List of Governors of Minnesota
The following is a list of Governors of the state of Minnesota and Minnesota Territory. The governor serves as head of the executive branch of Minnesota's state government and is charged with ensuring the faithful execution of the state's laws.[a] He or she is empowered to name state commissioners and department heads and to approve or veto bills passed by the legislature.[b] The governor also serves as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.
Henry H. Sibley was elected the first governor in a statewide election held on October 13, 1857 and took office following Minnesota's entry into the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858.[c] At the time, the governor and lieutenant governor were elected on separate ballots to terms lasting two years. Prior to 1886, statewide elections were held on odd years. Because of this change (the result of an 1883 state constitutional amendment), Lucius F. Hubbard's second term as governor lasted three years. With the passage of a 1958 state constitutional amendment, the terms of governor and lieutenant governor increased to four-years in 1963.[b] A 1972 state constitutional amendment provided for the joint election of the governor and lieutenant governor starting in 1974.
The numerals indicate the consecutive time in office served by a single person. For example, William R. Marshall served two consecutive terms and is counted as the fifth state governor (not the fifth and sixth). Henry A. Swift assumed the governorship after the resignation of Alexander Ramsey, serving out the remainder of what would have been Ramsey's second term. The fact that Swift was not voted into office does not affect the numbering, which makes him the 3rd governor. Rudy Perpich served two non-consecutive terms and is counted chronologically as both the 34th and the 36th governor. Because of this, the list below contains 40 governorships, but only 39 people.
Prior to its organization as a territory, portions of Minnesota were part of the Northwest Territory, Indiana Territory, Louisiana Territory (later renamed Missouri Territory), Illinois Territory, Michigan Territory, Wisconsin Territory, and Iowa Territory; see the lists of governors of Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa for this period.
Four governors were born outside the United States: Knute Nelson was born in Norway, John Lind and Adolph O. Eberhart were born in Sweden, and Hjalmar Petersen was born in Denmark. Fifteen of the thirty-nine governors to date were actually born in Minnesota. Five governors have resigned from office, and three have died in office.
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Appointed by||Notes|
|1||Alexander Ramsey||June 1, 1849||May 15, 1853||Whig||Zachary Taylor|
|2||Willis A. Gorman||May 15, 1853||April 23, 1857||Democratic||Franklin Pierce|
|3||Samuel Medary||April 23, 1857||May 24, 1858||Democratic||James Buchanan|
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Date of Birth||Place of Birth||Date of Death||Lieutenant Governor(s)||Notes||Term|
|1||Henry H. Sibley||May 24, 1858||January 2, 1860||Democratic||February 20, 1811||Michigan||February 18, 1891||William Holcombe||1|
|2||Alexander Ramsey||January 2, 1860||July 10, 1863||Republican||September 8, 1815||Pennsylvania||April 22, 1903||Ignatius L. Donnelly||2|
|Ignatius L. Donnelly
Henry A. Swift
|3||Henry A. Swift||July 10, 1863||January 11, 1864||Republican||March 23, 1823||Ohio||February 25, 1869||vacant|
|4||Stephen Miller||January 11, 1864||January 8, 1866||Republican||January 7, 1816||Pennsylvania||August 18, 1881||Charles D. Sherwood||4|
|5||William R. Marshall||January 8, 1866||January 9, 1870||Republican||October 17, 1825||Missouri||January 8, 1896||Thomas H. Armstrong||5|
|6||Horace Austin||January 9, 1870||January 7, 1874||Republican||October 15, 1831||Connecticut||November 2, 1905||William H. Yale||7|
|7||Cushman K. Davis||January 7, 1874||January 7, 1876||Republican||June 16, 1838||New York||November 27, 1900||Alphonso Barto||9|
|8||John S. Pillsbury||January 7, 1876||January 10, 1882||Republican||July 29, 1827||New Hampshire||October 18, 1901||James B. Wakefield||10|
|Charles A. Gilman||12|
|9||Lucius F. Hubbard||January 10, 1882||January 5, 1887||Republican||January 26, 1836||New York||February 5, 1913||Charles A. Gilman||13|
|10||Andrew R. McGill||January 5, 1887||January 9, 1889||Republican||February 19, 1840||Pennsylvania||October 31, 1905||Albert E. Rice||15|
|11||William R. Merriam||January 9, 1889||January 9, 1893||Republican||July 26, 1849||New York||February 18, 1931||Albert E. Rice||16|
|Gideon S. Ives||17|
|12||Knute Nelson||January 9, 1893||January 31, 1895||Republican||February 2, 1843||Norway||April 28, 1923||David M. Clough||18|
