List of Governors of California

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Jerry Brown, 34th and the current 39th Governor of California. He is the longest-serving governor in California history.

The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced. The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

There have been 38 governors; many have been influential nationwide in areas far-flung from politics. Leland Stanford founded Stanford University in 1891. Earl Warren, later Chief Justice of the United States, won an election with the nominations of the three major parties – the only person ever to run essentially unopposed for governor of California. Ronald Reagan, who was president of the Screen Actors Guild and later President of the United States, and Arnold Schwarzenegger both came to prominence through acting. Gray Davis, the 37th governor of California, was the second governor in American history to be recalled by voters. The shortest tenure was that of Milton Latham, who served only five days before being elected by the legislature to fill a vacant United States Senate seat. The longest tenure is that of the current governor, Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr., who previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983 and has been serving again since 2011. He is the son of former governor Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown, Sr. who served from 1959-1967.

Governors[edit]

For the governors prior to statehood, see the List of Governors of California before admission.

California was obtained by the United States in the Mexican Cession following the Mexican–American War. Unlike most other states, it was never organized as a territory, and was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850.

The original California Constitution of 1849 called for elections every two years, with no set start date for the term. An amendment ratified in 1862 increased the term to four years,[1] and the 1879 constitution set the term to begin on the first Monday in January following an election. In 1990, Proposition 140 led to a constitutional amendment[2] implementing a term limit of two terms;[3] prior to this limit, only one governor, Earl Warren, served more than two terms. Jerry Brown was able to be elected to a third term in 2010 because his previous terms were before the term limit was enacted. The 1849 constitution also created the office of lieutenant governor, who, in cases of vacancy in the office of governor, becomes governor.[4] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

List of governors[edit]

      Democratic (16)       American (1)       Republican (22)       Progressive (1)

Portrait Governor Term in office Party Term[a] Previous office Lieutenant governor
1 Peter Hardeman Burnett - circa 1860.jpg   Peter Hardeman Burnett
(1807-11-15)November 15, 1807 – May 17, 1895(1895-05-17)
(Aged 87)
December 20, 1849

January 9, 1851
Democratic 1
[b][c]
None   John McDougall
2 John McDougall.jpg John McDougall
ca. 1818 – March 30, 1866
(Aged 48)
January 9, 1851

January 8, 1852
Democratic 1st
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1849–1851)
David C. Broderick
(acting)
3 John Bigler painting.jpg John Bigler
January 8, 1805 – November 29, 1871
(Aged 66)
January 8, 1852

January 9, 1856
Democratic 2 2nd
Speaker of the California Assembly
(1850–1851)
Samuel Purdy
3
4 JNeelyJohnson.jpg J. Neely Johnson
August 2, 1825 – August 31, 1872
(Aged 47)
January 9, 1856

January 8, 1858
American 4 California State Assemblyman
Robert M. Anderson
5 John B Weller by William F Cogswell, 1879.jpg John B. Weller
February 22, 1812 – August 17, 1875
(Aged 63)
January 8, 1858

January 9, 1860
Democratic 5 U.S. Senator from California
(1852-1857)
John Walkup
6 MiltonLatham.jpg Milton Latham
May 23, 1827 – March 4, 1882
(Aged 54)
January 9, 1860

January 14, 1860
Democratic 6
[d]
U.S. Representative for California's At-large
(1853-1855)
John G. Downey
7 John G. Downey.jpg John G. Downey
June 24, 1827 – March 1, 1894
(Aged 66)
January 14, 1860

January 10, 1862
Democratic 6th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1860)
Isaac N. Quinn
(acting)
January 14, 1860 – January 7, 1861
Pablo de la Guerra
(acting)
January 7, 1861 – January 10, 1862
8 Leland Stanford c1870s.jpg Leland Stanford
March 9, 1824 – June 21, 1893
(Aged 69)
January 10, 1862

December 10, 1863
Republican 7 None John F. Chellis
9 FrederickFerdinandLow.png Frederick Low
June 30, 1828 – July 21, 1894
(Aged 66)
December 10, 1863

December 5, 1867
Republican 8
[e]
U.S. Representative for California's At-large
(1862-1863)
Tim N. Machin
10 HenryHaight.png Henry Huntly Haight
May 20, 1825 – September 2, 1878
(Aged 53)
December 5, 1867

