List of Governors of Georgia
|Governor of Georgia|
Seal of the State of Georgia
|Residence||Georgia Governor's Mansion|
|Term length||Four years, renewable once|
|Inaugural holder||William Ewen
|Formation||Georgia State Constitution|
- For the period before independence, see the list of colonial governors of Georgia.
Georgia was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and ratified the Constitution of the United States on January 2, 1788. Before it declared its independence, Georgia was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Like most early states, Georgia had claims to western areas, but did not cede its claims during the formation of the country like the other states. It sold this area, the Yazoo Lands, to the federal government on April 24, 1802, when it was assigned to Mississippi Territory.
In the Rules and Regulations of 1776, considered by some to be the first constitution, the chief executive was a president chosen by the legislature every six months. This was quickly superseded by the 1777 constitution, which called for a governor to be chosen by the legislature each year, with a term limited to one year out of every three. In the event of a vacancy, the president of the executive council acted as governor. The governor's term was lengthened to two years in the 1789 constitution. The 1798 constitution modified succession so that the president of the senate would act as governor should that office become vacant. An 1818 amendment to that constitution extended the line of succession to the speaker of the house, and an 1824 amendment provided for popular election of the governor.
While the 1861 secessionist constitution kept the office the same, the other constitutions surrounding the American Civil War brought lots of changes. The 1865 constitution, following Georgia's surrender, limited governors to two consecutive terms, allowing them to serve again after a gap of four years. The Reconstruction constitution of 1868 increased the governor's term to four years. The 1877 constitution, after local rule was re-established, returned the office to the provisions of the 1865 constitution. An amendment in 1941 lengthened terms to 4 years, but governors could no longer succeed themselves, having to wait four years to serve again. The constitution does not specify when terms start, only that the governor is installed at the next session of the General Assembly.
The 1945 constitution provided for a lieutenant governor, to serve the same term as governor and to act as governor if that office became vacant. Should it become vacant within 30 days of the next general election, or if the governor's term would have ended within 90 days of the next election, the lieutenant governor acts out the term; otherwise, a successor is chosen in the next general election. This was retained in the 1976 constitution. The current constitution of 1983 allows governors to succeed themselves once before having to wait four years to serve again, and lieutenant governors now become governor in the event of a vacancy. Should the office of lieutenant governor be vacant, the speaker of the house acts as governor, and a special election to fill the office must happen in 90 days.
|#||Governor||Took office||Left office||Party||Lt. Governor|
|1||William Ewen||June 22, 1775||December 11, 1775||None||—[a][b]|
|2||George Walton||December 11, 1775||February 20, 1776||None||—[a][b]|
|William Ewen||February 20, 1776||April 15, 1776[c]||None||—[a][b][d]|
|3||Archibald Bulloch||April 15, 1776[c]||March 4, 1777||None||[e][f]|
|4||Button Gwinnett||March 4, 1777||May 8, 1777||None||[e][g]|
|5||[John A. Treutlen}||May 8, 1777||January 8, 1778[h]||None|
|6||John Houstoun||January 8, 1778[h]||January 7, 1779||None|
|—||William Glascock||January 7, 1779||July 24, 1779||None||[i]|
|7||Seth John Cuthbert||July 24, 1779||August 6, 1779||None||[i]|
