List of Governors of Alabama

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Governor of Alabama
Seal of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Standard of the Governor of Alabama.svg
Portrait-Governor-Kay-Ivey.jpg
Incumbent
Kay Ivey

since April 10, 2017
Style The Honorable
Residence Alabama Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holder William Wyatt Bibb
Formation December 14, 1819
Deputy Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Salary $119,950 (2013)[1]
Website http://www.governor.state.al.us

The Governor of Alabama is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Alabama. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Alabama's state government and is charged with enforcing state laws. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Alabama Legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[2] The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

There have officially been 54 governors of the state of Alabama; this official numbering skips acting and military governors.[3] The first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, served as the only governor of the Alabama Territory. Five people have served as acting governor, bringing the total number of people serving as governor to 59, spread over 63 distinct terms. Four governors have served multiple non-consecutive terms: Bibb Graves, Jim Folsom, and Fob James each served two, and George Wallace served three non-consecutive periods. Officially, these non-consecutive terms are numbered only with the number of their first term. William D. Jelks also served non-consecutive terms, but his first term was in an acting capacity.

The longest-serving governor was George Wallace, who served 16 years over four terms. The shortest term for a non-acting governor was that of Hugh McVay, who served four and a half months after replacing the resigning Clement Comer Clay. Lurleen Wallace, wife of George Wallace, was the first woman to serve as governor of Alabama, and the third woman to serve as governor of any state. The current governor is Republican Kay Ivey, who took office on April 10, 2017. She is the second female governor of Alabama.

Governors[edit]

Governor of the Territory of Alabama[edit]

For the period before Alabama Territory was formed, see the list of Governors of Mississippi Territory.

Alabama Territory was formed on March 3, 1817, from Mississippi Territory. It had only one governor appointed by the President of the United States before it became a state; he became the first state governor.

Governor Term in office Appointed by
Portrait of a man facing the right. William Wyatt Bibb March 6, 1817[a]

December 14, 1819
James Monroe

Governors of the State of Alabama[edit]

Seal for use by the Governor-Elect
Governor's Flag 1868–1939

Alabama was admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819. It seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, and was a founding member of the Confederate States of America on February 4, 1861. Following the end of the American Civil War, Alabama during Reconstruction was part of the Third Military District, which exerted some control over governor appointments and elections. Alabama was readmitted to the Union on July 14, 1868.

The first Alabama Constitution, ratified in 1819, provided that a governor be elected every two years, limited to serve no more than four out of every six years.[5] This limit remained in place until the constitution of 1868, which simply allowed governors to serve terms of two years.[6] The current constitution of 1901 increased terms to four years,[7] but prohibited governors from succeeding themselves.[8] Amendment 282 to the constitution, passed in 1968, allowed governors to succeed themselves once; a governor serves two consecutive terms can run again after waiting out the next term.[9] The constitution had no set date for the commencement of a governor's term until 1901, when it was set at the first Monday after the second Tuesday in the January following an election.[8]

The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1868,[10] abolished in 1875,[11] and recreated in 1901.[12] According to the current constitution, should the governor be out of the state for more than 20 days, the lieutenant governor becomes acting governor, and if the office of governor becomes vacant the lieutenant governor ascends to the governorship.[13] Earlier constitutions said the powers of the governor devolved upon the successor, rather than them necessarily becoming governor,[14] but the official listing includes these as full governors.[3] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

Alabama was a strongly Democratic state before the Civil War, electing only candidates from the Democratic-Republican and Democratic parties. It had two Republican governors following Reconstruction, but after the Democratic Party re-established control, 112 years passed before voters chose another Republican.

#[b] Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[c][d]
1 William Wyatt Bibb.jpg   William Wyatt Bibb December 14, 1819

July 10, 1820
Democratic-
Republican
1819
[e]
Office did not exist
2 Governor Thomas Bibb.jpg Thomas Bibb July 10, 1820

November 9, 1821
Democratic-
Republican
3 Pickensisrael.jpg Israel Pickens November 9, 1821

November 25, 1825
Democratic-
Republican
1821
1823
4 John murphy.jpg John Murphy November 25, 1825

November 25, 1829
Jackson
Democrat
1825
1827
5 Gabrielmoore.jpg Gabriel Moore November 25, 1829

March 3, 1831
Jackson
Democrat
1829
[f]
6 Blank.JPG Samuel B. Moore March 3, 1831

