List of Governors of Texas
|Governor of Texas|
|Residence||Texas Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, no term limits|
|Inaugural holder||James Pinckney Henderson
|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. 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. The current Governor is Greg Abbott.
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). The 1861 secessionist constitution set the term start date at the first Monday in the November following the election. 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". The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 removed the limit on terms, and to this day, Texas is one of 14 states with no gubernatorial term limit. The present constitution of 1876 shortened terms back to two years, but a 1972 amendment increased it back to four years.
The Governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday of January every four years along with the Lieutenant Governor, so Abbott and current Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick both took office 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). Former Governor Rick Perry, who served from 2000 to 2015, 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. 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. The Governor and first family reside in the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas.
Governors of Spanish Texas
Governors of Mexican Texas
Presidents of the Republic of Texas
Governors of Texas
|#||Governor||Picture||Took office||Left office||Party||Lt. Governor||Notes||Terms|
|1||James Pinckney Henderson||February 19, 1846||December 21, 1847||Democratic||Albert Clinton Horton||1|
|2||George T. Wood||December 21, 1847||December 21, 1849||Democratic||John Alexander Greer||1|
|3||Peter Hansborough Bell||December 21, 1849||November 23, 1853||Democratic||John Alexander Greer (1849–51)|||
|James W. Henderson (1851–53)||1 1/2|
|4||James W. Henderson||November 23, 1853||December 21, 1853||Democratic||Vacant||||1/2|
|5||Elisha M. Pease||December 21, 1853||December 21, 1857||Unionist||David Catchings Dickson (1853–55)||2|
|Hardin Richard Runnels (1855–57)|
|6||Hardin R. Runnels||December 21, 1857||December 21, 1859||Democratic||Francis R. Lubbock||1|
|7||Sam Houston||December 21, 1859||March 18, 1861||Independent||Edward Clark||||1/2|
|8||Edward Clark||March 18, 1861||November 7, 1861||Democratic||Vacant||||1/2|
|9||Francis R. Lubbock||November 7, 1861||November 5, 1863||Democratic||John McClannahan Crockett||1|
|10||Pendleton Murrah||November 5, 1863||June 17, 1865||Democratic||Fletcher Summerfield Stockdale||||1/3|
|Fletcher Summerfield Stockdale||June 11, 1865||June 16, 1865||Military||Vacant||||1/3|
|11||Andrew J. Hamilton||June 17, 1865||August 9, 1866||Democratic-Military||Vacant||||1/3|
|12||James W. Throckmorton||August 9, 1866||August 8, 1867||Democratic||George Washington Jones||||1/2|
|13||Elisha M. Pease||June 8, 1867||September 30, 1869||Republican||Vacant||||1/2|
|14||Edmund J. Davis||January 8, 1870||January 15, 1874||Republican||Vacant||||1|
|15||Richard Coke||January 15, 1874||December 21, 1876||Democratic||Richard Bennett Hubbard, Jr.||||1 1/2|
|16||Richard B. Hubbard||December 21, 1876||January 21, 1879||Democratic||Vacant||||1/2|
|17||Oran M. Roberts||January 21, 1879||January 16, 1883||Democratic||Joseph Draper Sayers (1879–81)||2|
|Leonidas Jefferson Storey (1881–83)|
|18||John Ireland||January 16, 1883||January 20, 1887||Democratic||Francis Marion Martin (1883–85)||2|
|Barnett Gibbs (1885–87)|
|19||Lawrence Sullivan Ross||January 18, 1887||January 20, 1891||Democratic||Thomas Benton Wheeler||2|
|20||James Stephen Hogg||January 20, 1891||January 15, 1895||Democratic||George Cassety Pendleton (1891–93)||2|
|Martin McNulty Crane (1893–95)|
|21||Charles A. Culberson||January 15, 1895||January 17, 1899||Democratic||George Taylor Jester||2|
|22||Joseph D. Sayers||January 17, 1899||January 20, 1903||Democratic||James Nathan Browning||2|
|23||S. W. T. Lanham||January 20, 1903||January 15, 1907||Democratic||George D. Neal||2|
|24||Thomas Mitchell Campbell||January 15, 1907||January 17, 1911||Democratic||Asbury Bascom Davidson||2|
|25||Oscar Branch Colquitt||January 17, 1911||January 19, 1915||Democratic||Asbury Bascom Davidson (1911–13)||2|
|William Harding Mayes (1913–15)|
|26||James E. "Pa" Ferguson||January 19, 1915||August 25, 1917||Democratic||William Pettus Hobby, Sr.||||1 1/2|
|27||William P. Hobby||August 25, 1917||January 18, 1921||Democratic||Vacant (1917–19)||||1 1/2|
|Willard Arnold Johnson (1919–21)|
|28||Pat Morris Neff||January 18, 1921||January 20, 1925||Democratic||Lynch Davidson (1921–23)||2|
|Thomas Whitfield Davidson (1923–25)|
