List of Governors of Delaware

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Governor of Delaware
Seal of Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware.svg
Jack Markell.jpg
Incumbent
Jack Markell

since January 20, 2009
Style The Honorable
Residence Delaware Governor's Mansion
Dover, Delaware
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder John McKinly
Formation February 12, 1777
Deputy Matthew P. Denn
Salary $171,000 (2013)[1]
Website governor.delaware.gov

The Governor of Delaware (President of Delaware from 1776 to 1792) is the head of the executive branch of Delaware's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Delaware Legislature, to convene the legislature,[2] and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment, and only with the recommendation of the Board of Pardons.[3]

There have been 70 people who have served as governor, over 73 distinct terms. Additionally, Henry Molleston was elected, but died before he could take office. Only four governors have been elected to two consecutive terms, with the longest-serving being Ruth Ann Minner, who was elected twice after succeeding to the office, serving a total of just over eight years. The shortest term is that of Dale E. Wolf, who served 18 days following his predecessor's resignation; David P. Buckson served 19 days under similar circumstances. The current governor is Jack Markell, who took office on January 20, 2009; his second term expires on January 17, 2017.

Governors[edit]

For the period before independence, see the List of colonial governors of Pennsylvania.

Between 1681 and 1776, Delaware was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain, administered by colonial governors in Pennsylvania as the "Lower Counties on Delaware".

In 1776, soon after Delaware and the other Thirteen Colonies declared independence from Britain, the state adopted its first state constitution. It created the office of President of Delaware, a chief executive to be chosen by the legislature to serve a term of three years.[4]

The office of President was renamed Governor by the constitution of 1792,[5] which set the commencement date of the term to the third Tuesday in the January following an election, and limited governors to serving only three out of any six years.[6] The term was lengthened to four years by the 1831 constitution, but governors were limited to a single term.[7] The current constitution of 1897 allows governors to serve two terms.[8]

The 1776 constitution stated that if the presidency were vacant, the speaker of the legislative council would be a vice-president.[9] The 1792 constitution has the speaker of the senate exercising the office when it is vacant, and the 1897 constitution created the office of lieutenant governor,[10] upon whom the office devolves in case of vacancy.[11] The offices of governor and lieutenant governor are elected at the same time but not on the same ticket.

Parties

      American (1)       Democratic (21)[a]       Democratic-Republican (5)[a]       Federalist (13)[b]       National Republican (1)       No party (9)       Republican (17)       Whig (6)[a]

