Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas

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The Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas presides over the Arkansas Senate with a tie-breaking vote, serves as governor when the governor is out of state, and serves as governor if the governor is impeached, removed from office, dies or is otherwise unable to discharge the office's duties. The lieutenant governor position is elected separately from the governor.

The position of Lieutenant Governor was created by the Sixth Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution in 1914, but was not filled until 1927. The Amendment was approved by the electorate in 1914, with returns showing 45,567 in favor and 45,206 opposed. The Speaker of the House declared the measure lost because it had not received a majority of the highest total vote, which was 135,517. In 1925, it was discovered that the Initiative and Referendum of 1910 had amended this majority requirement so that only a majority of those voting on a specific question was required. So, in 1926, the 1914 initiative was declared to be valid and Harvey Parnell was elected Arkansas' first lieutenant governor.

Three recent incumbents, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, Mike Huckabee and Jim Guy Tucker, began their respective tenures in the midst of regular term periods, due to the elevation of their predecessors to the governorship. Tucker succeeded Bill Clinton as governor in December 1992, upon Clinton's resignation days before assuming his office as President of the United States, creating the need for a special election to fill the lieutenant governor's office. When Tucker was convicted of conspiracy and mail fraud charges in 1996, Huckabee succeeded him as governor, paving the way for the November 1996 special election of Rockefeller as lieutenant governor.

Prior to Tim Griffin's swearing-in in January 2015, the office had been vacant since Mark Darr resigned on February 1, 2014 following an investigation into ethics violations involving illegal use of campaign funds.[1]

List of lieutenant governors[edit]

# Lt. Governor Political Party Term of Office
1 Harvey Parnell Democratic 1927–1928
2 William Lee Cazort Democratic 1928–1931
3 Lawrence Elery Wilson 1931–1933
4 William Lee Cazort Democratic 1933–1937
5 Robert L. Bailey 1937–1943
6 James Levesque Shaver Sr. Democratic 1943–1947
7 Nathan Green Gordon Democratic 1947–1967
8 Maurice Britt Republican 1967–1971
9 Bob C. Riley Democratic 1971–1975
10 Joe Purcell Democratic 1975–1981
11 Winston Bryant Democratic 1981–1991
12 Jim Guy Tucker Democratic 1991–1992
13 Mike Huckabee Republican 1993–1996
14 Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Republican 1996–2006
15 Bill Halter Democratic 2007–2011
16 Mark Darr Republican 2011–2014
17 Tim Griffin Republican 2015–

Living former U.S. Lieutenant Governors of Arkansas[edit]

As of September 2014, there are five former U.S. lieutenant governors of Arkansas who are currently living at this time. The oldest U.S. lieutenant governor of Arkansas being Winston Bryant (served 1981–1991, born 1938). The most recent death of a former U.S. lieutenant governor of Arkansas was that of Nathan G. Gordon (served 1947–1967, born 1916), on September 8, 2008. The most recently serving U.S. lieutenant governor of Arkansas to die was Winthrop P. Rockefeller (served 1996–2006, born 1948), in office on July 16, 2006.

Lt. Governor Lt. Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Winston Bryant 1981–1991 (1938-10-03) October 3, 1938 (age 77)
Jim G. Tucker 1991–1992 (1943-06-13) June 13, 1943 (age 73)
Mike Huckabee 1993–1996 (1955-08-24) August 24, 1955 (age 60)
Bill Halter 2007–2011 (1960-11-30) November 30, 1960 (age 55)
Mark Darr 2011–2014 (1973-07-03) July 3, 1973 (age 43)

References[edit]