|29||Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson||January 20, 1925||January 17, 1927||Democratic||Barry Miller||1|
|30||Dan Moody||January 17, 1927||January 20, 1931||Democratic||2|
|31||Ross S. Sterling||January 20, 1931||January 17, 1933||Democratic||Edgar E. Witt||1|
|32||Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson||January 17, 1933||January 15, 1935||Democratic||1|
|33||James V. Allred||January 15, 1935||January 17, 1939||Democratic||Walter Frank Woodul||2|
|34||W. Lee O'Daniel||January 17, 1939||August 4, 1941||Democratic||Coke R. Stevenson||||1 1/2|
|35||Coke R. Stevenson||August 4, 1941||January 21, 1947||Democratic||Vacant (1941–43)||||2 1/2|
|John Lee Smith (1943–47)|
|36||Beauford H. Jester||January 21, 1947||July 11, 1949||Democratic||Allan Shivers||||1/2|
|37||Allan Shivers||July 11, 1949||January 15, 1957||Democratic||Vacant (1949–51)||||3 1/2|
|Ben Ramsey (1951–61)|
|38||Price Daniel||January 15, 1957||January 15, 1963||Democratic||Ben Ramsey (1951–61)||3|
|39||John Connally||January 15, 1963||January 21, 1969||Democratic||Preston Smith||3|
|40||Preston Smith||January 21, 1969||January 16, 1973||Democratic||Ben Barnes||2|
|41||Dolph Briscoe||January 16, 1973||January 16, 1979||Democratic||William P. Hobby, Jr.||2|
|42||Bill Clements||January 16, 1979||January 18, 1983||Republican||1|
|43||Mark White||January 18, 1983||January 20, 1987||Democratic||1|
|44||Bill Clements||January 20, 1987||January 15, 1991||Republican||1|
|45||Ann Richards||January 15, 1991||January 17, 1995||Democratic||Bob Bullock||1|
|46||George W. Bush||January 17, 1995||December 21, 2000||Republican||Bob Bullock (1995–99)||||1 1/2|
|Rick Perry (1999–2000)|
|47||Rick Perry||December 21, 2000||January 20, 2015||Republican||Bill Ratliff (2000–03)||3 1/2|
|David Dewhurst (2003–15)|
|48||Greg Abbott||January 20, 2015||Incumbent||Republican||Dan Patrick||1|
Other high offices held
|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)
|U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense (1973–1977)|
|George W. Bush||1995–2000||43rd President of the United States (2001–2009)|
Living former governors
As of May 2015[update], three former governors were alive, 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 (and age)|
|Mark White||1983–1987||March 17, 1940|
|George W. Bush||1995–2000||July 6, 1946|
|Rick Perry||2000–2015||March 4, 1950|
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. 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
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).
- List of Texas Governors and Presidents
- List of Presidents of the Republic of Texas
- List of Lieutenant Governors of Texas
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- Suellentrop, Chip (2000-01-05). "Is George W. Bush a "Weak" Governor?". Slate Magazine - Explainer. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- 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.
- 1845 Const. Art V sec 4
- 1861 Const. art V sec 12
- 1866 Const. art V sec 4
- 1869 Const. Art IV sec 4
- Executive Branch retrieved 23-October-2008
- TX Const. Art IV sec 4
- Texas Politics - The Executive Branch. Texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
- TX Const. art IV sec 16 graf d
- 1861 Const art V sec 12
- 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.
- Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
- Evicted from office due to his refusal to swear an oath to the Confederate States of America.
- Fled Austin as it fell to Union forces.
- NGA says he was Lt. Gov who served as Gov after Murrah fled Texas.
- Provisional military governor.
- James Throckmorton was removed from office by General Philip Sheridan, and Elisha Pease installed in his place.
- Resigned due to disagreements with General Joseph Reynolds.
- Elected in a special election held under military direction.
- Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate.
- Resigned due to the legislature bringing impeachment proceedings against him.
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in their own right.
- Resigned after winning the Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat; he won the election.
- Died in office.
- Resigned to be President of the United States.
- Governor Abbott's first term expires on January 15, 2019; he is not term limited.
- Legislative Reference Library of Texas -- Governors of Texas
- Governor (of Texas) from the Handbook of Texas Online
- The Handbook of Texas Online: Texas History Quiz -- Presidents and Governors of Texas
- Explanation of the strengths of governors
- 1876 Constitution, as amended (Current)
- 1876 Constitution
- 1869 Constitution
- 1866 Constitution
- 1861 Constitution
- 1845 Constitution