November 26, 1831
Democratic
7 JohnGayle.jpg John Gayle November 26, 1831

November 21, 1835
Democratic 1831
1833
8 Clement Comer Clay.jpg Clement Comer Clay November 21, 1835

July 17, 1837
Democratic 1835
[g]
9 Hugh McVay.jpg Hugh McVay July 17, 1837

November 30, 1837
Democratic
10 Arthur bagby.jpg Arthur P. Bagby November 30, 1837

November 22, 1841
Democratic 1837
1839
11 Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick, Ala - NARA - 528657.jpg Benjamin Fitzpatrick November 22, 1841

December 10, 1845
Democratic 1841
1843
12 Gov. Joshua L. Martin.jpg Joshua L. Martin December 10, 1845

December 16, 1847
Independent[h] 1845
13 Governor Reuben Chapman.jpg Reuben Chapman December 16, 1847

December 17, 1849
Democratic 1847
14 Governor Henry Watkins Collier.jpg Henry W. Collier December 17, 1849

December 20, 1853
Democratic 1849
1851
15 John A. Winston.jpg John A. Winston December 20, 1853

December 1, 1857
Democratic 1853
1855
16 Andrew B. Moore.jpg Andrew B. Moore December 1, 1857

December 2, 1861
Democratic 1857
1859
17 John Gill Shorter.jpg John Gill Shorter December 2, 1861

December 1, 1863
Democratic 1861
18 Thomas Hill Watts 1860s.jpg Thomas H. Watts December 1, 1863

May 1, 1865
Democratic 1863
[i]
Vacant May 1, 1865

June 21, 1865
19 Lewis E. Parsons - Brady-Handy.jpg Lewis E. Parsons June 21, 1865

December 13, 1865
Democratic
20 Robert patton.jpg Robert M. Patton December 13, 1865

July 24, 1868
Pre-War Whig 1865
[j]
WSwayne.jpg Wager Swayne March 2, 1867

January 11, 1868
Military
21 William Hugh Smith.jpg William Hugh Smith July 24, 1868

November 26, 1870
Republican 1868
  Andrew J. Applegate
(took office August 13, 1868)
(died August 21, 1870)
Vacant
22 Robert B. Lindsay.jpg Robert B. Lindsay November 26, 1870

November 17, 1872
Democratic 1870
[k]
Edward H. Moren
23 David P. Lewis.jpg David P. Lewis November 17, 1872

November 24, 1874
Republican 1872 Alexander McKinstry
24 George S. Houston - Brady-Handy.jpg George S. Houston November 24, 1874

November 28, 1878
Democratic 1874 Robert F. Ligon
1876 Office did not exist
25 Rufus W. Cobb.jpg Rufus W. Cobb November 28, 1878

December 1, 1882
Democratic 1878
1880
26 Edward A. O'Neal.jpg Edward A. O'Neal December 1, 1882

December 1, 1886
Democratic 1882
1884
27 GOVTHOMASSEAY.JPG Thomas Seay December 1, 1886

December 1, 1890
Democratic 1886
1888
28 Thomas Goode Jones.jpg Thomas G. Jones December 1, 1890

December 1, 1894
Democratic 1890
1892
29 Governor William Calvin Oates.jpg William C. Oates December 1, 1894

December 1, 1896
Democratic 1894
30 Joseph F Johnston-photo portrait.jpg Joseph F. Johnston December 1, 1896

December 1, 1900
Democratic 1896
1898
William D. Jelks.jpg William D. Jelks December 1, 1900

December 26, 1900
Democratic 1900
[l]
31 William J. Samford.jpg William J. Samford December 1, 1900

June 11, 1901
Democratic
32 William D. Jelks.jpg William D. Jelks June 11, 1901

January 14, 1907
Democratic
1902
[m][n]
Russell M. Cunningham
(acted as governor
April 25, 1904–March 5, 1905)
33 Braxton Bragg Comer.jpg B. B. Comer January 14, 1907

January 17, 1911
Democratic 1906 Henry B. Gray
34 Emmet O'Neal cropped.jpg Emmet O'Neal January 17, 1911

January 18, 1915
Democratic 1910 Walter D. Seed, Sr.
35 Governor Charles Henderson.jpg Charles Henderson January 18, 1915

January 20, 1919
Democratic 1914 Thomas Kilby
36 Thomas Kilby.jpg Thomas Kilby January 20, 1919