#[c] Portrait Governor[d] Term in office Party Term[e] Lt. Governor[f][g]
1 Blank.gif   John McKinly February 12, 1777 – September 12, 1777 No parties 1[h] Office did not exist
2 ThomasMcKean.gif Thomas McKean September 22, 1777 – October 20, 1777
3 GeorgeRead.gif George Read October 20, 1777 – March 31, 1778
4 CaesarRodney.jpeg Caesar Rodney March 31, 1778 – November 6, 1781 2
5 JohnDickinson4.gif John Dickinson November 13, 1781 – January 12, 1783 3[i]
6 Blank.gif John Cook November 4, 1782 – February 1, 1783
7 Blank.gif Nicholas Van Dyke February 1, 1783 – October 28, 1786 4
8 Blank.gif Thomas Collins October 28, 1786 – March 29, 1789 5[j]
9 Blank.gif Jehu Davis March 29, 1789 – June 2, 1789
10 JoshuaClayton.gif Joshua Clayton June 2, 1789 – January 19, 1796 Federalist 6
7
11 Blank.gif Gunning Bedford, Sr. January 19, 1796 – September 30, 1797 Federalist 8[k]
12 Blank.gif Daniel Rogers September 30, 1797 – January 9, 1799 Federalist
13 Richard bassett.jpg Richard Bassett January 9, 1799 – March 3, 1801 Federalist 9[l]
14 Blank.gif James Sykes March 3, 1801 – January 19, 1802 Federalist
15 Blank.gif David Hall January 19, 1802 – January 15, 1805 Democratic-Republican 10
16 Blank.gif Nathaniel Mitchell January 15, 1805 – January 19, 1808 Federalist 11
17 Blank.gif George Truitt January 19, 1808 – January 15, 1811 Federalist 12
18 Blank.gif Joseph Haslet January 15, 1811 – January 18, 1814 Democratic-Republican 13
19 Daniel Rodney.jpg Daniel Rodney January 18, 1814 – January 21, 1817 Federalist 14
20 Blank.gif John Clark January 21, 1817 – January 18, 1820 Federalist 15
Blank.gif Henry Molleston Federalist 16[m]
21 Blank.gif Jacob Stout January 18, 1820 – January 16, 1821 Federalist
22 Blank.gif John Collins January 16, 1821 – April 16, 1822 Democratic-Republican
23 Blank.gif Caleb Rodney April 23, 1822 – January 21, 1823 Federalist
24 Blank.gif Joseph Haslet January 21, 1823 – June 20, 1823 Democratic-Republican 17[n]
25 Blank.gif Charles Thomas June 23, 1823 – January 20, 1824 Democratic-Republican
26 SamuelPaynter.gif Samuel Paynter January 20, 1824 – January 16, 1827 Federalist 18
27 CharlesPolk.png Charles Polk, Jr. January 16, 1827 – January 19, 1830 Federalist 19
28 DavidHazzard.png David Hazzard January 19, 1830 – January 15, 1833 National Republican 20
29 CalebBennett.png Caleb P. Bennett January 15, 1833 – July 11, 1836 Democratic 21[o][p]
30 CharlesPolk.png Charles Polk, Jr. July 11, 1836 – January 17, 1837 Whig
31 CorneliusComegys.png Cornelius P. Comegys January 17, 1837 – January 19, 1841 Whig 22
32 Blank.gif William B. Cooper January 19, 1841 – January 21, 1845 Whig 23
33 ThomasStockton.gif Thomas Stockton January 21, 1845 – March 2, 1846 Whig 24[q]
34 Blank.gif Joseph Maull March 2, 1846 – May 3, 1846 Whig
35 WilliamTemple.gif William Temple May 6, 1846 – January 19, 1847 Whig
36 WilliamTharp.gif William Tharp January 19, 1847 – January 21, 1851 Democratic 25
37 WilliamTharp.gif William H. H. Ross January 21, 1851 – January 16, 1855 Democratic 26
38 PeterCausey.gif Peter F. Causey January 16, 1855 – January 18, 1859 American 27
39 WilliamBurton.jpg William Burton January 18, 1859 – January 20, 1863 Democratic 28
40 WilliamCannon.gif William Cannon January 20, 1863 – March 1, 1865 Republican 29[r]
41 GoveSaulsbury.gif Gove Saulsbury March 1, 1865 – January 17, 1871 Democratic