December 8, 1871
Democratic 9 None William Holden
11 Newton Booth - Brady-Handy.jpg Newton Booth
December 30, 1825 – July 14, 1892
(Aged 66)
December 8, 1871

February 27, 1875
Republican 10
[f]
California State Senator Romualdo Pacheco
12 Romualdo Pacheco - Brady-Handy.jpg Romualdo Pacheco
October 31, 1831 – January 23, 1899
(Aged 67)
February 27, 1875

December 9, 1875
Republican 9th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1849–1851)
William Irwin
(acting)
13 William Irwin painting.jpg William Irwin
ca. 1827 – March 15, 1886
(Aged 58–59)
December 9, 1875

January 8, 1880
Democratic 11 Acting
Lieutenant Governor of California
James A. Johnson
14 Senator George Clement Perkins.jpg George Clement Perkins
August 23, 1839 – February 26, 1923
(Aged 83)
January 8, 1880

January 10, 1883
Republican 12 California State Senator John Mansfield
15 General George Stoneman.jpg George Stoneman
August 8, 1822 – September 5, 1894
(Aged 72)
January 10, 1883

January 8, 1887
Democratic 13 Major General
Union Army
John Daggett
16 Washington Bartlett.jpg Washington Bartlett
February 29, 1824 – September 12, 1887
(Aged 63)
January 8, 1887

September 12, 1887
Democratic 14
[g]
20th
Mayor of San Francisco
(1883-1887)
Robert Waterman
17 Robert Waterman.jpg Robert Waterman
December 15, 1826 – April 12, 1891
(Aged 64)
September 12, 1887

January 8, 1891
Republican 17th
Lieutenant Governor of California
Stephen M. White[h]
(acting)
18 HenryMarkham.jpg Henry Markham
November 16, 1840 – October 9, 1923
(Aged 82)
January 8, 1891

January 11, 1895
Republican 15 U.S. Representative for California's 1st
(1885-1887)
John B. Reddick
19 James H. Budd.jpg James Budd
May 18, 1851 – July 30, 1908
(Aged 57)
January 11, 1895

January 4, 1899
Democratic 16 U.S. Representative for California's 2nd
(1883-1885)
Spencer G. Millard[i][j]
January 11, 1895 – October 24, 1895
William T. Jeter
October 24, 1895 – January 4, 1899
20 HenryGage.jpg Henry Gage
December 25, 1852 – August 28, 1924
(Aged 71)
January 4, 1899

January 7, 1903
Republican 17 None Jacob H. Neff
21 Pardee Portrait1.jpg George Pardee
July 25, 1857 – September 1, 1941
(Aged 84)
January 7, 1903

January 9, 1907
Republican 18 29th
Mayor of Oakland
(1893-1895)
Alden Anderson
22 James Gillett.jpg James Gillett
September 20, 1860 – April 20, 1937
(Aged 76)
January 9, 1907

January 3, 1911
Republican 19 U.S. Representative for California's 1st
(1903-1906)
Warren R. Porter
23 Hiram Johnson.jpg Hiram Johnson
September 2, 1866 – August 6, 1945
(Aged 78)
January 3, 1911

March 15, 1917
Republican 20 None A.J. Wallace
Progressive 21
[k]
John M. Eshleman[l]
(January 5, 1915 – February 28, 1916)
Vacant
February 28, 1916 – July 22, 1916
William Stephens[i]
(July 22, 1916 - March 15, 1917)
24 Portrait of William Stephens.jpg William Stephens
December 26, 1859 – April 25, 1944
(Aged 84)
March 15, 1917

January 8, 1923
Republican 27th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1916–1917)
Vacant
22 C.C. Young
25 FriendRichardson.jpg Friend Richardson
December 1, 1865 – September 6, 1943
(Aged 77)
January 9, 1923

January 4, 1927
Republican 23 21st
California State Treasurer
(1915-1923)
26 CCYoung.jpg C.C. Young
April 28, 1869 – December 24, 1947
(Aged 78)
January 4, 1927

January 6, 1931
Republican 24 29th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1919–1927)
Buron Fitts
(1927-1928)
H. L. Carnahan
(1928-1931)
27 JamesRolphJrCalifGov.jpg James Rolph
August 23, 1869 – June 2, 1934
(Aged 64)
January 6, 1931

