Bruce King

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Bruce King
Governor Bruce King.jpg
23rd, 25th & 28th Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1991 – January 1, 1995
LieutenantCasey Luna
Preceded byGarrey Carruthers
Succeeded byGary Johnson
In office
January 1, 1979 – January 1, 1983
LieutenantRoberto Mondragón
Preceded byJerry Apodaca
Succeeded byToney Anaya
In office
January 1, 1971 – January 1, 1975
LieutenantRoberto Mondragón
Preceded byDavid Cargo
Succeeded byJerry Apodaca
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1924-04-06)April 6, 1924
Stanley, New Mexico, U.S.
DiedNovember 13, 2009(2009-11-13) (aged 85)
Stanley, New Mexico, U.S.
Resting placeStanley Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Alice King (1947–2008, her death)
Alma materUniversity of New Mexico
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1942–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II

Bruce King (April 6, 1924 – November 13, 2009) was an American businessman and politician who served three non-consecutive four-year terms as the governor of New Mexico. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the longest-serving governor in New Mexico history, with 12 years of service.

Early life, education, and early political career[edit]

King was born on April 6, 1924 in Stanley, New Mexico. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

King's career in politics began when he was elected to the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners in 1954. He was re-elected and served as the chairman of the board during his second term.

In 1959, he was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives. He served five consecutive terms in the House and during three of his terms he was Speaker of the House. From 1968-69, King was chairman of the state Democratic Party. In 1969, he was also the president of the State Constitutional Convention.

Governor of New Mexico[edit]

King with Margaret Lefranc in 1992.

In 1970, King was elected as governor, defeating Republican Pete Domenici. He served as the 23rd, 25th and 28th Governor of New Mexico from 1971 until 1975, 1979 until 1983 and from 1991 until 1995. His terms were non-consecutive because the New Mexico constitution did not allow governors to succeed themselves before 1991, due to term limits.

King became the first governor who could succeed himself after the term limit laws were changed to two and ran for reelection in 1994, but was defeated for a fourth term by then Republican businessman and future Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson.

Personal life[edit]

King was married to his wife Alice for 61 years until her death on December 7, 2008. Their son Gary King served as New Mexico Attorney General from 2007 to 2015 and was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2014.

King was recovering from a procedure in September 2009 to adjust the pacemaker that was implanted after he had a heart attack in 1997. He died on November 13, 2009 in Stanley, New Mexico, at the age of 85.[1]


  • Becknell, Charles Sr. (2003) "No Challenge, No Change: Growing Up Black in New Mexico" Jubilee Publications. ISBN 978-0-9744573-0-7
  • Colvin, Mark (1982). "The 1980 New Mexico Prison Riot." Social Problems 29.
  • Colvin, Mark (1992). "The Penitentiary in Crisis:From Accommodation to Riot in New Mexico, State University of New York Press.
  • King, Bruce (1998). Cowboy in the Roundhouse: A Political Life. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press.
  • McCaffery, Fred (February 14, 1979). "Political Game Snares Becknell" New Mexican Opinion
  • "New Report Describes Events Surrounding New Mexico Prison Riot". (June 8, 1980). The New York Times.


  1. ^ "Former Gov. Bruce King dies". Santa Fe New Mexican. November 13, 2009. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
David Cargo
Governor of New Mexico
January 1, 1971 – January 1, 1975
Succeeded by
Jerry Apodaca
Preceded by
Jerry Apodaca
Governor of New Mexico
January 1, 1979 – January 1, 1983
Succeeded by
Toney Anaya
Preceded by
Garrey Carruthers
Governor of New Mexico
January 1, 1991 – January 1, 1995
Succeeded by
Gary Johnson