List of Governors of Texas

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Governor of Texas
Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Rick Perry

since December 21, 2000
Style The Honorable
Residence Texas Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, no term limits
Inaugural holder James Pinckney Henderson
Formation Texas Constitution
Salary $150,000 (2013)[1]
Website Office of the Governor

The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons in cases other than impeachment (but only when recommended by the Board of Pardons and Paroles) or in the case of treason, with permission by the legislature.

Compared to the governors of other U.S. states, the governorship of Texas has been cited by Slate magazine and liberal commentator Molly Ivins as a fairly weak office.[2][3] In some respects it is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, who presides over the state Senate, who is a more powerful political figure able to exercise greater personal prerogatives.[2][3] Current Governor Rick Perry held the Lt. Governorship from 1999–2000 under George W. Bush.

The state's first constitution in 1845 established the office of governor, to serve for two years, but no more than four years out of every six (essentially a limit of no more than two consecutive terms).[4] The 1861 secessionist constitution set the term start date at the first Monday in the November following the election.[5] The 1866 constitution, adopted just after the American Civil War, increased terms to four years, but no more than eight years out of every twelve, and moved the start date to the first Thursday after the organization of the legislature, or "as soon thereafter as practicable".[6] The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 removed the limit on terms,[7] and to this day, Texas is one of 14 states[8] with no gubernatorial term limit. The present constitution of 1876 shortened terms back to two years,[9] but a 1972 amendment increased it back to four years.[10]

The Governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday of January every four years along with the Lieutenant Governor, so Perry and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst both began new terms on January 18, 2011. Perry announced on July 8, 2013, that he will not seek re-election to a fourth full term in the upcoming 2014 elections, so his third full term as Governor will end on January 20, 2015.

Despite the lack of term limits, no Texas governor in the 19th or 20th century ever served more than seven and a half consecutive years in office (Allan Shivers) or eight years total service (Bill Clements, in two non-consecutive four-year terms). Current Governor Rick Perry, who took office in December 2000, has now surpassed both records. Perry joins Shivers, Price Daniel, and John Connally as the fourth Texas governor to serve three terms.

In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[11] This was added only in a 1999 amendment, prior to which the lieutenant governor only acted as governor, except during the time of the 1861 constitution, which said that the lieutenant governor would be "styled Governor of the State of Texas" in case of vacancy.[12] The Governor and first family reside in the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas.

Governors of Spanish Texas[edit]

See: List of Texas Governors and Presidents

Governors of Mexican Texas[edit]

See: List of Texas Governors and Presidents

Presidents of the Republic of Texas[edit]

See: President of the Republic of Texas#List of presidents and vice presidents

Governors of Texas[edit]