June 2, 1934
Republican 25
[m]
30th
Mayor of San Francisco
(1912-1931)
Frank Merriam
28 FrankMerriam.jpg Frank Merriam
December 22, 1865 – April 25, 1955
(Aged 89)
June 2, 1934

January 2, 1939
Republican 31st
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1931–1934)
Vacant
26 George J. Hatfield
29 CulbertOlson.jpg Culbert Olson
November 7, 1876 – April 13, 1962
(Aged 85)
January 2, 1939

January 4, 1943
Democratic 27 California State Senator Vacant
Ellis E. Patterson
(1939-1943)
30 Earl Warren Portrait, half figure, seated, facing front, as Governor.jpg Earl Warren
March 19, 1891 – July 9, 1974
(Aged 83)
January 4, 1943

October 5, 1953
Republican[n] 28 20th
Attorney General of California
(1939–1943)
Frederick Houser
29 Goodwin Knight
30[o]
31 GoodwinKnight.jpg Goodwin Knight
December 9, 1896 – May 22, 1970
(Aged 73)
October 5, 1953

January 5, 1959
Republican 35th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1947–1953)
Harold J. Powers
31
32 Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.jpg Pat Brown
April 21, 1905 – February 16, 1996
(Aged 90)
January 5, 1959

January 2, 1967
Democratic 32 23rd
Attorney General of California
(1951–1959)
Glenn M. Anderson
33
33 Ronald Reagan with cowboy hat 12-0071M original.tif Ronald Reagan
February 6, 1911 – June 5, 2004
(Aged 93)
January 2, 1967

January 6, 1975
Republican 34 None Robert Finch
(1967-1969)
Edwin Reinecke
(1969-1974)
35
John L. Harmer
(1974-1975)
34 Jerry Brown 1978 cropped.jpg Jerry Brown
(1938-04-07) April 7, 1938 (age 78)
January 6, 1975

January 3, 1983
Democratic 36 24th
Secretary of State of California
(1971–1975)
Mervyn M. Dymally
37 Michael Curb[i]
35 George Deukmejian Official Portrait crop.jpg George Deukmejian
(1928-06-06) June 6, 1928 (age 88)
January 3, 1983

January 7, 1991
Republican 38 27th
Attorney General of California
(1979–1983)
Leo T. McCarthy[h]
39
36 Pete Wilson meeting with Les Aspin, Feb 3, 1993 - cropped to Wilson.JPEG Pete Wilson
(1933-08-03) August 3, 1933 (age 82)
January 7, 1991

January 4, 1999
Republican 40 U.S. Senator from California
(1983-1991)
41 Gray Davis[h]
37 Gdavis.jpg Gray Davis
(1942-12-26) December 26, 1942 (age 73)
January 4, 1999

November 17, 2003
Democratic 42
44th
Lieutenant Governor of California
(1995-1999)
Cruz Bustamante[h]
43
[p]
38 Aschwarzenegger.jpg Arnold Schwarzenegger
(1947-07-30) July 30, 1947 (age 69)
November 17, 2003

January 3, 2011
Republican None
44 John Garamendi[h]
(2007-2009)
Abel Maldonado[i][q]
(2009-2011)
39 Edmund G Brown Jr.jpg Jerry Brown
(1938-04-07) April 7, 1938 (age 78)
January 3, 2011

Incumbent
Democratic 45 31st
Attorney General of California
(2007-2011)
34th Governor of California
(1975-1983)
Gavin Newsom[q]
(2011 - present)
46
[r]

Other high offices held[edit]

Seventeen governors of California have served other high offices, including one President of the United States, a Chief Justice of the United States, and five ambassadors. Thirteen have served in the U.S. Congress, all representing California, though one of them also represented Ohio.