|8||John Wereat||August 6, 1779||January 4, 1780||None||[j]|
|George Walton||November 4, 1779||January 4, 1780||None||[j]|
|9||Richard Howly||January 4, 1780||February 16, 1780||None|
|11||Humphrey Wells?||February 16, 1780||February 18, 1780||None||[l]|
|12||Stephen Heard?||February 18 or May 24, 1780||August 1780||None|
|13||Myrick Davies||August 1780||August 18, 1781||None|
|14||Nathan Brownson||August 18, 1781||January 3, 1782||American Whig||None|
|15||John Martin||January 3, 1782||January 8, 1783||None||None|
|16||Lyman Hall||January 8, 1783||January 9, 1784||None||None|
|17||John Houstoun||January 9, 1784||January 6, 1785||None||None|
|18||Samuel Elbert||January 6, 1785||January 9, 1786||None||None|
|19||Edward Telfair||January 9, 1786||January 9, 1787||None||None|
|20||George Mathews||January 9, 1787||January 26, 1788||None||None|
|21||George Handley||January 26, 1788||January 7, 1789||None||None|
|George Walton||January 7, 1789||November 9, 1790||Democratic-Republican||None|
|Edward Telfair||November 9, 1790||November 7, 1793||Democratic-Republican||None|
|George Mathews||November 7, 1793||January 15, 1796||Democratic-Republican||None|
|22||Jared Irwin||January 15, 1796||January 12, 1798||Democratic-Republican||None|
|23||James Jackson||January 12, 1798||March 3, 1801||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[m]|
|24||David Emanuel||March 3, 1801||November 7, 1801||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[n]|
|25||Josiah Tattnall, Sr.||November 7, 1801||November 4, 1802||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[o]|
|26||John Milledge||November 4, 1802||September 23, 1806||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[m]|
|Jared Irwin||September 23, 1806||November 10, 1809||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[n]|
|27||David B. Mitchell||November 10, 1809||November 5, 1813||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None|
|28||Peter Early||November 5, 1813||November 20, 1815||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None|
|David B. Mitchell||November 20, 1815||March 4, 1817||Democratic-Republican, Jackson faction||None||[p]|
|29||William Rabun||March 4, 1817||October 24, 1819||Democratic-Republican, Troup faction||None||[n][f]|
|30||Matthew Talbot||October 24, 1819||November 5, 1819||Democratic-Republican, Clark faction||None||[n]|
|31||John Clark||November 5, 1819||November 7, 1823||Democratic-Republican, Clark faction||None|
|32||George M. Troup||November 7, 1823||November 7, 1827||Democratic-Republican, Troup faction||None|
|33||John Forsyth||November 7, 1827||November 4, 1829||Democratic-Republican, Troup faction||None|
|34||George R. Gilmer||November 4, 1829||November 9, 1831||Democratic-Republican, Troup faction||None|
|35||Wilson Lumpkin||November 9, 1831||November 4, 1835||Union (Democratic)||None|
|36||William Schley||November 4, 1835||November 8, 1837||Union (Democratic)||None|
|George R. Gilmer||November 8, 1837||November 6, 1839||State Rights (Whig)||None|
|37||Charles J. McDonald||November 6, 1839||November 8, 1843||Union (Democratic)||None|
|38||George W. Crawford||November 8, 1843||November 3, 1847||Whig||None|
|39||George W. Towns||November 3, 1847||November 5, 1851||Democratic||None|
|40||Howell Cobb||November 5, 1851||November 9, 1853||Constitutional Union (Democratic)||None|
|41||Herschel V. Johnson||November 9, 1853||November 6, 1857||Democratic||None|
|42||Joseph E. Brown||November 6, 1857||June 17, 1865||Democratic||None||3 1⁄2[q]|
|43||James Johnson||June 17, 1865||December 14, 1865||Democratic||None||1⁄2[r][s]|
|44||Charles J. Jenkins||December 14, 1865||January 13, 1868||Democratic||None||[t][u]|
|45||Thomas H. Ruger||January 13, 1868[v]||July 4, 1868[w]||Military||None||—[x]|
|46||Rufus B. Bullock||July 4, 1868[y]||October 30, 1871[z]||Republican||None||1⁄3[aa]|
|47||Benjamin Conley||October 30, 1871[ab]||January 12, 1872||Republican||None||1⁄3[ac]|