42 JamesPonder.gif James Ponder January 17, 1871 – January 19, 1875 Democratic 30
43 CochranJohn.png John P. Cochran January 19, 1875 – January 21, 1879 Democratic 31
44 HallJohnWood.gif John W. Hall January 21, 1879 – January 16, 1883 Democratic 32
45 StockleyCharles.gif Charles C. Stockley January 16, 1883 – January 18, 1887 Democratic 33
46 BenjaminBiggs.png Benjamin T. Biggs January 18, 1887 – January 20, 1891 Democratic 34
47 RobertReynolds.gif Robert J. Reynolds January 20, 1891 – January 15, 1895 Democratic 35
48 MarvilJoshua.gif Joshua H. Marvil January 15, 1895 – April 8, 1895 Republican 36[s]
49 WilliamTharpWatson.gif William T. Watson April 8, 1895 – January 19, 1897 Democratic
50 Ebetunnell.png Ebe W. Tunnell January 19, 1897 – January 15, 1901 Democratic 37
51 Hunn.gif John Hunn January 15, 1901 – January 17, 1905 Republican 38   Philip L. Cannon
52 Preston Lea.gif Preston Lea January 17, 1905 – January 19, 1909 Republican 39 Isaac T. Parker
53 Pennewill.gif Simeon S. Pennewill January 19, 1909 – January 21, 1913 Republican 40 John M. Mendinhall
54 Miller 2989417695 76253e1e15 o.jpg Charles R. Miller January 21, 1913 – January 16, 1917 Republican 41 Colen Ferguson[t]
55 John G. Townsend, Jr.jpg John G. Townsend, Jr. January 16, 1917 – January 18, 1921 Republican 42 Lewis T. Eliason[t]
56 Blank.gif William D. Denney January 18, 1921 – January 20, 1925 Republican 43 J. Danforth Bush
57 Blank.gif Robert P. Robinson January 20, 1925 – January 15, 1929 Republican 44 James H. Anderson
58 C. Douglass Buck.jpg C. Douglass Buck January 15, 1929 – January 19, 1937 Republican 45 James H. Hazel
46 Roy F. Corley
59 Blank.gif Richard C. McMullen January 19, 1937 – January 21, 1941 Democratic 47 Edward W. Cooch
60 Blank.gif Walter W. Bacon January 21, 1941 – January 18, 1949 Republican 48 Isaac J. MacCollum[t]
49 Elbert N. Carvel[t]
61 Elbert N. Carvel 1962.jpg Elbert N. Carvel January 18, 1949 – January 20, 1953 Democratic 50 Alexis I. du Pont Bayard
62 BoggsCaleb.jpg J. Caleb Boggs January 20, 1953 – December 30, 1960 Republican 51 John W. Rollins
52[u] David P. Buckson
63 David Buckson.png David P. Buckson December 30, 1960 – January 17, 1961 Republican Vacant
64 Elbert N. Carvel 1962.jpg Elbert N. Carvel January 17, 1961 – January 19, 1965 Democratic 53 Eugene Lammot
65 Blank.gif Charles L. Terry, Jr. January 19, 1965 – January 21, 1969 Democratic 54 Sherman W. Tribbitt
66 Blank.gif Russell W. Peterson January 21, 1969 – January 16, 1973 Republican 55 Eugene Bookhammer[v]
67 Blank.gif Sherman W. Tribbitt January 16, 1973 – January 18, 1977 Democratic 56
68 Petedupont.jpg Pierre S. du Pont, IV January 18, 1977 – January 15, 1985 Republican 57 James D. McGinnis[t]
58 Michael Castle
69 Mike Castle official portrait.jpg Michael Castle January 15, 1985 – December 31, 1992 Republican 59 Shien Biau Woo[t]
60[w] Dale E. Wolf
70 Blank.gif Dale E. Wolf December 31, 1992 – January 19, 1993 Republican Vacant
71 Tom Carper, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg Thomas R. Carper January 19, 1993 – January 3, 2001 Democratic 61 Ruth Ann Minner
62[x]
72 Ruth Ann Minner.jpg Ruth Ann Minner January 3, 2001 – January 20, 2009 Democratic Vacant
63 John Carney
64
73 Jack Markell.jpg Jack Markell January 20, 2009 – Incumbent Democratic 65 Matthew P. Denn[y]
66[z]
Vacant