Number of Governors of Texas by party affiliation
Party Governors
Democratic 39
Republican 6
Unionist 1
Independent 1
Military 1
# Governor Picture Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Notes[13]
1 James Pinckney Henderson James Pinckney Henderson-p.jpg February 19, 1846 December 21, 1847 Democratic Albert Clinton Horton
2 George T. Wood George wood.png December 21, 1847 December 21, 1849 Democratic John Alexander Greer
3 Peter Hansborough Bell Peter bell.png December 21, 1849 November 23, 1853 Democratic John Alexander Greer (1849–51) [14]
James W. Henderson (1851–53)
4 James W. Henderson James w henderson.png November 23, 1853 December 21, 1853 Democratic Vacant [15]
5 Elisha M. Pease Elisha pease.png December 21, 1853 December 21, 1857 Unionist David Catchings Dickson (1853–55)
Hardin Richard Runnels (1855–57)
6 Hardin R. Runnels Hardin runnels.png December 21, 1857 December 21, 1859 Democratic Francis R. Lubbock
7 Sam Houston Thomas Flintoff - Sam Houston - Google Art Project.jpg December 21, 1859 March 18, 1861 Independent Edward Clark [16]
8 Edward Clark Edward clark.png March 18, 1861 November 7, 1861 Democratic Vacant [15]
9 Francis R. Lubbock Francis lubbock.jpg November 7, 1861 November 5, 1863 Democratic John McClannahan Crockett
10 Pendleton Murrah Pendleton murrah.jpg November 5, 1863 June 17, 1865 Democratic Fletcher Summerfield Stockdale [17]
Fletcher Summerfield Stockdale FLETCHER STOCKDALE.PNG June 11, 1865 June 16, 1865 Military Vacant [18]
11 Andrew J. Hamilton Governor Hamilton.jpg June 17, 1865 August 9, 1866 Democratic-Military Vacant [19]
12 James W. Throckmorton James W. Throckmorton - Brady-Handy.jpg August 9, 1866 August 8, 1867 Democratic George Washington Jones [20]
13 Elisha M. Pease Elisha pease.png June 8, 1867 September 30, 1869 Republican Vacant [20][21]
14 Edmund J. Davis Edmund Davis.jpg January 8, 1870 January 15, 1874 Republican Vacant [22]
15 Richard Coke Richard Coke - Brady-Handy.jpg January 15, 1874 December 21, 1876 Democratic Richard Bennett Hubbard, Jr. [23]
16 Richard B. Hubbard Richard hubbard.jpg December 21, 1876 January 21, 1879 Democratic Vacant [15]
17 Oran M. Roberts Oran roberts.jpg January 21, 1879 January 16, 1883 Democratic Joseph Draper Sayers (1879–81)
Leonidas Jefferson Storey (1881–83)
18 John Ireland John ireland.jpg January 16, 1883 January 20, 1887 Democratic Francis Marion Martin (1883–85)
Barnett Gibbs (1885–87)
19 Lawrence Sullivan Ross Lawrence Sullivan Ross.jpg January 18, 1887 January 20, 1891 Democratic Thomas Benton Wheeler
20 James Stephen Hogg Jim hogg.jpg January 20, 1891 January 15, 1895 Democratic George Cassety Pendleton (1891–93)
Martin McNulty Crane (1893–95)
21 Charles A. Culberson Charles Allen Culberson.jpg January 15, 1895 January 17, 1899 Democratic George Taylor Jester
22 Joseph D. Sayers GovJosephSayers.jpg January 17, 1899 January 20, 1903 Democratic James Nathan Browning
23 S. W. T. Lanham Swtlanham.jpg January 20, 1903 January 15, 1907 Democratic George D. Neal
24 Thomas Mitchell Campbell T.M. Campbell, Governor, Bain portrait bust.jpg January 15, 1907 January 17, 1911 Democratic Asbury Bascom Davidson
25 Oscar Branch Colquitt Oscar Branch Colquitt.jpg January 17, 1911 January 19, 1915 Democratic Asbury Bascom Davidson (1911–13)
William Harding Mayes (1913–15)
26 James E. "Pa" Ferguson James E. Ferguson.jpg January 19, 1915 August 25, 1917 Democratic William Pettus Hobby, Sr. [24]
27 William P. Hobby William hobby.jpg August 25, 1917 January 18, 1921 Democratic Vacant (1917–19) [25]
Willard Arnold Johnson (1919–21)
28 Pat Morris Neff PatMNeff.jpg January 18, 1921 January 20, 1925 Democratic Lynch Davidson (1921–23)
Thomas Whitfield Davidson (1923–25)
29 Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson Miriam A. Ferguson.jpg January 20, 1925 January 17, 1927 Democratic Barry Miller
30 Dan Moody DanMoody.jpg January 17, 1927 January 20, 1931 Democratic
31 Ross S. Sterling January 20, 1931 January 17, 1933 Democratic Edgar E. Witt
32 Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson Miriam A. Ferguson.jpg January 17, 1933 January 15, 1935 Democratic
33 James V. Allred January 15, 1935 January 17, 1939 Democratic Walter Frank Woodul
34 W. Lee O'Daniel Wilbert Lee O'Daniel.jpg January 17, 1939 August 4, 1941 Democratic Coke R. Stevenson [26]
35 Coke R. Stevenson Coke R Stevenson.jpg August 4, 1941 January 21, 1947 Democratic Vacant (1941–43) [25]
John Lee Smith (1943–47)
36 Beauford H. Jester January 21, 1947 July 11, 1949 Democratic Allan Shivers [27]
37 Allan Shivers Shivers-p02.jpg July 11, 1949 January 15, 1957 Democratic Vacant (1949–51) [25]
Ben Ramsey (1951–61)
38 Price Daniel Price Daniel.jpg January 15, 1957 January 15, 1963 Democratic Ben Ramsey (1951–61)
Vacant (1961-63)
39 John Connally John Connally.jpg January 15, 1963 January 21, 1969 Democratic Preston Smith
40 Preston Smith January 21, 1969 January 16, 1973 Democratic Ben Barnes
41 Dolph Briscoe Briscoe-p01.jpg January 16, 1973 January 16, 1979 Democratic William P. Hobby, Jr.
42 Bill Clements Bill Clements.jpg January 16, 1979 January 18, 1983 Republican
43 Mark White Governor Mark White.jpg January 18, 1983 January 20, 1987 Democratic
44 Bill Clements Bill Clements.jpg January 20, 1987 January 15, 1991 Republican
45 Ann Richards Ann Richards, Governor of Texas.jpg January 15, 1991 January 17, 1995 Democratic Bob Bullock
46 George W. Bush GeorgeWBush.jpg January 17, 1995 December 21, 2000 Republican Bob Bullock (1995–99) [28]
Rick Perry (1999–2000)
47 Rick Perry Rick Perry by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg December 21, 2000 Incumbent Republican Bill Ratliff (acting) (2000–03) [25][29]
David Dewhurst (2003–present)
48 Greg Abbott Greg Abbott by Gage Skidmore.jpg January 20, 2015 Governor-Elect Republican [25][30]