|48||James M. Smith||January 12, 1872||January 12, 1877||Democratic||None||1⁄3+1[ad]|
|49||Alfred H. Colquitt||January 12, 1877||November 4, 1882||Democratic||None||2[ae]|
|50||Alexander H. Stephens||November 4, 1882||March 4, 1883||Democratic||None||1⁄3[f]|
|51||James S. Boynton||March 4, 1883||May 10, 1883||Democratic||None||1⁄3[ac]|
|52||Henry D. McDaniel||May 10, 1883||November 9, 1886||Democratic||None||1⁄3+1[ad]|
|53||John B. Gordon||November 9, 1886||November 8, 1890||Democratic||None||2|
|54||William J. Northen||November 8, 1890||October 27, 1894||Democratic||None||2[af]|
|55||William Y. Atkinson||October 27, 1894||October 29, 1898||Democratic||None||2|
|56||Allen D. Candler||October 29, 1898||October 25, 1902||Democratic||None||2|
|57||Joseph M. Terrell||October 25, 1902||June 29, 1907||Democratic||None||2[ag]|
|58||Hoke Smith||June 29, 1907||June 26, 1909||Democratic||None||1|
|59||Joseph M. Brown||June 26, 1909||July 1, 1911||Democratic||None||1|
|Hoke Smith||July 1, 1911||November 16, 1911||Democratic||None||1⁄3[m]|
|60||John M. Slaton||November 16, 1911||January 25, 1912||Democratic||None||1⁄3[ac]|
|Joseph M. Brown||January 25, 1912||June 28, 1913||Democratic||None||1⁄3[ad]|
|John M. Slaton||June 28, 1913||June 26, 1915||Democratic||None||1|
|61||Nathaniel E. Harris||June 26, 1915||June 30, 1917||Democratic||None||1|
|62||Hugh M. Dorsey||June 30, 1917||June 25, 1921||Democratic||None||2|
|63||Thomas W. Hardwick||June 25, 1921||June 30, 1923||Democratic||None||1|
|64||Clifford Walker||June 30, 1923||June 25, 1927||Democratic||None||2|
|65||Lamartine G. Hardman||June 25, 1927||June 27, 1931||Democratic||None||2|
|66||Richard Russell, Jr.||June 27, 1931||January 10, 1933||Democratic||None||1[ah]|
|67||Eugene Talmadge||January 10, 1933||January 12, 1937||Democratic||None||2|
|68||Eurith D. Rivers||January 12, 1937||January 14, 1941||Democratic||None||2|
|Eugene Talmadge||January 14, 1941||January 12, 1943||Democratic||None||1|
|69||Ellis Arnall||January 12, 1943||January 14, 1947||Democratic||None||1|
|70||Herman Talmadge||January 14, 1947||March 18, 1947||Democratic||Melvin E. Thompson||1⁄3[ai]|
|71||Melvin E. Thompson||March 18, 1947||November 17, 1948||Democratic||Vacant||1⁄3[ai]|
|Herman Talmadge||November 17, 1948||January 11, 1955||Democratic||Marvin Griffin||1⁄3+1[ai]|
|72||Marvin Griffin||January 11, 1955||January 13, 1959||Democratic||Ernest Vandiver||1|
|73||Ernest Vandiver||January 13, 1959||January 15, 1963||Democratic||Garland T. Byrd||1|
|74||Carl E. Sanders||January 15, 1963||January 11, 1967||Democratic||Peter Zack Geer||1|
|75||Lester Maddox||January 11, 1967||January 12, 1971||Democratic||George Thornewell Smith||1|
|76||Jimmy Carter||January 12, 1971||January 14, 1975||Democratic||Lester Maddox||1|
|77||George Busbee||January 14, 1975||January 11, 1983||Democratic||Zell Miller||2|
|78||Joe Frank Harris||January 11, 1983||January 14, 1991||Democratic||Zell Miller||2|
|79||Zell Miller||January 14, 1991||January 11, 1999||Democratic||Pierre Howard||2|
|80||Roy Barnes||January 11, 1999||January 13, 2003||Democratic||Mark Taylor||1|
|81||George E. "Sonny" Perdue||January 13, 2003||January 10, 2011||Republican||Mark Taylor[aj]||2|
|82||Nathan Deal||January 10, 2011||Incumbent||Republican||Casey Cagle||2[ak]|
Other high offices held
This table lists congressional seats, other federal offices, and Confederate offices. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Georgia. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||U.S. House||U.S. Senate||Other offices held|
|Archibald Bulloch||1776–1777||—||—||Continental Delegate|
|Button Gwinnett||1777||—||—||Continental Delegate|
|Richard Howly||1780||—||—||Continental Delegate|
|Nathan Brownson||1781–1782||—||—||Continental Delegate|
|Lyman Hall||1783–1784||—||—||Continental Delegate|
|Samuel Elbert||1785–1786||—||—||Elected to the Continental Congress but declined to serve|
