List of Governors of West Virginia
|Governor of West Virginia|
|Residence||West Virginia Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||Arthur I. Boreman|
|Formation||June 20, 1863|
The Governor of West Virginia is the head of the executive branch of West Virginia'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 West Virginia Legislature, to convene the legislature at any time, and, except when prosecution has been carried out by the House of Delegates, to grant pardons and reprieves.
Since West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, during the American Civil War, 34 men have served as governor. Two, Arch A. Moore Jr. (West Virginia's 28th and 30th governor) and Cecil H. Underwood (West Virginia's 25th and 32nd governor), served two nonconsecutive terms in office. The longest-serving governor was Moore, who served for three terms over twelve years. The state's first governor, Arthur I. Boreman, served the most consecutive terms, resigning a week before the end of his third term. Daniel D.T. Farnsworth was Senate President at the time; he filled the last seven days of Boreman's term and remains the shortest-serving governor. Underwood has the unusual distinction of being both the youngest person to be elected as governor (age 34 upon his first term in 1957) and the oldest to both be elected and serve (age 74 upon his second term in 1997; age 78 at the end of his second term in 2001).
The current governor is Republican Jim Justice, who assumed office on January 16, 2017. West Virginia's 36th governor, Justice was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party on August 4 of that year.
To serve as governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of West Virginia for at least five years at the time of inauguration. The Constitution of West Virginia, ratified in 1872, calls for a four-year term for the governor, commencing on the Monday after the second Wednesday in the January following an election. The original constitution of 1863 had only a two-year term for governor.
The constitution makes no mention of a lieutenant governor; if the governorship becomes vacant, the Senate President acts as governor. If more than one year remains in the governor's term at the time of vacancy, a new election is held; otherwise, the Senate President serves the remainder of the term. A bill passed in 2000 grants the Senate President the honorary title of Lieutenant Governor, but this title is rarely used in practice and the terms of the Senate President do not correspond with governorships. The same bill states that the line of succession after the Senate President will be the Speaker of the House of Delegates, followed by the state attorney general, the state auditor and former governors, in inverse order of term, that are in residence in the state at the time of the vacancy.
List of Governors
|#||Governor||Term start||Term end||Party||Terms|
|1||Arthur I. Boreman||June 20, 1863||February 26, 1869||Republican||2 1⁄2|
|2||Daniel D. T. Farnsworth||February 26, 1869||March 4, 1869||Republican||1⁄2|
|3||William E. Stevenson||March 4, 1869||March 4, 1871||Republican||2|
|4||John J. Jacob||March 4, 1871||March 4, 1877||Democratic||2|
|5||Henry M. Mathews||March 4, 1877||March 4, 1881||Democratic||1|
|6||Jacob B. Jackson||March 4, 1881||March 4, 1885||Democratic||1|
|7||Emanuel Willis Wilson||March 4, 1885||February 6, 1890||Democratic||1|
|8||Aretas B. Fleming||February 6, 1890||March 4, 1893||Democratic||1|
|9||William A. MacCorkle||March 4, 1893||March 4, 1897||Democratic||1|
|10||George W. Atkinson||March 4, 1897||March 4, 1901||Republican||1|
|11||Albert B. White||March 4, 1901||March 4, 1905||Republican||1|
|12||William M. O. Dawson||March 4, 1905||March 4, 1909||Republican||1|
|13||William E. Glasscock||March 4, 1909||March 14, 1913||Republican||1|
|14||Henry D. Hatfield||March 14, 1913||March 5, 1917||Republican||1|
|15||John J. Cornwell||March 5, 1917||March 4, 1921||Democratic||1|
|16||Ephraim F. Morgan||March 4, 1921||March 4, 1925||Republican||1|
|17||Howard M. Gore||March 4, 1925||March 4, 1929||Republican||1|
|18||William G. Conley||March 4, 1929||March 4, 1933||Republican||1|
|19||H. Guy Kump||March 4, 1933||January 18, 1937||Democratic||1|
|20||Homer A. Holt||January 18, 1937||January 13, 1941||Democratic||1|
|21||Matthew M. Neely||January 13, 1941||January 15, 1945||Democratic||1|
|22||Clarence W. Meadows||January 15, 1945||January 17, 1949||Democratic||1|
|23||Okey L. Patteson||January 17, 1949||January 19, 1953||Democratic||1|
|24||William C. Marland||January 19, 1953||January 14, 1957||Democratic||1|
|25||Cecil H. Underwood||January 14, 1957||January 16, 1961||Republican||1|
|26||William Wallace Barron||January 16, 1961||January 18, 1965||Democratic||1|
|27||Hulett C. Smith||January 18, 1965||January 13, 1969||Democratic||1|
|28||Arch A. Moore Jr.||January 13, 1969||January 17, 1977||Republican||2|
|29||Jay Rockefeller||January 17, 1977||January 14, 1985||Democratic||2|
|30||Arch A. Moore Jr.||January 14, 1985||January 16, 1989||Republican||1|
|31||Gaston Caperton||January 16, 1989||January 13, 1997||Democratic||2|
|32||Cecil H. Underwood||January 13, 1997||January 15, 2001||Republican||1|
|33||Bob Wise||January 15, 2001||January 17, 2005||Democratic||1|
|34||Joe Manchin||January 17, 2005||November 15, 2010||Democratic||1 1⁄2|
|35||Earl Ray Tomblin||November 15, 2010||November 13, 2011||Democratic||1 1⁄2|
|November 13, 2011||January 16, 2017|
|36||Jim Justice||January 16, 2017||Incumbent||Democratic||1|
Other high offices held
This is a table of congressional offices held by governors. All representatives and senators listed represented West Virginia. No governor of West Virginia has held any other federal office.
- * Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to take.
- † Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to be governor.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||U.S. House||U.S. Senate||Source|
|Arthur I. Boreman||1863–1869||—||S*|||
|George W. Atkinson||1897–1901||H||—|||
|Henry D. Hatfield||1913–1917||—||S|||
|Matthew M. Neely||1941–1945||H||S†|||
|Arch A. Moore, Jr.||1969–1977
Living former governors of West Virginia
As of January 2017[update], there are five former governors of West Virginia who are currently living at this time, the oldest of whom is Jay Rockefeller (served 1977-1985, born 1937). The most recent governor to die was Arch A. Moore, Jr. (served 1969-1977 and 1985-1989, born 1923), who died on January 7, 2015. The most recently serving governor to die was Cecil H. Underwood (served 1957–1961 and 1997–2001, born 1922), who died on November 24, 2008.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Jay Rockefeller||1977–1985||June 18, 1937|
|Gaston Caperton||1989–1997||February 21, 1940|
|Bob Wise||2001–2005||January 6, 1948|
|Joe Manchin||2005–2010||August 24, 1947|
|Earl Ray Tomblin||2010–2011(acting),
|March 15, 1952|
- The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
- Resigned to run for the United States Senate, winning election.
- As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
- Jacob's second term was under the 1872 constitution, which increased term lengths from two to four years.
- Jacob was elected as a Democrat for his first term, and as an independent for his second.
- Did not run for re-election in 1888, but due to the election being disputed, remained in office until the investigation was completed.
- Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate.
- As president of the state senate, acted as governor from November 15, 2010 until November 13, 2011 when he was inaugurated as governor after the special election held on October 4, 2011. Tomblin was term limited.
- Justice was elected as a member of the West Virginia Democratic Party in the West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2016. He switched to the Republican Party six months into his term, on August 4, 2017.
- Governor Justice's first term expires on January 18, 2021; he is not yet term limited.
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 5.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 12.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 14.
- WV Constitution article VI, § 18–19.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 11.
- "West Virginia Governor to Switch from Democrat to Republican". New York Times. August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 1.
- WV 1863 Constitution article V, § 1.
- WV Constitution article VII, § 16.
- "H.B. 4781 (Enrolled March 11, 2009)". West Virginia Legislature, 2000 Sessions. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Boreman, Arthur Ingram". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Arthur Ingram Boreman". Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "West Virginia Governor Daniel Duane Tompkins Farnsworth". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on 2011-01-09. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
- "West Virginia Governor Emanuel Willis Wilson". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on 2009-10-20. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
- "Emanuel Willis Wilson". Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- "Aretas Brooks Fleming". Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Acting from November 15, 2010 to November 13, 2011
- "Tomblin succeeds Manchin as West Virginia governor". Washington Post. November 15, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- "Atkinson, George Wesley". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Hatfield, Henry Drury – Biographical Directory of the United States Congress". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Neely, Matthew Mansfield". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Moore, Arch Alfred, Jr". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Rockefeller, John Davison IV (Jay)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 16, 2009.
- "Wise, Robert Ellsworth, Jr". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved August 18, 2009.
- "Dems keep key Senate seat with Manchin win in WV". Houston Chronicle. November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Former Gov. Cecil Underwood has died at 86". Charleston Daily Mail. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 7, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
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