Other high offices held[edit]

Seventeen of Delaware's governors have held other high offices, with six representing Delaware in the Continental Congress and twelve representing the state in the U.S. Congress. Two have served as President of Pennsylvania. Four (marked with *) resigned to take other offices, three in the U.S. Congress and one to be President of Pennsylvania.

All representatives and senators listed represented Delaware except where noted.

Governor Gubernatorial term Other offices held Source
McKean, ThomasThomas McKean 1777 Continental Delegate (including President of the Continental Congress), President of Pennsylvania [20]
Read, GeorgeGeorge Read 1777–1778 Continental Delegate, Senator [21]
Rodney, CaesarCaesar Rodney 1778–1781 Continental Delegate [22]
Dickinson, JohnJohn Dickinson 1781–1783 Continental Delegate, Continental Delegate from Pennsylvania, President of Pennsylvania* [23]
Van Dyke, NicholasNicholas Van Dyke 1783–1786 Continental Delegate [24]
Clayton, JoshuaJoshua Clayton 1789–1796 Senator [25]
Bassett, RichardRichard Bassett 1799–1801 Senator [26]
Mitchell, NathanielNathaniel Mitchell 1805–1808 Continental Delegate [27]
Rodney, DanielDaniel Rodney 1814–1817 Representative, Senator [28]
Temple, WilliamWilliam Temple 1846–1847 Representative [29]
Biggs, Benjamin T.Benjamin T. Biggs 1887–1891 Representative [30]
Townsend, Jr., John G.John G. Townsend, Jr. 1917–1921 Senator [31]
Buck, C. DouglassC. Douglass Buck 1929–1937 Senator [32]
Boggs, J. CalebJ. Caleb Boggs 1953–1960 Senator* [33]
du Pont, IV, Pierre S.Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 Representative [34]
Castle, MichaelMichael Castle 1985–1992 Representative* [35]
Carper, Thomas R.Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 Representative, Senator* [36]

Living former U.S. governors of Delaware[edit]

