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 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 becomes governor.[9] The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1851[10] Prior to then, a Council of State existed, which chose a president among its members who would be "Lieutenant-Governor", who would act as governor in a time of absence in the office.[2][11]

Officially there have been 72 governors of Virginia; the acting governors are not counted.

Colonial Governors[edit]

President of the Committee for Public Safety[edit]

Parties

      No party

# Picture President Took office Left office Party Notes
1 Edmund Pendleton 1872 crop.jpg Edmund Pendleton 16 August 1775 5 July 1776 No party

List of Governors[edit]

Parties

      Democratic       Federalist       Democratic-Republican       Whig       Republican

# Image Governor Took office Left office Party Notes
1 Patrick henry.JPG Patrick Henry July 5, 1776 June 1, 1779 No party First under 1776 constitution
(limit of 3 one-year terms)
2 T Jefferson by Charles Willson Peale 1791 2.jpg Thomas Jefferson June 1, 1779 June 3, 1781 No party
3 William Fleming June 3, 1781 June 12, 1781 No party
4 Thomas Nelson (1700s).jpg Thomas Nelson, Jr. June 12, 1781 November 22, 1781 No party
David Jameson November 22, 1781 December 1, 1781 No party Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
5 Benharrv.JPG Benjamin Harrison V December 1, 1781 December 1, 1784 No party
6 Patrick henry.JPG Patrick Henry December 1, 1784 December 1, 1786 No party Re-elected after 5 year hiatus
(1 more than constitutional minimum)
7 EdmundRandolph.jpeg Edmund Randolph December 1, 1786 December 1, 1788 No party First under U.S. statehood
8 Beverley Randolph December 1, 1788 December 1, 1791 No party
9 HenryLee.jpeg Henry Lee III December 1, 1791 December 1, 1794 Federalist
10 Robert Brooke Virginia Governor.jpg 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 White House portrait 1819.gif James Monroe December 19, 1799 December 1, 1802 Democratic-Republican
13 John Page Rosewell Gloucester County Virginia.jpg John Page December 1, 1802 December 7, 1805 Democratic-Republican
14 William Cabell.gif William H. Cabell December 7, 1805 December 1, 1808 Democratic-Republican
15 John Tyler Sr.jpg John Tyler, Sr. December 1, 1808 January 15, 1811 Democratic-Republican
George William Smith.jpg George William Smith January 15, 1811 January 19, 1811 Democratic-Republican Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
16 James Monroe White House portrait 1819.gif James Monroe January 19, 1811 April 3, 1811 Democratic-Republican
17 George William Smith.jpg 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 Virginia Governor.jpg Peyton Randolph December 27, 1811 January 3, 1812 Democratic-Republican Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
18 BarbourT.jpg James Barbour January 3, 1812 December 1, 1814 Democratic-Republican
19 Wilson Cary Nicholas 2.jpg Wilson Cary Nicholas December 1, 1814 December 1, 1816 Democratic-Republican
20 James Patton Preston.jpg James Patton Preston December 1, 1816 December 1, 1819 Democratic-Republican
21 Thomas Mann Randolph.jpg Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. December 1, 1819 December 1, 1822 Democratic-Republican
22 James Pleasants bioguide.jpg James Pleasants December 1, 1822 December 10, 1825 Democratic-Republican
23 WHOportTyler.jpg John Tyler December 10, 1825 March 4, 1827 Democratic-Republican Resigned to enter U.S. Senate
24 William Branch Giles.jpg William Branch Giles March 4, 1827 March 4, 1830 Democratic
25 Johnfloydvirginia.jpg John Floyd March 4, 1830 March 31, 1834 Democratic First under 1830 constitution
(limit of 1 four-year term)
26 LWTzw.jpg Littleton Waller Tazewell March 31, 1834 April 30, 1836 Whig
Wyndhamrobertsonportrait.jpg Wyndham Robertson April 30, 1836 March 31, 1837 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
27 David Campbell.jpg David Campbell March 31, 1837 March 31, 1840 Democratic
28 Thomas Gilmer newer.jpeg Thomas Walker Gilmer March 31, 1840 March 20, 1841 Whig
John Mercer Patton.jpg John M. Patton March 20, 1841 March 31, 1841 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
John Rutherford Virginia Governor.jpg John Rutherfoord March 31, 1841 March 31, 1842 Democratic Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
John Munford Gregory.jpg John Munford Gregory March 31, 1842 January 1, 1843 Whig Acting Governor
(member of Council of State)
