List of Governors of Montana
|Governor of Montana|
Seal of the State of Montana
|Residence||Montana Governor's Residence|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Joseph K. Toole|
|Formation||1889; Montana Constitution|
|Succession||Every four years, unless re-elected.|
The Governor of Montana is the head of the executive branch of Montana's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Montana State Legislature, to convene the legislature at any time, and to grant pardons and reprieves.
The current Montana Constitution, ratified in 1972, calls for a four-year term for the governor, commencing on the first Monday in January following an election. The governor is term-limited to 8 years in any 16-year period. The constitution provides for the election of a lieutenant governor for the same term as the governor. The two offices are elected on the same ticket; a provision which did not appear in the state's first constitution, ratified in 1889. In the event of a vacancy in the office of governor due to resignation, disqualification, or death, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term. If the governor is unable to perform his duties for any other reason, the lieutenant governor may become acting governor at the discretion of the state legislature. The 1889 constitution made the lieutenant governor president of the state senate, but this provision was removed in the 1972 constitution.
Montana has had 24 governors (ten of whom were actually born within state boundaries), consisting of 9 Republicans and 15 Democrats. The longest-serving governor was John Edward Erickson, who was elected three times and served from 1925 to 1933 before resigning to become a U.S. senator, only two months into his third term. The shortest-serving governor was Elmer Holt, who served less than 13 months when the previous governor died. The current governor is Democrat Steve Bullock, who took office on January 7, 2013 and is serving his first term.
Prior to the creation of Montana Territory (1864–1889), various parts of what is now Montana were parts of Oregon Territory (1848–1859), Washington Territory (1853–1863), Idaho Territory (1863–1864), and Dakota Territory (1861–1864).
Governors of Montana Territory
NOTE: Term dates are for the full, official term of office, see notes column for clarification of dates when men served as governor.
|#||Governor||Party||Term start||Term end||Appointed by||Notes|
|1||Edgerton, SidneySidney Edgerton||Rep||June 22, 1864||July 12, 1866||Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln||Did not find out he had been appointed right away; left the state in September 1865 and did not return for 25 years|
|—||Meagher (acting), Thomas FrancisThomas Francis Meagher (acting)||Dem||September 1865||October 3, 1866||—||Also appointed to act in place of Smith (see below), after he returned East|
|2||Smith, Green ClayGreen Clay Smith||Dem||July 13, 1866||January 1867||Johnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson||Did not assume office until October 1866|
|—||Meagher (acting), Thomas FrancisThomas Francis Meagher (acting)||Dem||December 1866||July 1, 1867||—|||
|2||Smith, Green ClayGreen Clay Smith||Dem||July 2, 1867||April 9, 1869||Johnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson||Stopped functioning as governor in summer 1868|
|—||Tufts (acting), JamesJames Tufts (acting)||Rep||March 1869||April 9, 1869||—||Possibly from late 1868|
|3||Ashley, James MitchellJames Mitchell Ashley||Rep||April 9, 1869||July 12, 1870||Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant||Removed from office by President Ulysses S. Grant in mid-December 1869 for unclear reasons.|
|—||Scribner (acting), WileyWiley Scribner (acting)||Rep||December 1869||August 1870||—|
|4||Potts, Benjamin F.Benjamin F. Potts||Rep||July 13, 1870||January 14, 1883||Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant|
|5||Crosby, John SchuylerJohn Schuyler Crosby||Rep||January 15, 1883||December 15, 1884||Arthur, Chester A.Chester A. Arthur|
|6||Carpenter, B. PlattB. Platt Carpenter||Rep||December 16, 1884||July 13, 1885||Arthur, Chester A.Chester A. Arthur|
|7||Hauser, Samuel ThomasSamuel Thomas Hauser||Dem||July 14, 1885||February 7, 1887||Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland|
|8||Leslie, Preston HopkinsPreston Hopkins Leslie||Dem||February 8, 1887||April 8, 1889||Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland|
|9||White, Benjamin F.Benjamin F. White||Rep||April 9, 1889||November 8, 1889||Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison|
Governors of Montana
|#||Governor||Party||Took office||Left office||Lt. Governor and Term||Notes|
|1||Toole, JosephJoseph Toole||Dem||November 8, 1889||January 1, 1893||
|2||Rickards, John E.John E. Rickards||Rep||January 2, 1893||January 3, 1897||
|3||Smith, Robert BurnsRobert Burns Smith||Dem||January 4, 1897||January 7, 1901||
|4||Toole, JosephJoseph Toole||Dem||January 7, 1901||April 1, 1908||
||Resigned due to declining health.|
|5||Norris, Edwin L.Edwin L. Norris||Dem||April 1, 1908||January 5, 1913||
||As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.|
|6||Stewart, Sam V.Sam V. Stewart||Dem||January 6, 1913||January 2, 1921||