January 15, 1923
Democratic 1918 Nathan Lee Miller
37 Governor William W. Brandon.jpg William W. Brandon January 15, 1923

January 17, 1927
Democratic 1922
[o]
Charles S. McDowell
(acted as governor
July 10, 1924–July 11, 1924)
38 Bibb Graves.jpg Bibb Graves January 17, 1927

January 19, 1931
Democratic 1926 William C. Davis
39 Benjamin Meek Miller (Alabama Governor).jpg Benjamin M. Miller January 19, 1931

January 14, 1935
Democratic 1930 Hugh Davis Merrill
38 Bibb Graves.jpg Bibb Graves January 14, 1935

January 17, 1939
Democratic 1934 Thomas E. Knight
(died May 17, 1937)
Vacant
40 Blank.JPG Frank M. Dixon January 17, 1939

January 19, 1943
Democratic 1938 Albert A. Carmichael
41 Alabama Governors - Chauncey Sparks.jpg Chauncey Sparks January 19, 1943

January 20, 1947
Democratic 1942 Leven H. Ellis
42 Alabama Governors - James Elisha "Big Jim" Folsom.jpg Jim Folsom January 20, 1947

January 15, 1951
Democratic 1946 James C. Inzer
43 Gordon Persons.jpg Gordon Persons January 15, 1951

January 17, 1955
Democratic 1950 James Allen
42 Alabama Governors - James Elisha "Big Jim" Folsom.jpg Jim Folsom January 17, 1955

January 19, 1959
Democratic 1954 William G. Hardwick
44 Alabama Governors - John Malcolm Patterson.jpg John M. Patterson January 19, 1959

January 14, 1963
Democratic 1958 Albert Boutwell
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 14, 1963

January 16, 1967
Democratic 1962 James Allen
46 Lurleen Wallace.jpg Lurleen Wallace January 16, 1967

May 7, 1968
Democratic 1966
[p]
Albert Brewer
(acted as governor
July 25, 1967)
47 Governor Albert Brewer 1970.jpg Albert Brewer May 7, 1968

January 18, 1971
Democratic Vacant
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 18, 1971

January 15, 1979
Democratic 1970
[q]
Jere Beasley
(acted as governor
June 5, 1972–July 7, 1972)
1974
48 Alabama Governors - Forrest Hood (Fob) James, Jr.jpg Fob James January 15, 1979

January 17, 1983
Democratic 1978 George McMillan
45 George C Wallace.jpg George Wallace January 17, 1983

January 19, 1987
Democratic 1982 Bill Baxley
49 HGuyHunt.JPG H. Guy Hunt January 19, 1987

April 22, 1993
Republican 1986 Jim Folsom, Jr.[r]
1990
[s]
50 Jim Folsom Jr..jpg Jim Folsom Jr. April 22, 1993

January 16, 1995
Democratic Vacant
48 Alabama Governors - Forrest Hood (Fob) James, Jr.jpg Fob James January 16, 1995

January 18, 1999
Republican 1994 Don Siegelman[r]
51 Don Siegelman at Netroots Nation 2008.jpg Don Siegelman January 18, 1999

January 20, 2003
Democratic 1998 Steve Windom[t]
52 Governor Bob Riley.jpg Bob Riley January 20, 2003

January 17, 2011
Republican 2002 Lucy Baxley[r]
2006 Jim Folsom, Jr.[r]
53 Robert Bentley.jpg Robert J. Bentley January 17, 2011

April 10, 2017
Republican 2010 Kay Ivey
2014
[u]
54 Portrait-Governor-Kay-Ivey.jpg Kay Ivey April 10, 2017