As of May 2015, there are six former U.S. governors who are currently living at this time, the oldest being David P. Buckson (1960–1961, born 1920). The most recent death of a former U.S. governor of Delaware was that of Russell W. Peterson (1969–1973), who died on February 20, 2011. The most recently serving U.S. governor of Delaware to die was Sherman W. Tribbitt (1973–1977), who died on August 14, 2010.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
David P. Buckson 1960–1961 (1920-07-25) July 25, 1920 (age 95)
Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 (1935-01-22) January 22, 1935 (age 81)
Michael Castle 1985–1992 (1939-07-02) July 2, 1939 (age 76)
Dale E. Wolf 1992–1993 (1924-09-06) September 6, 1924 (age 91)
Thomas R. Carper 1993–2001 (1947-01-23) January 23, 1947 (age 69)
Ruth Ann Minner 2001–2009 (1935-01-17) January 17, 1935 (age 81)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Includes one term served by a repeat governor.
  2. ^ Includes one term served by a repeat governor. Henry Molleston, having never taken office, is not included in this number.
  3. ^ The official numbering includes repeat and acting governors.
  4. ^ The highest office of Delaware was named president until 1792.
  5. ^ Each term for which a governor is elected is listed here; if multiple governors served in a single term, due to resignations, deaths, and the like, then that term will be shared among those governors. If a governor was elected multiple times, then there will be multiple terms listed for that governor.
  6. ^ The office of lieutenant governor was created in the 1897 constitution, with the first election taking place in 1900.
  7. ^ Lieutenant governors were members of the same party as the governor except where noted.
  8. ^ McKinly was captured and taken prisoner by British forces.[12] He was exchanged for loyalist Governor William Franklin of New Jersey in August 1778.[13] Most sources do not specify the day McKinly was captured; at least one specifies that McKinly and the city of Wilmington were captured the day after the Battle of Brandywine, which was on September 11, 1777.[14] As Speaker of the Assembly, McKean acted as chief executive until the return of Speaker of the Legislative Council Read from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, who then served as vice-president for the remainder of the term.[15]
  9. ^ Dickinson was elected President of Pennsylvania and took office November 7, 1782, holding both presidencies simultaneously; criticism of this let him to resign from the Delaware presidency. As Speaker of the Legislative Council, Cook served as vice-president until a special election was held.
  10. ^ Collins died in office; as speaker of the legislative council, Davis served as vice-president for the remainder of the term.
  11. ^ Bedford died in office; as speaker of the senate, Rogers acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  12. ^ Bassett resigned to take a seat on the United States Third Circuit Court. As speaker of the senate, Sykes acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  13. ^ Governor-elect Molleston died on November 11, 1819, before taking office. The newly elected state senate chose a speaker, Stout, who would act as governor for one year of Molleston's term before a special election was held to pick a governor for the remaining two years.[16] Collins was chosen in that special election, but died in office, and as speaker of the senate, Rodney acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  14. ^ Haslet died in office; as speaker of the senate, Thomas acted as governor until a special election was held. There is disagreement over when Haslet died and Thomas became acting governor. Most modern sources say Haslet died on June 20, and Thomas became acting governor on June 23; however, some sources say Thomas became acting governor on June 20,[17] and others say Haslet died on June 23,[18] both situations meaning there was no gap in power. Because of the death of Haslet so early in his term, early elections were call. Unlike when elections were called due to Henry Molleston's death, where the election was only for the final two years of his term, in this case the new election was for a new three-year term, causing the election schedule to shift.[16]
  15. ^ Bennett died in office; As speaker of the senate, Polk acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  16. ^ This term was the first under the terms of the 1831 constitution, which lengthened terms to four years.
  17. ^ Stockton died in office. As speaker of the senate, Maull acted as governor until he too died. The new speaker of the senate, Temple, acted as governor for the remainder of the term, which was shortened due to a new election schedule.
  18. ^ Cannon died in office; as speaker of the senate, Saulsbury acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  19. ^ Marvil died in office; as speaker of the senate, Watson acted as governor for the remainder of the term. Because Marvil died so early in his term, the General Assembly decided to conduct an election for a full term in 1896, changing the election schedule.[19]
  20. ^ a b c d e f Represented the Democratic Party.
  21. ^ Boggs resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as lieutenant governor, Buckson became governor.
  22. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  23. ^ Castle resigned to take an elected seat in the United States House of Representatives; as lieutenant governor, Wolf become governor.
  24. ^ Carper resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as lieutenant governor, Minner became governor.
  25. ^ Resigned to be Attorney General of Delaware.
  26. ^ Governor Markell's second term expires on January 17, 2017; he will be term limited.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ DE Const. art. III
  3. ^ DE Const. art. VII, § 1
  4. ^ 1776 Const. art 7
  5. ^ 1792 Const. art. III, § 1
  6. ^ 1792 Const. art. III, § 3
  7. ^ 1831 Const. art III, § 3
  8. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 5
  9. ^ 1776 Const. art. 7
  10. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 19
  11. ^ DE Const. art. III, § 20
  12. ^ McGuire, Thomas J. (2006). The Philadelphia Campaign. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. p. 278. ISBN 0-8117-0206-5. 
  13. ^ Rowe, Gail Stuart (1978). Thomas McKean: The Shaping of an American Republicanism. p. 147. ISBN 0-87081-100-2. 
  14. ^ Project, Delaware Federal Writers' (1938). Delaware: A Guide to the First State. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-60354-008-7. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  15. ^ Conrad, Henry Clay (1908). History of the State of Delaware, Volume 3. p. 821. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b Niles, H. (1824). Niles' Weekly Register. Volume I, Third Series. p. 121. ISBN 0-8371-3045-X. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Delaware". The Encyclopedia Americana. Volume VIII. 1918. p. 614. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  18. ^ Messersmith, George S. (1908). Government of Delaware. p. 283. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Delaware's Change in Elections". The New York Times. April 14, 1895. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ "McKean, Thomas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Read, George". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Rodney, Caesar". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Dickinson, John". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Van Dyke, Nicholas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Clayton, Joshua". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Bassett, Richard". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Mitchell, Nathaniel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  28. ^ "Rodney, Daniel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Temple, William". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Biggs, Benjamin Thomas". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Townsend, John Gillis, Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Buck, Clayton Douglass". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Boggs, James Caleb". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  34. ^ "du Pont, Pierre Samuel, IV". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  35. ^ "Castle, Michael Newbold". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  36. ^ "Carper, Thomas Richard". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved June 12, 2009. 
  37. ^ Thorpe pp. 582–600
  38. ^ Thorpe pp. 568–582

External links[edit]