List of Governors of Montana

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Governor of Montana
Montana-StateSeal.svg
Seal of the State of Montana
Photo of Montana Governor-elect Steve Bullock.jpg
Incumbent
Steve Bullock

since January 7, 2013
Style The Honorable
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[1] and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[2] The governor has a duty to enforce state laws,[1] the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Montana State Legislature,[3] to convene the legislature at any time,[4] and to grant pardons and reprieves.[5]

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.[6] The governor is term-limited to 8 years in any 16-year period.[7] 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;[6] 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.[8] The 1889 constitution made the lieutenant governor president of the state senate,[9] 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.

Governors[edit]

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[edit]

Officer with moustache in dark dress military uniform with long coat
Acting governor Thomas Frances Meagher, circa 1865, appointed twice to office
Older man with gray beard and dark suit with bow tie and white shirt
Governor Samuel Hauser in March 1891

NOTE: Term dates are for the full, official term of office, see notes column for clarification of dates when men served as governor.

Dem Democratic Rep Republican

Governors of Montana Territory
# 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[10][11][12][13]
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 [10][11][12][13]
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.[14]
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[edit]

Man with moustache in dark jacket and die with white collar, facing left
Joseph Kemp Toole, first and fourth governor of the state of Montana

Dem Democratic Rep Republican

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 [15]
2 Rickards, John E.John E. Rickards Rep January 2, 1893 January 3, 1897
  • Alexander C. Botkin (Rep) – 2
3 Smith, Robert BurnsRobert Burns Smith Dem January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901
  • A. E. Spriggs (Dem) – 3
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
  • W. W. McDowell (Dem) - 7, 8
7 Dixon, Joseph M.Joseph M. Dixon Rep January 3, 1921 January 4, 1925
  • Nelson Story, Jr. (Rep) - 9
[16]
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
  • Tom Kane (Rep) - 12
  • Ernest T. Eaton (Rep) - 12
  • Elmer Holt (Dem) - 12
As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term. Died in office while governor.
10 Holt, ElmerElmer Holt Dem December 15, 1935 January 4, 1937
  • William P. Pilgeram (Dem) - 12
As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
11 Ayers, Roy E.Roy E. Ayers Dem January 4, 1937 January 6, 1941
  • Hugh R. Adair (Dem) - 13
12 Ford, Sam C.Sam C. Ford Rep January 6, 1941 January 3, 1949
  • Ernest T. Eaton (Rep) - 14, 15
13 Bonner, John W.John W. Bonner Dem January 3, 1949 January 5, 1953
  • Paul Cannon (Dem) - 16
14 Aronson, J. HugoJ. Hugo Aronson Rep January 5, 1953 January 2, 1961
  • George M. Gosman (Rep) - 17
  • Paul Cannon (Dem) - 18
[17]
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
  • David F. James (Dem) - 19
  • Ted James (Rep) - 20
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 [18][19]
22 Martz, JudyJudy Martz Rep January 1, 2001 January 3, 2005 [20]
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[edit]

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.

Other high offices held by Montanans
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[edit]

As of August 2014, 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.

Living former governors of Montana
Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Babcock, Tim M.Tim M. Babcock 1962–1969 (1919-10-27) October 27, 1919 (age 94)
Schwinden, TedTed Schwinden 1981–1989 (1925-08-31) August 31, 1925 (age 88)
Stephens, StanStan Stephens 1989–1993 (1929-09-16) September 16, 1929 (age 84)
Racicot, MarcMarc Racicot 1993–2001 (1948-07-24) July 24, 1948 (age 66)
Martz, JudyJudy Martz 2001–2005 (1943-07-28) July 28, 1943 (age 71)
Schweitzer, BrianBrian Schweitzer 2005–2013 (1955-09-04) September 4, 1955 (age 58)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ a b Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 4.
  2. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 7.
  3. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 10.
  4. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 11.
  5. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 12.
  6. ^ a b Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 1.
  7. ^ Montana Constitution, Article IV, Section 8.
  8. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 14.
  9. ^ Montana Constitution (1889), Article VII, Section 1.
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b "A Memorial to Thomas Francis Meagher on the Levee at Fort Benton, Montana" (PDF). Hibernian. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Montana Vigilantes". Montana Travel. Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Spence, Clark C. (Spring 1968). "Spoilsman in Montana: James M. Ashley". Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Montana Historical Society) 18 (2): 24–35. 
  15. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph K. Toole". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  16. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph M. Dixon". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  17. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: J. Hugo Aronson". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  18. ^ Lewis, Charles (December 20, 2001). "The GOP's New Lobbyist in Chief". Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Marc Racicot". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011. 
  20. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Judy Martz". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 

External links[edit]