present
Republican Vacant

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Records are scarce as to when Bibb was actually appointed. The territory was formed on March 3, 1817, but he was appointed by President James Monroe, who did not take office until the next day. Other resources indicate that other major appointments for the territory were made on March 6, 1817.[4]
  2. ^ Repeat governors are officially numbered only once; subsequent terms are marked with their original number italicized.
  3. ^ The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in the 1868 constitution,[10] abolished in the 1875 Constitution,[11] and recreated in the 1901 Constitution.[12]
  4. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  5. ^ William Wyatt Bibb died in office; as president of the senate, Thomas Bibb succeeded him.
  6. ^ Gabriel Moore resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as president of the senate, Samuel B. Moore succeeded him.
  7. ^ Clay resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; as president of the senate, McVay succeeded him.
  8. ^ Martin was a Democrat who opposed party leaders and ran as an independent.[15]
  9. ^ Watts was arrested by Union forces soon after the American Civil War ended; he was released a few weeks later.[16] Parsons was appointed provisional governor by the Union occupation. Between Watts's arrest and Parsons's appointment, Alabama had no governor, and was under the direct rule of General George Henry Thomas.[17]
  10. ^ The United States Congress stripped Patton of most of his authority in March 1867, after which time the state was effectively under the control of Major General Swayne.[18] The start date given for Swayne is the date of the first Reconstruction Act, which placed Alabama into the Third Military District; all references only say "March 1867"[18] and "when the Reconstruction Acts were passed".[19] In December 1867, President Andrew Johnson ordered the removal of General Swayne, and he was replaced on January 11, 1868, by General Julius Hayden.[20]
  11. ^ Lindsay was sworn into office on November 26, 1870, but William Hugh Smith refused to leave his seat for two weeks, claiming Lindsay was fraudulently elected; he finally left office on December 8, 1870, when a court so ordered.[21]
  12. ^ At the start of Samford's term, he was out of state seeking medical treatment; as president of the senate, Jelks acted as governor in his absence. Samford later died in office, and Jelks succeeded him.[22]
  13. ^ Terms were lengthened from two to four years beginning with this term.
  14. ^ Jelks was out of state for medical treatment for nearly a year; as lieutenant governor, Cunningham acted as governor in his absence.[23]
  15. ^ Brandon was out of state for 21 days as a delegate to the 1924 Democratic National Convention; as lieutenant governor, McDowell acted as governor for two days.[3]
  16. ^ Wallace was out of state for 20 days for medical treatment; as lieutenant governor, Brewer became acting governor on July 25, 1967; Wallace returned to the state later that day.[3][24] Wallace later died in office, and Brewer succeeded her.
  17. ^ Wallace was out of state for 52 days for medical treatment following an assassination attempt while campaigning for President of the United States; as lieutenant governor, Beasley acted as governor for 32 days.[3]
  18. ^ a b c d Represented the Democratic Party.
  19. ^ Hunt was removed from office upon being convicted of illegally using campaign and inaugural funds to pay personal debts; he was later pardoned by the state parole board based on innocence.[25] As lieutenant governor, Folsom succeeded him.
  20. ^ Represented the Republican Party.
  21. ^ Bentley resigned from office as part of a plea deal involving campaign violations.[26] As lieutenant governor, Ivey succeeded him. Governor Ivey's first term expires on January 14, 2019.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ AL Const., art. V.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alabama Governors". Alabama Department of Archives and History. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Shearer, Benjamin. The Uniting States – The Story of Statehood for the Fifty United States, Volume 1: Alabama to Kentucky. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 41. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ 1819 Const. art. IV, § 4
  6. ^ 1868 Const. art. V, § 2
  7. ^ AL Const. art. V, § 114
  8. ^ a b AL Const. art. V, § 116
  9. ^ AL Const. amendment 282
  10. ^ a b 1868 Const. art. V, § 1
  11. ^ a b 1875 Const. art. V, § 1
  12. ^ a b AL Const. art. V, § 112
  13. ^ AL Const. art. V, § 127
  14. ^ 1819 Const. art. IV, § 18; 1861 Const. art. IV, § 18; 1865 Const. art V, § 19; 1868 Const. art. V, § 15; 1875 Const. art. V § 15
  15. ^ "Joshua Lanier Martin". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Thomas Hill Watts". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Lewis Eliphalet Parsons". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Robert Miller Patton". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Alabama Governor Robert Patton". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Wager T. Swayne". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ White, James Terry (1900). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. James T. White & Company. p. 435. Retrieved January 18, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Alabama Governor William Jelks". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Alabama Governor Russell Cunningham". Alabama Department of Archives & History. Retrieved October 13, 2008. 
  24. ^ Owen, Thomas McAdory (1979). Alabama Official and Statistical Register. Alabama Department of Archives & History. p. 17. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  25. ^ Nossiter, Adam (12 June 1997). "Ex-Gov. Hunt of Alabama Cleared by Pardon Board". The New York Times. p. 18. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  26. ^ Blinder, Alan (10 April 2017). "Robert Bentley, Alabama Governor, Resigns Amid Scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 

External links[edit]