29 James McDowell.jpg James McDowell January 1, 1843 January 1, 1846 Democratic
30 Hon. Smith - NARA - 528722.jpg William Smith January 1, 1846 January 1, 1849 Democratic
31 John Buchanan Floyd.jpg John B. Floyd January 1, 1849 January 16, 1852 Democratic
32 Joseph Johnson.png Joseph Johnson January 16, 1852 January 1, 1856 Democratic First under 1851 constitution
(limit of 1 four-year term)
First popularly elected governor
33 HAWise.jpg Henry A. Wise January 1, 1856 January 1, 1860 Democratic
34 JohnLetcher.jpg John Letcher January 1, 1860 January 1, 1864 Democratic (June 20, 1863 West Virginia was formed)
35 Extra Billy Smith-Virginia.jpg William Smith January 1, 1864 May 9, 1865 Democratic
Francis Pierpont portrait.gif Francis Harrison Pierpont May 9, 1865 April 4, 1868 Republican Unelected military governor
Henry Wells.jpg Henry H. Wells April 4, 1868 September 21, 1869 Republican Unelected military governor
36 Gilbert Carlton Walker.gif Gilbert Carlton Walker September 21, 1869 January 1, 1874 Democratic Unelected Republican military governor
Later elected as a Democrat
37 James L Kemper.jpg James L. Kemper January 1, 1874 January 1, 1878 Democratic
38 Frederick Holliday.jpg Frederick W. M. Holliday January 1, 1878 January 1, 1882 Democratic
39 WE Cameron.jpg William E. Cameron January 1, 1882 January 1, 1886 Re-adjuster
40 Fitzhugh Lee Governor.jpg Fitzhugh Lee January 1, 1886 January 1, 1890 Democratic
41 Philip McKinney.jpg Philip W. McKinney January 1, 1890 January 1, 1894 Democratic
42 Charles O'Ferrall.jpg Charles Triplett O'Ferrall January 1, 1894 January 1, 1898 Democratic
43 James Hoge Tyler.jpg James Hoge Tyler January 1, 1898 January 1, 1902 Democratic
44 Andrew J. Montague.jpg Andrew Jackson Montague January 1, 1902 February 1, 1906 Democratic
45 CASwanson.jpg Claude A. Swanson February 1, 1906 February 10, 1910 Democratic
46 William Hodges Mann, ca. 1914.jpg William Hodges Mann February 10, 1910 February 1, 1914 Democratic
47 H.C. Stuart.jpg Henry Carter Stuart February 1, 1914 February 1, 1918 Democratic
48 Governorwestmdavis.jpg Westmoreland Davis February 1, 1918 February 1, 1922 Democratic
49 GovTrinkle.jpg Elbert Lee Trinkle February 1, 1922 February 1, 1926 Democratic
50 Harry F. Byrd.jpg Harry F. Byrd February 1, 1926 January 15, 1930 Democratic
51 JGPollard.jpg John Garland Pollard January 15, 1930 January 17, 1934 Democratic
52 GeorgeCPeery.jpg George C. Peery January 17, 1934 January 15, 1938 Democratic
53 JamesHPrice.jpg James H. Price January 15, 1938 January 21, 1942 Democratic
54 Colgate Darden.jpg Colgate Darden January 21, 1942 January 16, 1946 Democratic
55 William M. Tuck.jpg William M. Tuck January 16, 1946 January 18, 1950 Democratic
56 John S. Battle.jpg John S. Battle January 18, 1950 January 20, 1954 Democratic
57 Thomas Bahnson Stanley.jpg Thomas Bahnson Stanley January 20, 1954 January 11, 1958 Democratic
58 James Lindsay Almond - circa 1945 to 1949 - US House of Representatives.jpg James Lindsay Almond, Jr. January 11, 1958 January 13, 1962 Democratic
59 Albertis S. Harrison, Jr. January 13, 1962 January 15, 1966 Democratic
60 Mills E. Godwin, Jr. January 15, 1966 January 17, 1970 Democratic
61 Linwood Holton (1971 Bugle).png A. Linwood Holton, Jr. January 17, 1970 January 12, 1974 Republican
62 Mills E. Godwin, Jr. January 12, 1974 January 14, 1978 Republican
63 Virginia Gov. John Dalton interviewed by a reporter during tour of Marine base, February 1981.JPEG John N. Dalton January 14, 1978 January 16, 1982 Republican
64 Charles robb.jpg Chuck Robb January 16, 1982 January 18, 1986 Democratic
65 Baliles head2.jpg Gerald L. Baliles January 18, 1986 January 13, 1990 Democratic
66 Douglas Wilder 2003 NIH.jpg Douglas Wilder January 13, 1990 January 15, 1994 Democratic First African American
67 George Allen.jpg George Allen January 15, 1994 January 17, 1998 Republican
68 Jim Gilmore by Gage Skidmore.jpg Jim Gilmore January 17, 1998 January 12, 2002 Republican
69 Mark Warner, official 111th Congress photo portrait.jpg Mark Warner January 12, 2002 January 14, 2006 Democratic
70 Tim Kaine, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpg Tim Kaine January 14, 2006 January 16, 2010 Democratic First Catholic Governor
71 Bob McDonnell by Gage Skidmore.jpg Bob McDonnell January 16, 2010 January 11, 2014 Republican Second Catholic Governor
72 Virginia Governor Democrats Terry McAuliffe 095 Cropped.jpg Terry McAuliffe January 11, 2014 Incumbent Democratic Third Catholic Governor

