actually wanted the current office, and may take actions that make them attractive for the position they actually want.
  • An officeholder who does want to run for higher office may time their run to complete their tasks in their current office. An example of this is Rodney Glassman, 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate from Arizona, who delayed his formal announcement until the city's budget was completed.[1]


  • Those who aspire to higher office may not take the lower positions in resign-to-run areas, since the positions cannot be "stepping stones" for them.
  • Officeholders who do want a higher office must work elsewhere for some amount of time before running, reducing the number of candidates for the higher office.
  • Since officeholders often reward their home areas, it is advantageous to have residents of an area in the higher offices. Resign-to-run laws hinder running for those offices.
  • An officeholder who wants to run for a higher office may resign to campaign for that office, whereas they otherwise would remain.


United StatesEdit


Section 38-296 of the Arizona Revised Statutes,[2] entitled "Limitation upon filing for election by incumbent of elective office" states:

  1. Except during the final year of the term being served, no incumbent of a salaried elective office, whether holding by election or appointment, may offer himself for nomination or election to any salaried local, state or federal office.
  2. An incumbent of a salaried elected office shall be deemed to have offered himself for nomination or election to a salaried local, state or federal office on the filing of a nomination paper pursuant to section 16-311, subsection A. An incumbent of a salaried elected office is not deemed to have offered himself for nomination or election to an office by making a formal declaration of candidacy for the office."
  • Note: Changes passed by the legislature in 2013 allow elected officials to publicly announce their candidacy for another office. Previously, they had to hide their intentions from voters, as they would have had to resign upon formally announcing candidacy for a different office. Now they do not have to resign their current office unless they file formal nominating papers and are not in their final year of office. The text above reflects these changes.


Section 99.012 of the Florida Statutes states: "No officer may qualify as a candidate for another public office, whether state, district, county or municipal, if the terms or any part thereof run concurrently with each other, without resigning from the office he or she presently holds."[3] The Florida law permits an office-holder to make their resignation effective the day they would assume the new office if elected.

In 1970, a district court ruled Florida's law unconstitutional.[4] That same year, in a separate case, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black questioned the constitutionality of the same statute.[5]


Article II, Section 2, Paragraph V of the 1983 Constitution of Georgia reads: "The office of any state, county, or municipal elected official shall be declared vacant upon such elected official qualifying, in a general primary or general election, or special primary or special election, for another state, county, or municipal elective office or qualifying for the House of Representatives or the Senate of the United States if the term of the office for which such official is qualifying for begins more than 30 days prior to the expiration of such official's present term of office."[6]


In 1978, Article II, Section 7 was added to the Constitution of Hawaii to include resign-to-run: "Any elected public officer shall resign from that office before being eligible as a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held."[7]


Article 16, Section 65(b) of the Constitution of Texas states: "If any of the officers named herein shall announce their candidacy, or shall in fact become a candidate, in any General, Special or Primary Election, for any office of profit or trust under the laws of this State or the United States other than the office then held, at any time when the unexpired term of the office then held shall exceed one year and 30 days, such announcement or such candidacy shall constitute an automatic resignation of the office then held, and the vacancy thereby created shall be filled pursuant to law in the same manner as other vacancies for such office are filled."[8]

The "officers named herein" are listed in Article 16, Section 65(a):

Tex. Elec. Code § 145.001(e) permits a person to run for office and simultaneously be a candidate for President or Vice President of the United States. This statute permitted Lyndon B. Johnson to run for Vice President in 1960 and, at the same time, seek re-election as United States Senator from Texas. Lloyd Bentsen took advantage of the same provision in 1988 when he was the Vice Presidential running mate of Michael Dukakis.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "38-296. Limitation upon filing for election by incumbent of elective office". Arizona Revised Statutes. State of Arizona. 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  3. ^ "99.012 Restrictions on individuals qualifying for public office". Florida Statutes. State of Florida. 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  4. ^ Stack v. Adams, 315 F. Supp. 1295 (N.D. Fla. 1970).
  5. ^ Davis v. Adams, 400 U.S. 1203 (1970) (Black, J., in-chambers)
  6. ^ "Article II. Voting and Elections". 1983 Constitution of Georgia. Digital Library of Georgia. November 1998. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  7. ^ "Article II - Suffrage and Elections". Constitution of Hawaii. State of Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  8. ^ "Article 16. General Provisions" (PDF). Constitution of Texas. State of Texas. Retrieved 2013-06-16.