|7||Dixon, Joseph M.Joseph M. Dixon||Rep||January 3, 1921||January 4, 1925||
|8||Erickson, John E.John E. Erickson||Dem||January 4, 1925||March 13, 1933||
||Resigned so that his successor would appoint him to the United States Senate.|
|9||Cooney, Frank HenryFrank Henry Cooney||Dem||March 13, 1933||December 15, 1935||
||As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term. Died in office while governor.|
|10||Holt, ElmerElmer Holt||Dem||December 15, 1935||January 4, 1937||
||As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.|
|11||Ayers, Roy E.Roy E. Ayers||Dem||January 4, 1937||January 6, 1941||
|12||Ford, Sam C.Sam C. Ford||Rep||January 6, 1941||January 3, 1949||
|13||Bonner, John W.John W. Bonner||Dem||January 3, 1949||January 5, 1953||
|14||Aronson, J. HugoJ. Hugo Aronson||Rep||January 5, 1953||January 2, 1961||
|15||Nutter, Donald GrantDonald Grant Nutter||Rep||January 2, 1961||January 25, 1962||
||Died in office.|
|16||Babcock, Tim M.Tim M. Babcock||Rep||January 25, 1962||January 6, 1969||
||As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.|
|17||Anderson, Forrest H.Forrest H. Anderson||Dem||January 6, 1969||January 1, 1973||
|18||Judge, Thomas LeeThomas Lee Judge||Dem||January 1, 1973||January 5, 1981||
|19||Schwinden, TedTed Schwinden||Dem||January 5, 1981||January 2, 1989||
|20||Stephens, StanStan Stephens||Rep||January 2, 1989||January 4, 1993|
|21||Racicot, MarcMarc Racicot||Rep||January 4, 1993||January 1, 2001|||
|22||Martz, JudyJudy Martz||Rep||January 1, 2001||January 3, 2005||
|23||Schweitzer, BrianBrian Schweitzer||Dem||January 3, 2005||January 7, 2013||
|24||Bullock, SteveSteve Bullock||Dem||January 7, 2013||Incumbent||Governor Bullock's term expires on January 2, 2017; he is not yet term limited.|
Other high offices held
This is a table of the higher federal offices and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators represented Montana. * denotes cases where the governor resigned the governship to accept the other office.
|Name||Gubernatorial term||Higher offices held|
|Toole, JosephJoseph Toole||1889–1893, 1901–1908||Territorial Delegate|
|Dixon, Joseph M.Joseph M. Dixon||1921–1925||U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator|
|Erickson, John EdwardJohn Edward Erickson||1925–1933||U.S. Senator*|
|Ayers, Roy E.Roy E. Ayers||1937–1941||U.S. Representative|
Living former governors
As of August 2014[update], six former governors are alive, the oldest being Tim M. Babcock (served 1962–1969, born 1919). The most recent death of a governor, as well as the most recently serving governor to die, was Thomas Lee Judge (served 1973–1981, born 1934), on September 8, 2006.
|Name||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth|
|Babcock, Tim M.Tim M. Babcock||1962–1969||October 27, 1919|
|Schwinden, TedTed Schwinden||1981–1989||August 31, 1925|
|Stephens, StanStan Stephens||1989–1993||September 16, 1929|
|Racicot, MarcMarc Racicot||1993–2001||July 24, 1948|
|Martz, JudyJudy Martz||2001–2005||July 28, 1943|
|Schweitzer, BrianBrian Schweitzer||2005–2013||September 4, 1955|
- "Constitution of the State of Montana" (1972). Montana Legislature. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
- "Constitution of the State of Montana" (1889). University of Montana Law Library. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
- "Constitution of the State of Montana" (1884) ratified but never approved by Congress. University of Montana Law Library. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 4.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 7.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 10.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 11.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 12.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 1.
- Montana Constitution, Article IV, Section 8.
- Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 14.
- Montana Constitution (1889), Article VII, Section 1.
- Wylie, Paul R. (2007). The Irish General: Thomas Francis Meagher. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 252–272, 303–312, 365–375. ISBN 978-0-8061-3847-3.
- "A Memorial to Thomas Francis Meagher on the Levee at Fort Benton, Montana" (PDF). Hibernian. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- "Montana Vigilantes". Montana Travel. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- Burnham, Patricia M.; Susan R. Near (2002). Montana's State Capitol - The People's House. Montana Historical Society. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-917298-83-7. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- Spence, Clark C. (Spring 1968). "Spoilsman in Montana: James M. Ashley". Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Montana Historical Society) 18 (2): 24–35.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph K. Toole". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph M. Dixon". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: J. Hugo Aronson". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Lewis, Charles (December 20, 2001). "The GOP's New Lobbyist in Chief". Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Marc Racicot". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Judy Martz". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011.