List of Governors of Delaware

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Governor of Delaware
John C. Carney Jr. official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
Incumbent
John Carney

since January 17, 2017
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 Bethany Hall-Long
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 John Carney, who took office 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.

#[a] Governor[b] Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[c][d]
1 Blank.gif   John McKinly February 12, 1777

September 12, 1777
No parties 1777
[e]
Office did not exist
Vacant September 12, 1777

September 22, 1777
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
1778
5 JohnDickinson4.gif John Dickinson November 13, 1781

January 12, 1783
1781
[f]
6 Blank.gif John Cook November 4, 1782

February 1, 1783
7 Blank.gif Nicholas Van Dyke February 1, 1783

October 28, 1786
1783
8 ThomasCollins.gif Thomas Collins October 28, 1786

March 29, 1789
1786
[g]
9 Blank.gif Jehu Davis March 29, 1789

June 2, 1789
10 JoshuaClayton.gif Joshua Clayton June 2, 1789

January 19, 1796
Federalist 1789
1792
11 Blank.gif Gunning Bedford, Sr. January 19, 1796

September 30, 1797
Federalist 1795
[h]
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 1798
[i]
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 1801
16 Blank.gif Nathaniel Mitchell January 15, 1805

January 19, 1808
Federalist 1804
17 Blank.gif George Truitt January 19, 1808

January 15, 1811
Federalist 1807
18 Blank.gif Joseph Haslet January 15, 1811

January 18, 1814
Democratic-Republican 1810
19 Daniel Rodney.jpg Daniel Rodney January 18, 1814

January 21, 1817
Federalist 1813
20 Blank.gif John Clark January 21, 1817

January 18, 1820
Federalist 1816
Blank.gif Henry Molleston Federalist 1819
[j]
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 1822
[k]
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 1823
27 CharlesPolk.png Charles Polk, Jr. January 16, 1827

January 19, 1830
Federalist 1826
28 DavidHazzard.png David Hazzard January 19, 1830

January 15, 1833
National Republican 1829
29 CalebBennett.png Caleb P. Bennett January 15, 1833

July 11, 1836
Democratic 1832
[l][m]
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 1836
32 Blank.gif William B. Cooper January 19, 1841

January 21, 1845
Whig 1840
33 ThomasStockton.gif Thomas Stockton January 21, 1845

March 2, 1846
Whig 1844
[n]
34 JosephMaull.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 1846
37 WilliamRoss.gif William H. H. Ross January 21, 1851

January 16, 1855
Democratic 1850
38 PeterCausey.gif Peter F. Causey January 16, 1855

January 18, 1859
American 1854
39 William Burton (governor).jpg William Burton January 18, 1859

January 20, 1863
Democratic 1858
40 WilliamCannon.gif William Cannon January 20, 1863

March 1, 1865
Republican 1862
[o]
41 GoveSaulsbury.gif Gove Saulsbury March 1, 1865

January 17, 1871
Democratic
1866
42 JamesPonder.gif James Ponder January 17, 1871

January 19, 1875
Democratic 1870
43 CochranJohn.png John P. Cochran January 19, 1875

January 21, 1879
Democratic 1874
44 HallJohnWood.gif John W. Hall January 21, 1879

January 16, 1883
Democratic 1878
45 StockleyCharles.gif Charles C. Stockley January 16, 1883

January 18, 1887
Democratic 1882
46 BenjaminBiggs.png Benjamin T. Biggs January 18, 1887

January 20, 1891
Democratic 1886
47 RobertReynolds.gif Robert J. Reynolds January 20, 1891

January 15, 1895
Democratic 1890
48 MarvilJoshua.gif Joshua H. Marvil January 15, 1895

April 8, 1895
Republican 1894
[p]
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 1896
51 Hunn.gif John Hunn January 15, 1901

January 17, 1905
Republican 1900   Philip L. Cannon
52 Preston Lea.gif Preston Lea January 17, 1905

January 19, 1909
Republican 1904 Isaac T. Parker
53 Pennewill.gif Simeon S. Pennewill January 19, 1909