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ VA Const. art. V
  2. ^ a b 1776 Const.
  3. ^ 1830 Const. Art IV sec 1
  4. ^ VA Const. Art V sec 1
  5. ^ 1851 Const. art V sec 1
  6. ^ 1851 Const. Art V sec 2
  7. ^ 1902 Const. Art V sec 69
  8. ^ VA Const. art V sec 1
  9. ^ VA Const. Art V sec 16
  10. ^ 1851 Const. art V sec 8
  11. ^ 1830 Const. art IV sec 5

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, nine former governors were alive, the oldest being A. Linwood Holton, Jr. (1970–1974, born 1923). The most recent governor to die was Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (1966–1970 and 1974–1978), on January 30, 1999. The most recently serving governor to die was John N. Dalton (1978–1982), on July 30, 1986.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth
A. Linwood Holton, Jr. 1970–1974 (1923-09-21) September 21, 1923 (age 91)
Chuck Robb 1982–1986 (1939-06-26) June 26, 1939 (age 75)
Gerald L. Baliles 1986–1990 (1940-07-08) July 8, 1940 (age 74)
Douglas Wilder 1990–1994 (1931-01-17) January 17, 1931 (age 83)
George Allen 1994–1998 (1952-03-08) March 8, 1952 (age 62)
Jim Gilmore 1998–2002 (1949-10-06) October 6, 1949 (age 65)
Mark Warner 2002–2006 (1954-12-15) December 15, 1954 (age 60)
Tim Kaine 2006–2010 (1958-02-26) February 26, 1958 (age 56)
Bob McDonnell 2010–2014 (1954-06-15) June 15, 1954 (age 60)

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific