List of governors of Mississippi
|Governor of Mississippi|
|Residence||Mississippi Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, two lifetime terms|
|Inaugural holder||David Holmes|
|Formation||Constitution of Mississippi|
|Succession||Every four years, unless reelected|
|Deputy||Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi|
The governor of Mississippi is the head of the executive branch of Mississippi'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 Mississippi Legislature, to convene the legislature at any time, and, except in cases of treason or impeachment, to grant pardons and reprieves.
To be elected governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of the United States for twenty years and a resident of Mississippi for at least five years at the time of inauguration. The Constitution of Mississippi, ratified in 1890, calls for a four-year term for the governor, elected via the two-round system since a 2020 referendum. Prior to this, the governor was elected by an electoral college composed of the districts represented in the Mississippi House of Representatives, with a contingent election held in the House in the event no candidate received a majority of district electors. He or she may be reelected once (prior to a 1987 amendment to the state Constitution, governors were limited to one term). The original Constitution of 1817 had only a two-year term for governor; this was expanded to four years in the 1868 Constitution. The lieutenant governor is elected at the same time as the governor and serves as president of the Mississippi Senate. When the office of governor becomes vacant for any reason, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term.
The governor of Mississippi also appoints the members of the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.
Since Mississippi became a U.S. state, it has had 64 governors, including 50 Democrats, 7 Republicans and 7 from other parties. Democrats dominated after retaking control of the state legislature; they passed a Constitution in 1890 that disfranchised most African Americans, excluding them from the political system for nearly 70 years, effectively making it a one-party state. The state's longest-serving governor was John M. Stone, who served two terms over ten years (his second term was extended to six years by a transitional provision in the 1890 Constitution). The shortest-serving governor was James Whitfield, who served 1+1⁄2 months from 1851 to 1852. 10 governors (David Holmes, Gerard Brandon, Charles Lynch, John A. Quitman, John J. Pettus, Adelbert Ames, John Marshall Stone, Theodore G. Bilbo, Dennis Murphree, and Hugh L. White) have served non-consecutive terms. The current governor is Republican Tate Reeves, who took office January 14, 2020.
Governors of the Territory of Mississippi (1798–1817)
- Prior to the Compact of 1802, parts of what is now Mississippi were claimed by the state of Georgia; see List of Governors of Georgia for this period.
- Prior to 1813, the panhandle of Mississippi was part of the Mobile District of the Spanish territory of West Florida; see List of Colonial Governors of Florida.
- Political parties
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party|
|1||Winthrop Sargent||May 7, 1798||May 25, 1801||Federalist|
|2||William C. C. Claiborne||May 25, 1801||March 1, 1805||Democratic-Republican|
|3||Robert Williams||March 1, 1805||March 7, 1809||Democratic-Republican|
|4||David Holmes||March 7, 1809||December 10, 1817||Democratic-Republican|
Governors of the U.S. state of Mississippi (1817–present)
- Political parties
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Lt. Governor||Term||Notes|
|1||David Holmes||December 10, 1817||January 5, 1820||Democratic-Republican||Duncan Stewart||1||[N 1]|
|2||George Poindexter||January 5, 1820||January 7, 1822||Democratic-Republican||James Patton||2|
|3||Walter Leake||January 7, 1822||November 17, 1825||Democratic-Republican||David Dickson||3||[N 2]|
|4||Gerard Brandon||November 17, 1825||January 7, 1826||Democratic||—||[N 3]|
|5||David Holmes||January 7, 1826||July 25, 1826||Democratic||Gerard Brandon||5||[N 4]|
|6||Gerard Brandon||July 25, 1826||January 9, 1832||Democratic||—|
|Abram M. Scott||6|
|7||Abram M. Scott||January 9, 1832||July 12, 1833||National Republican||Fountain Winston[N 5]||8||[N 2]|
|8||Charles Lynch||July 12, 1833||November 20, 1833||National Republican||—||[N 6]|
|9||Hiram Runnels||November 20, 1833||November 20, 1835||Democratic||—||9|
|10||John A. Quitman||December 3, 1835||January 7, 1836||Whig||—||[N 6]|
|11||Charles Lynch||January 7, 1836||January 8, 1838||Whig||—||10|
|12||Alexander G. McNutt||January 8, 1838||January 10, 1842||Democratic||—||11|
|13||Tilghman Tucker||January 10, 1842||January 10, 1844||Democratic||—||13|
|14||Albert G. Brown||January 10, 1844||January 10, 1848||Democratic||—||14|
|15||Joseph W. Matthews||January 10, 1848||January 10, 1850||Democratic||—||16|
|16||John A. Quitman||January 10, 1850||February 3, 1851||Democratic||—||17||[N 7]|
|17||John Isaac Guion||February 3, 1851||November 4, 1851||Democratic||—||[N 8]|
|18||James Whitfield||November 24, 1851||January 10, 1852||Democratic||—||[N 9]|
|19||Henry S. Foote||January 10, 1852||January 5, 1854||Union Democratic||—||18||[N 10]|
|20||John J. Pettus||January 5, 1854||January 10, 1854||Democratic||—||[N 9]|
|21||John J. McRae||January 10, 1854||November 16, 1857||Democratic||—||19||[N 11]|
|22||William McWillie||November 16, 1857||November 21, 1859||Democratic||—||21|
|23||John J. Pettus||November 21, 1859||November 16, 1863||Democratic||—||22|
|24||Charles Clark||November 16, 1863||May 22, 1865||Democratic||—||24||[N 12]|
|25||William L. Sharkey||June 13, 1865||October 16, 1865||Provisional||—||[N 13][N 14]|
|26||Benjamin G. Humphreys||October 16, 1865||June 15, 1868||Democratic||—||[N 15]|
|27||Adelbert Ames||June 15, 1868||March 10, 1870||Military||—||[N 13][N 16]|
|28||James L. Alcorn||March 10, 1870||November 30, 1871||Republican||Ridgley C. Powers||26||[N 17]|
|29||Ridgley C. Powers||November 30, 1871||January 4, 1874||Republican||Alexander K. Davis[N 18]||[N 19]|
|30||Adelbert Ames||January 4, 1874||March 29, 1876||Republican||27||[N 20]|
|31||John M. Stone||March 29, 1876||January 29, 1882||Democratic||—||[N 21]|
|William H. Sims||28|
|32||Robert Lowry||January 2, 1882||January 13, 1890||Democratic||G. D. Shands||29|
|33||John M. Stone||January 13, 1890||January 20, 1896||Democratic||M. M. Evans||31||[N 22]|
|34||Anselm J. McLaurin||January 20, 1896||January 16, 1900||Democratic||J. H. Jones||32|
|35||Andrew H. Longino||January 16, 1900||January 19, 1904||Democratic||James T. Harrison||33|
|36||James K. Vardaman||January 19, 1904||January 21, 1908||Democratic||John Prentiss Carter||34|
|37||Edmond Noel||January 21, 1908||January 16, 1912||Democratic||Luther Manship||35|
|38||Earl L. Brewer||January 16, 1912||January 18, 1916||Democratic||Theodore G. Bilbo||36|
|39||Theodore G. Bilbo||January 18, 1916||January 18, 1920||Democratic||Lee M. Russell||37|
|40||Lee M. Russell||January 18, 1920||January 18, 1924||Democratic||Homer H. Casteel||38|
|41||Henry L. Whitfield||January 22, 1924||March 18, 1927||Democratic||Dennis Murphree||39||[N 2]|
|42||Dennis Murphree||March 18, 1927||January 16, 1928||Democratic||—||[N 19]|
|43||Theodore G. Bilbo||January 16, 1928||January 19, 1932||Democratic||Cayton B. Adam||40|
|44||Martin Sennet Conner||January 19, 1932||January 21, 1936||Democratic||Dennis Murphree||41|
|45||Hugh L. White||January 21, 1936||January 16, 1940||Democratic||Jacob Buehler Snider||42|
|46||Paul B. Johnson Sr.||January 16, 1940||December 26, 1943||Democratic||Dennis Murphree||43||[N 2]|
|47||Dennis Murphree||December 26, 1943||January 18, 1944||Democratic||—||[N 19]|
|48||Thomas L. Bailey||January 18, 1944||November 2, 1946||Democratic||Fielding L. Wright||44||[N 2]|
|49/50[N 23]||Fielding L. Wright||November 2, 1946||January 22, 1952||Democratic||—||[N 24]|
|51||Hugh L. White||January 22, 1952||January 17, 1956||Democratic||Carroll Gartin||46|
|52||James P. Coleman||January 17, 1956||January 19, 1960||Democratic||47|
|53||Ross Barnett||January 19, 1960||January 21, 1964||Democratic||Paul B. Johnson, Jr.||48|
|54||Paul B. Johnson Jr.||January 21, 1964||January 16, 1968||Democratic||Carroll Gartin||49|
|55||John Bell Williams||January 16, 1968||January 18, 1972||Democratic||Charles L. Sullivan||50|
|56||William Waller||January 18, 1972||January 20, 1976||Democratic||William F. Winter||51|
|57||Cliff Finch||January 20, 1976||January 22, 1980||Democratic||Evelyn Gandy||52|
|58||William Winter||January 22, 1980||January 10, 1984||Democratic||Brad Dye||53|
|59||William Allain||January 10, 1984||January 12, 1988||Democratic||54|
|60||Ray Mabus||January 12, 1988||January 14, 1992||Democratic||55|
|61||Kirk Fordice||January 14, 1992||January 11, 2000||Republican||Eddie Briggs||56|
|62||Ronnie Musgrove||January 11, 2000||January 13, 2004||Democratic||Amy Tuck[N 25]||58|
|63||Haley Barbour||January 13, 2004||January 10, 2012||Republican||59|
|64||Phil Bryant||January 10, 2012||January 14, 2020||Republican||Tate Reeves||61|
|65||Tate Reeves||January 14, 2020||Incumbent||Republican||Delbert Hosemann||63|
Other high offices held
This is a table of congressional, confederate, other governorships, and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Mississippi except where noted. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.