|13||David M. Clough||January 31, 1895||January 2, 1899||Republican||December 27, 1846||New Hampshire||August 28, 1924||Frank A. Day||19|
|John L. Gibbs||20|
|14||John Lind||January 2, 1899||January 7, 1901||Democratic||March 25, 1854||Sweden||September 18, 1930||Lyndon A. Smith||21|
|15||Samuel R. Van Sant||January 7, 1901||January 4, 1905||Republican||May 11, 1844||Illinois||October 3, 1936||Lyndon A. Smith||22|
|Ray W. Jones||23|
|16||John A. Johnson||January 4, 1905||September 21, 1909||Democratic||July 28, 1861||Minnesota||September 21, 1909||Ray W. Jones||24|
|Adolph O. Eberhart||25|
|17||Adolph O. Eberhart||September 21, 1909||January 5, 1915||Republican||June 23, 1870||Sweden||December 6, 1944||Edward E. Smith||26|
|Samuel Y. Gordon||27|
|J. A. A. Burnquist||28|
|18||Winfield S. Hammond||January 5, 1915||December 30, 1915||Democratic||November 17, 1863||Massachusetts||December 30, 1915||J. A. A. Burnquist||29|
|19||J. A. A. Burnquist||December 30, 1915||January 5, 1921||Republican||July 21, 1879||Iowa||January 12, 1961||George H. Sullivan||29|
|20||J. A. O. Preus||January 5, 1921||January 6, 1925||Republican||August 28, 1883||Wisconsin||May 24, 1961||Louis L. Collins||32|
|21||Theodore Christianson||January 6, 1925||January 6, 1931||Republican||September 12, 1883||Minnesota||December 9, 1948||William I. Nolan||34|
|William I. Nolan
Charles Edward Adams
|22||Floyd B. Olson||January 6, 1931||August 22, 1936||Farmer-Labor||November 13, 1891||Minnesota||August 22, 1936||Henry M. Arens||37|
|Konrad K. Solberg||38|
|23||Hjalmar Petersen||August 22, 1936||January 4, 1937||Farmer-Labor||January 2, 1890||Denmark||March 29, 1968||William B. Richardson (acting)|
|24||Elmer A. Benson||January 4, 1937||January 2, 1939||Farmer-Labor||September 22, 1895||Minnesota||March 13, 1985||Gottfrid T. Lindsten||40|
|25||Harold E. Stassen||January 2, 1939||April 27, 1943||Republican||April 13, 1907||Minnesota||March 4, 2001||C. Elmer Anderson||41|
|Edward J. Thye||43|
|26||Edward J. Thye||April 27, 1943||January 8, 1947||Republican||April 26, 1896||South Dakota||August 28, 1969||Archie H. Miller|
|C. Elmer Anderson||44|
|27||Luther W. Youngdahl||January 8, 1947||September 27, 1951||Republican||May 29, 1896||Minnesota||June 21, 1978||C. Elmer Anderson||45|
|C. Elmer Anderson||47|
|28||C. Elmer Anderson||September 27, 1951||January 5, 1955||Republican||March 16, 1912||Minnesota||January 22, 1998||vacant|
|Donald O. Wright|
|29||Orville L. Freeman||January 5, 1955||January 2, 1961||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||May 9, 1918||Minnesota||February 20, 2003||Karl F. Rolvaag||49|
|30||Elmer L. Andersen||January 2, 1961||March 25, 1963||Republican||June 17, 1909||Illinois||November 15, 2004||Karl F. Rolvaag||52|
|31||Karl F. Rolvaag||March 25, 1963||January 2, 1967||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||July 18, 1913||Minnesota||December 20, 1990||Alexander M. Keith||53|
|32||Harold LeVander||January 2, 1967||January 4, 1971||Republican||October 10, 1910||Nebraska||March 30, 1992||James B. Goetz||54|
|33||Wendell R. Anderson||January 4, 1971||December 29, 1976||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||February 1, 1933||Minnesota||Rudy Perpich||55|
|34||Rudy Perpich||December 29, 1976||January 4, 1979||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||June 27, 1928||Minnesota||September 21, 1995||Alec G. Olson|
|35||Al Quie||January 4, 1979||January 3, 1983||Independent-Republican||September 18, 1923||Minnesota||Lou Wangberg||57|
|36||Rudy Perpich||January 3, 1983||January 7, 1991||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||June 27, 1928||Minnesota||September 21, 1995||Marlene Johnson||58|
|37||Arne H. Carlson||January 7, 1991||January 4, 1999||Independent-Republican/
|September 24, 1934||New York||Joanell M. Dyrstad||60|
|Joanne E. Benson||61|
|38||Jesse Ventura (James Janos)||January 4, 1999||January 6, 2003||Reform/Independence||July 15, 1951||Minnesota||Mae A. Schunk||62|
|39||Tim Pawlenty||January 6, 2003||January 3, 2011||Republican||November 27, 1960||Minnesota||Carol Molnau||63|
|40||Mark Dayton||January 3, 2011||Incumbent||Democratic-Farmer-Labor||January 26, 1947||Minnesota||Yvonne Prettner Solon||65|
- List of Minnesota gubernatorial elections
- List of Lieutenant Governors of Minnesota
- Minnesota Governor's Residence
- U.S. Congressional Delegations from Minnesota
- Table lists John Lind as a member of the Democratic Party. He was also endorsed by the Populist Party and the Silver Republican Party. Jesse Ventura left the Reform Party in the middle of his term and later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota.