Other high offices held[edit]

Governor Gubernatorial Term Other High Offices Held
Sam Houston 1859-1861 U.S. Representative (1823-1827), Governor of Tennessee (1827-1829), President of Texas (1836-1838, 1841-1844), U.S. Senator (1846-1859)
W. Lee O'Daniel 1939-1941 U.S. Senator (1941–1949)
Price Daniel 1957–1963 U.S. Senator (1953–1957)
John Connally 1963–1969 U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1961)
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (1971–1972)
Bill Clements 1979–1983
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense (1973–1977)
George W. Bush 1995–2000 43rd President of the United States (2001–2009)

Living former governors[edit]

As of December 2014, two former governors were living, the oldest being Mark White (1983–1987, born 1940). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Bill Clements (1979–1983, 1987–1991), on May 29, 2011. The most recent governor to serve who has died is Ann Richards (1991–1995), who died on September 13, 2006.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Mark White 1983–1987 (1940-03-17) March 17, 1940 (age 74)
George W. Bush 1995–2000 (1946-07-06) July 6, 1946 (age 68)

Gubernatorial trivia[edit]

Along with the Seal of Office, the governor of Texas also has a flag. It is not in common use.


Texas has had two female governors: Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson and Ann Richards. Ferguson was one of the first two women elected governor of a U.S. state (on November 4, 1924), along with Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming. Ross was inaugurated on January 5, 1925, while Ferguson was inaugurated on January 20, so Ross is considered the first female state governor. Ferguson was the wife of former governor Jim "Pa" Ferguson, while Richards was elected "in her own right," being neither the spouse nor widow of a governor.

Texas governors have been born in fourteen states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Baylor University is the most common alma mater of Texas governors, with five of them - Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Pat Morris Neff, Price Daniel, Mark White, and Ann Richards - considered alumni (though Ross attended but never completed a degree). To date, Coke Stevenson is the most recent governor who never attended college, and Bill Clements is the most recent who attended college but did not graduate.


Three governors have served non-consecutive terms: Elisha M. Pease, Miriam A. Ferguson, and Bill Clements. As was the case in most Southern states, Texas elected no Republican governors from the end of Reconstruction until the late twentieth century. Bill Clements was the state's first Republican governor since Edmund J. Davis left office in 1874, 105 years earlier. Dolph Briscoe was the last governor to be elected to a two-year term, in 1972; he was also the first to be elected to a four-year term, in 1974, since the post-Reconstruction period when two-year terms had first been established. Governor Rick Perry, who ascended to the governorship on December 21, 2000 upon the resignation of then-Governor George W. Bush, won full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Texas governors in popular culture[edit]

W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel served as the inspiration for the fictional, but similarly named Mississippi Governor Menelaus "Pappy" O'Daniel in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Ann Richards had a cameo appearance on an episode of the animated comedy series King of the Hill, in which she has a brief romance with Bill Dauterive after he takes the fall for mooning her in the elevator of an Austin hotel (Hank actually mooned her because he thought his friends were going to be mooning the people in the elevator but they set him up).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Suellentrop, Chip (2000-01-05). "Is George W. Bush a "Weak" Governor?". Slate Magazine - Explainer. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  3. ^ a b Ivins, Molly; Lou Dubose (2000). Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. New York: Vintage Books. pp. xii–xiii. ISBN 0-375-75714-7. 
  4. ^ 1845 Const. Art V sec 4
  5. ^ 1861 Const. art V sec 12
  6. ^ 1866 Const. art V sec 4
  7. ^ 1869 Const. Art IV sec 4
  8. ^ Executive Branch retrieved 23-October-2008
  9. ^ TX Const. Art IV sec 4
  10. ^ Texas Politics - The Executive Branch. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  11. ^ TX Const. art IV sec 16 graf d
  12. ^ 1861 Const art V sec 12
  13. ^ The fractional terms of some governors are not to be absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
  14. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  15. ^ a b c As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  16. ^ Evicted from office due to his refusal to swear an oath to the Confederate States of America.
  17. ^ Fled Austin as it fell to Union forces.
  18. ^ NGA says he was Lt. Gov who served as Gov after Murrah fled Texas.
  19. ^ Provisional military governor.
  20. ^ a b James Throckmorton was removed from office by General Philip Sheridan, and Elisha Pease installed in his place.
  21. ^ Resigned due to disagreements with General Joseph Reynolds.
  22. ^ Elected in a special election held under military direction.
  23. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate.
  24. ^ Resigned due to the legislature bringing impeachment proceedings against him.
  25. ^ a b c d e As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in their own right.
  26. ^ Resigned after winning the Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat; he won the election.
  27. ^ Died in office.
  28. ^ Resigned to be President of the United States.
  29. ^ Governor Perry's third elected term expires on January 20, 2015; he is not term limited.
  30. ^ Governor Perry's third elected term expires on January 20, 2015; he is not term limited.