Governor Other offices held Source
John Bigler Minister to Chile [10]
John B. Weller Representative from Ohio
Senator from California
Minister to Mexico
[11]
Milton Latham Representative from California
Senator from California
[12]
Leland Stanford Senator from California [13]
Frederick Low Representative from California
Minister to the Great Qing Empire
[14]
Newton Booth Senator from California [15]
Romualdo Pacheco Representative from California
Minister to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua
[16]
George Clement Perkins Senator from California [17]
Henry Markham Representative from California [18]
James Budd Representative from California [19]
Henry Gage Minister to Portugal [20]
James Gillett Representative from California [21]
Hiram Johnson Senator from California [22]
William Stephens Representative from California [23]
Earl Warren Chief Justice of the United States [24]
Ronald Reagan President of the United States [25]
Pete Wilson Senator from California [26]

Living former governors of California[edit]

There are four former governors of California who are currently alive, the oldest being George Deukmejian, born 1928. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Ronald Reagan (served 1967–1975, born 1911) on June 5, 2004. Jerry Brown, who served as governor from 1975 to 1983, is currently serving and thus is not included on this list.

Governor Years in office Date of birth (and age)
George Deukmejian 1983–1991 (1928-06-06) June 6, 1928 (age 88)
Pete Wilson 1991–1999 (1933-08-23) August 23, 1933 (age 82)
Gray Davis 1999–2003 (1942-12-26) December 26, 1942 (age 73)
Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003–2011 (1947-07-30) July 30, 1947 (age 69)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Each term for which a governor is elected is listed here; if multiple governors served in a single term, due to resignations, deaths, and the like, then that term will be shared among those governors. If a governor was elected multiple times, then there will be multiple terms listed for that governor.
  2. ^ A civilian government was formed in late 1849 prior to official statehood, and operated as the state government for ten months before official statehood was granted.[5]
  3. ^ Burnett resigned, citing personal reasons; he was reportedly unhappy with the legislature, and wanted more time to manage his business.[6] As lieutenant governor, McDougall became governor.
  4. ^ Latham resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate. As lieutenant governor, Downey became governor.
  5. ^ An 1862 constitutional amendment increased the office's term length from two to four years.
  6. ^ Booth resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate. As lieutenant governor, Pacheco became governor.
  7. ^ Bartlett died in office; as lieutenant governor, Waterman became governor.
  8. ^ a b c d e Represented the Democratic Party (United States).
  9. ^ a b c d Represented the Republican Party (United States).
  10. ^ Died in office.
  11. ^ Johnson resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate. As lieutenant governor, Stephens became governor.
  12. ^ Died in office.[7]
  13. ^ Rolph died in office; as lieutenant governor, Merriam became governor.
  14. ^ Warren ran as a Republican for his first and third terms. For his second term, he won the nomination of the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive parties.
  15. ^ Warren resigned to become Chief Justice of the United States. As lieutenant governor, Knight became governor.
  16. ^ Davis was recalled and Schwarzenegger chosen to replace him in a special recall election.[8]
  17. ^ a b Newsom delayed his swearing in as lieutenant governor until January 10, 2011, to remain mayor of San Francisco; Maldonado stayed on as lieutenant governor until then.[9]
  18. ^ Governor Brown's fourth term expires on January 7, 2019; he will be term limited.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ Henning, W.F. (1899). Constitution of the State of California. C.W. Palm Company. Retrieved January 18, 2008. 
  2. ^ "California Ballot Propositions 1990-1999". Los Angeles County Law Library. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ CA Const. art. V, § 2
  4. ^ CA Const. art. V, § 10
  5. ^ "California Governor Peter Hardeman Burnett". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ Durham, Walter T. (1997). Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. Vanderbilt University Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-8265-1298-4. Retrieved August 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Lieutenant Governor Eshleman Dies Very Suddenly". Marin County Tocsin. March 4, 1916. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Statewide Special Election". California Secretary of State. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  9. ^ Upton Oot, John (January 7, 2011). "Newsom's Dual Role Raises Legal Quandary". The Bay Citizen. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ "California Governor John Bigler". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Weller, John B.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Latham, Milton Slocum". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Stanford, Leland". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  14. ^ "Low, Frederick Ferdinand". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Booth, Newton". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Pacheco, Romualdo". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Perkins, George Clement". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Markham, Henry Harrison". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Budd, James Herbert". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  20. ^ "California Governor Henry Tifft Gage". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Gillett, James Norris". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Johnson, Hiram Warren". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Stephens, William Dennison". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  24. ^ "California Governor Earl Warren". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  25. ^ "California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Wilson, Pete". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and Historian of the United States Senate. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 

External links[edit]