- Succeeded to office following death or resignation of previous officeholder.
- Lind was also endorsed by the Populist Party and the Silver Republican Party.
- Died in office of natural causes.
- Served as acting lieutenant governor and never took the oath of office.
- A recount and subsequent litigation lasting 139 days delayed Karl Rolvaag's inauguration as governor.
- Ventura's birth and legal name is James George Janos.
Notes on Minnesota political party names
- Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party: On April 15, 1944 the state Democratic Party and the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party merged and created the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). It is affiliated with the national Democratic Party.
- Republican Party of Minnesota: From November 15, 1975 to September 23, 1995 the name of the state Republican party was the Independent-Republican party (I-R). The party has always been affiliated with the national Republican Party.
- Independence Party of Minnesota: The party was founded under this name in 1992. In 1995 the IPM affiliated with the national Reform Party and renamed itself the Reform Party of Minnesota. In 2000 the Reform Party of Minnesota disaffiliated with the national Reform Party and returned to the name Independence Party.
Other high offices held
This is a table of congressional and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Minnesota except where noted. * denotes offices that the governor resigned to take.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||U.S. Congress||Other offices held|
|Alexander Ramsey||1849–1853 (territorial)
|H||S*||U.S. Secretary of War|
|Willis A. Gorman||1853–1857 (territorial)||U.S. Representative (Indiana)|
|Henry H. Sibley||1858–1860||U.S. Congressional Delegate (Wisconsin Territory, Minnesota Territory)|
|Cushman K. Davis||1874–1876||S|
|Winfield S. Hammond||1915||H|
|Elmer A. Benson||1937–1939||S|
|Edward J. Thye||1943–1947||S|
|Luther W. Youngdahl||1947–1951||U.S. District Court Judge*|
|Orville L. Freeman||1955–1961||U.S. Secretary of Agriculture|
|Karl F. Rolvaag||1963–1967||U.S. Ambassador to Iceland|
|Wendell R. Anderson||1971–1976||S*|
Living former governors
As of August 2014[update], five former governors were alive, the oldest being Al Quie (1979–1983, born 1923). The most recent governor to die was Elmer L. Andersen (1961–1963), on November 15, 2004. The most recently serving governor to die was Rudy Perpich (1976–1979, 1983–1991), on September 21, 1995.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth|
|Wendell R. Anderson||1971–1976||February 1, 1933|
|Al Quie||1979–1983||September 18, 1923|
|Arne H. Carlson||1991–1999||September 24, 1934|
|Jesse Ventura||1999–2003||July 15, 1951|
|Tim Pawlenty||2003–2011||November 27, 1960|
- "Governors of Minnesota". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
- "Lieutenant Governors of Minnesota". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
- "Minnesota Governors, 1849 – present". Office of the Governor, State of Minnesota. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
- ^ "Constitution of the State of Minnesota". Retrieved May 18, 2007.
- 1 2 "Amendments to the Minnesota Constitution Proposed to the Voters since 1858" (PDF). Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved May 18, 2007.
- ^ "2007–2008 MN Legislative Manual" (PDF). Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 25, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2007.