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 the 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 in the state), 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 
Two-time acting governor Thomas Frances Meagher, circa 1865
Governor Samuel Hauser in March 1891
NOTE: Term dates are for the full term of office, see notes column for clarification of dates about actually serving as governor.
Dem Democrat Rep Republican UNK = Unknown
Governors of Montana 
Joseph Kemp Toole, first and fourth governor of the state of Montana
Dem Democrat Rep Republican
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.
Living former governors 
As of January 2013Tim M. Babcock (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 (1973–1981), on September 8, 2006.
, six former governors are alive, the oldest being
- ^ a b 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.
- ^ a b 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.
- ^ a b 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 b "A Memorial to Thomas Francis Meagher on the Levee at Fort Benton, Montana" (PDF). Hibernian. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- ^ a b "Montana Vigilantes". Montana Travel. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
- ^ a b 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.
- ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Brian Schweitzer". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
External links