January 21, 1913
Republican 1908 John M. Mendinhall
54 Miller 2989417695 76253e1e15 o.jpg Charles R. Miller January 21, 1913

January 16, 1917
Republican 1912 Colen Ferguson[q]
55 John G. Townsend, Jr.jpg John G. Townsend, Jr. January 16, 1917

January 18, 1921
Republican 1916 Lewis T. Eliason[q]
56 Blank.gif William D. Denney January 18, 1921

January 20, 1925
Republican 1920 J. Danforth Bush
57 Blank.gif Robert P. Robinson January 20, 1925

January 15, 1929
Republican 1924 James H. Anderson
58 C. Douglass Buck.jpg C. Douglass Buck January 15, 1929

January 19, 1937
Republican 1928 James H. Hazel
1932 Roy F. Corley
59 Blank.gif Richard C. McMullen January 19, 1937

January 21, 1941
Democratic 1936 Edward W. Cooch
60 Blank.gif Walter W. Bacon January 21, 1941

January 18, 1949
Republican 1940 Isaac J. MacCollum[q]
1944 Elbert N. Carvel[q]
61 Elbert N. Carvel 1962.jpg Elbert N. Carvel January 18, 1949

January 20, 1953
Democratic 1948 Alexis I. du Pont Bayard
62 BoggsCaleb.jpg J. Caleb Boggs January 20, 1953

December 30, 1960
Republican 1952 John W. Rollins
1956
[r]
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 1960 Eugene Lammot
65 Blank.gif Charles L. Terry, Jr. January 19, 1965

January 21, 1969
Democratic 1964 Sherman W. Tribbitt
66 Blank.gif Russell W. Peterson January 21, 1969

January 16, 1973
Republican 1968 Eugene Bookhammer[s]
67 Blank.gif Sherman W. Tribbitt January 16, 1973

January 18, 1977
Democratic 1972
68 Petedupont.jpg Pierre S. du Pont, IV January 18, 1977

January 15, 1985
Republican 1976 James D. McGinnis[q]
1980 Michael Castle
69 Mike Castle 1982.jpg Michael Castle January 15, 1985

December 31, 1992
Republican 1984 Shien Biau Woo[q]
1988
[t]
Dale E. Wolf
70 Blank.gif Dale E. Wolf December 31, 1992

January 19, 1993
Republican Vacant
71 Thomas Carper.jpg Tom Carper January 19, 1993

January 3, 2001
Democratic 1992 Ruth Ann Minner
1996
[u]
72 Ruth Ann Minner.jpg Ruth Ann Minner January 3, 2001

January 20, 2009
Democratic Vacant
2000 John Carney
2004
73 Jack Markell.jpg Jack Markell January 20, 2009

January 17, 2017
Democratic 2008 Matt Denn
(resigned January 6, 2015)
2012
Vacant
74 John C. Carney Jr. official portrait 112th Congress.jpg John Carney January 17, 2017

present
Democratic 2016
[v]
Bethany Hall-Long

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 [21]
Read, GeorgeGeorge Read 1777–1778 Continental Delegate, Senator [22]
Rodney, CaesarCaesar Rodney 1778–1781 Continental Delegate [23]
Dickinson, JohnJohn Dickinson 1781–1783 Continental Delegate, Continental Delegate from Pennsylvania, President of Pennsylvania* [24]
Van Dyke, NicholasNicholas Van Dyke 1783–1786 Continental Delegate [25]
Clayton, JoshuaJoshua Clayton 1789–1796 Senator [26]
Bassett, RichardRichard Bassett 1799–1801 Senator [27]
Mitchell, NathanielNathaniel Mitchell 1805–1808 Continental Delegate [28]
Rodney, DanielDaniel Rodney 1814–1817 Representative, Senator [29]
Temple, WilliamWilliam Temple 1846–1847 Representative [30]
Biggs, Benjamin T.Benjamin T. Biggs 1887–1891 Representative [31]
Townsend, Jr., John G.John G. Townsend, Jr. 1917–1921 Senator [32]
Buck, C. DouglassC. Douglass Buck 1929–1937 Senator [33]
Boggs, J. CalebJ. Caleb Boggs 1953–1960 Senator* [34]
du Pont, IV, Pierre S.Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 Representative [35]
Castle, MichaelMichael Castle 1985–1992 Representative* [36]
Carper, TomTom Carper 1993–2001 Representative, Senator* [37]