Living former governors of Mississippi
As of December 2020[update], there are four living former Mississippi governors, the oldest Governor of Mississippi being Haley Barbour (served 2004–2012, born 1947). The most recent Governor of Mississippi to die was William Winter (served 1980–1984, born 1923) on December 18, 2020. The most recently serving governor of Mississippi to die was Kirk Fordice (served 1992–2000) on September 7, 2004.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Ray Mabus||1988–1992||October 11, 1948|
|Ronnie Musgrove||2000–2004||July 29, 1956|
|Haley Barbour||2004–2012||October 22, 1947|
|Phil Bryant||2012–2020||December 9, 1954|
- David Holmes was inaugurated as the first state governor on October 7, 1817, but Mississippi did not officially become a state until December 10, 1817.
- Died in office.
- As lieutenant governor, filled term until next election.
- Resigned due to illness.
- The 1832 constitution abolished the office of lieutenant governor; the office was reinstated in 1868.
- As president of the state senate, filled term until next election.
- Resigned following an arrest for violating neutrality laws by assisting with the liberation of Cuba. He was found not guilty, but the political fallout led to his resignation.
- As president of the senate, filled term until his senate term expired.
- As president of the senate, filled unexpired term.
- Resigned due to political tension over secession.
- A constitutional amendment passed during McRae's second term moved the gubernatorial inauguration date from January to the prior November, shortening his term by two months. The date was restored to January in the 1868 constitution.
- Charles Clark's term effective ended when he was arrested by Union forces.
- Appointed by President Andrew Johnson following the end of the American Civil War.
- Forced to resign and physically removed from office by federal forces after his government failed to comply with Reconstruction.
- Left office as Reconstruction ended.
- Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; Alcorn's senate term began March 4, 1871 but he delayed taking it, preferring to continue as governor.
- Impeached and removed from office.
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
- Impeached; made a deal with the legislature to resign, and all charges were dropped.
- As president of the senate, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right; since both the governor and lieutenant governor had been impeached, with the governor resigning and lieutenant governor being removed from office, Stone was next in line for governor.
- The 1890 electoral term was extended to six years under the 1890 constitution in order to facilitate changes in the executive department.
- Mississippi numbers Wright as the 49th governor, 1946–48 (His predecessor Thomas L. Bailey's term, which Wright completed) and the 50th governor, 1948–52 (Wright's elected term)
- As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
- Changed parties in 2002.
- "Constitution of the State of Mississippi" (current, 1890 with amendments). Mississippi Secretary of State (Education and Publications). Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "Constitution of the State of Mississippi" (1890). Mississippi History Now. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "Constitution of the State of Mississippi" (1868). Mississippi History Now. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "Constitution of the State of Mississippi" (1832). Mississippi History Now. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "Constitution of the State of Mississippi" (1817). Mississippi History Now. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- MS Const. art. V, § 116.
- MS Const. art. V, § 123.
- MS Const. art. IV, § 72.
- MS Const. art. V, § 121.
- MS Const. art. V, § 140-141.
- MS Const. art. V, § 117.
- MS Const. (1817) art. IV, § 1; MS Const. (1832) art. V, § 1; MS Const. (1868) art. V, § 1.
- MS Const. art. V, § 128–129.
- MS Const. art. V, § 131.
- "John Marshall Stone Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "John J. McRae Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved September 5, 2009.