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

As of January 2017, there are six former U.S. governors who are currently living at this time, the oldest being Dale E. Wolf (served 1992–1993, born 1924). The most recent death of a former U.S. governor of Delaware was that of David Buckson (served 1960–1961, born 1920), who died on January 18, 2017. The most recently serving U.S. governor of Delaware to die was Sherman W. Tribbitt (served 1973–1977, born 1922), who died on August 14, 2010.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Pierre S. du Pont, IV 1977–1985 (1935-01-22) January 22, 1935 (age 82)
Michael Castle 1985–1992 (1939-07-02) July 2, 1939 (age 78)
Dale E. Wolf 1992–1993 (1924-09-06) September 6, 1924 (age 92)
Tom Carper 1993–2001 (1947-01-23) January 23, 1947 (age 70)
Ruth Ann Minner 2001–2009 (1935-01-17) January 17, 1935 (age 82)
Jack Markell 2009–2017 (1960-11-26) November 26, 1960 (age 56)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The official numbering includes repeat and acting governors.
  2. ^ The highest office of Delaware was named president until 1792.
  3. ^ The office of lieutenant governor was created in the 1897 constitution, with the first election taking place in 1900.
  4. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  5. ^ 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]
  6. ^ Dickinson was elected President of Pennsylvania and took office November 7, 1782, holding both presidencies simultaneously. Criticism of this caused him to turn administration of the state over to Speaker of the Legislative Council Cook, but Dickinson didn't formally resign until January 12, 1783, whereupon Cook served as vice-president until a special election was held.[16]
  7. ^ Collins died in office; as speaker of the legislative council, Davis served as vice-president for the remainder of the term.
  8. ^ Bedford died in office; as speaker of the senate, Rogers acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ 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.[17] 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.
  11. ^ 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,[18] and others say Haslet died on June 23,[19] both situations meaning there was no gap in power. Because of the death of Haslet so early in his term, early elections were called. 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.[17]
  12. ^ Terms were lengthened from three to four years beginning with this term.
  13. ^ Bennett died in office; as speaker of the senate, Polk acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Cannon died in office; as speaker of the senate, Saulsbury acted as governor for the remainder of the term.
  16. ^ 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.[20]
  17. ^ a b c d e f Represented the Democratic Party.
  18. ^ Boggs resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as lieutenant governor, Buckson succeeded him.
  19. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  20. ^ Castle resigned to take an elected seat in the United States House of Representatives; as lieutenant governor, Wolf succeeded him.
  21. ^ Carper resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as lieutenant governor, Minner succeeded him.
  22. ^ Governor Carney's first term expires on January 19, 2021; he will not 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. ^ Conrad, Henry Clay. History of the State of Delaware, Volume 1. p. 153. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Niles, H. (1824). Niles' Weekly Register. Volume I, Third Series. p. 121. ISBN 0-8371-3045-X. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  18. ^ "Delaware". The Encyclopedia Americana. Volume. VIII. 1918. p. 614. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ Messersmith, George S. (1908). Government of Delaware. p. 283. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Delaware's Change in Elections". The New York Times. April 14, 1895. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  21. ^ "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. 
  22. ^ "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. 
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ "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. 
  25. ^ "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. 
  26. ^ "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. 
  27. ^ "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. 
  28. ^ "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. 
  29. ^ "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. 
  30. ^ "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. 
  31. ^ "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. 
  32. ^ "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. 
  33. ^ "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. 
  34. ^ "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. 
  35. ^ "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. 
  36. ^ "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. 
  37. ^ "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. 
  38. ^ Thorpe pp. 582–600
  39. ^ Thorpe pp. 568–582

External links[edit]