|John Forsyth||1827–1829||H†||S||Minister to Spain, U.S. Secretary of State|
|George R. Gilmer||1829–1831
|George W. Crawford||1843–1847||H||—||U.S. Secretary of War|
|George W. Towns||1847–1851||H||—|
|Howell Cobb||1851–1853||H||—||Speaker of the House, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, President of the Provisional Confederate Congress|
|Herschel V. Johnson||1853–1857||—||S||Confederate Senator|
|Joseph E. Brown||1857–1865||—||S|
|James Milton Smith||1872–1877||—||—||Confederate Representative|
|Alfred H. Colquitt||1877–1882||H||S|
|Alexander H. Stephens||1882–1883||H||—||Confederate Representative, Vice President of the Confederate States of America; elected to the U.S. Senate but was refused his seat|
|John Brown Gordon||1886–1890||—||S|
|Allen D. Candler||1898–1902||H||—|
|Joseph M. Terrell||1902–1907||—||S|
|—||S*||U.S. Secretary of the Interior|
|Thomas W. Hardwick||1921–1923||H||S|
|Richard Russell, Jr.||1931–1933||—||S||President pro tempore of the Senate|
|Jimmy Carter||1971–1975||—||—||President of the United States|
Living former U.S. governors of Georgia
As of May 2015[update], there are five former U.S. governors of Georgia who are currently living at this time, the oldest U.S. governor of Georgia being Jimmy Carter (1971–1975, born 1924). The former U.S. governor of Georgia to die most recently was Carl Sanders (1963–1967), on November 16, 2014. The most recently serving U.S. governor of Georgia to die was George Busbee (1975–1983), on July 16, 2004.
|Governor||Gubernatorial term||Date of birth (and age)|
|Jimmy Carter||1971–1975||October 1, 1924|
|Joe Frank Harris||1983–1991||February 16, 1936|
|Zell Miller||1991–1999||February 24, 1932|
|Roy Barnes||1999–2003||March 11, 1948|
|George E. "Sonny" Perdue||2003–2011||December 20, 1946|
- President of Council of Safety.
- There were no terms for the Council of Safety, the state being at war.
- The Council of Safety voted Bulloch as president and commander-in-chief on April 15,  but did not send a 'letter of congratulation' until May 1.
- As president pro tempore of the Council of Safety, acted as president in the absence of elected president Elisha Butler, whom never arrived.
- Died in office.
- Was speaker of the Provincial Congress, and was selected by the Council of Safety to succeed Bulloch.
- Most sources say January 8;    some say January 10  
- Many sources do not include William Glascock and Seth John Cuthbert as a governor; some mention Glascock as speaker of the House Assembly, and that he acted as governor. Other sources state that due to the chaos caused by the fall of Savannah, the revolutionaries were without leadership, and William Glascock and Seth John Cuthbert made efforts to fill this gap until John Wereat took office.
- A schism emerged in late 1779 with competing executive councils, each of which elected a president, John Wereat and George Walton. The official list, however, lists both.
- Reportedly was or acted as governor, according to some sources; died in office.
- Resigned in favor of Stephen Heard.
- Resigned to take elected seat in the United States Senate.
- As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
- Resigned due to declining health.
- Resigned to be agent to the Creek Indians.
- Resigned following the defeat of the Confederate States of America.
- Provisional governor appointed by President Andrew Johnson following the American Civil War.
- NGA says he left five days after Jenkins was installed.
- Removed from office by the military because he refused to allow state funds to be used for a racially integrated state constitutional convention; the state was still under military occupation during Reconstruction.
- Was he elected twice?
- NGA might say 17th?
- NGA might say June 28?
- Provisional governor appointed by General George Meade.
- NGA might say July 21?
- NGA says resigned Oct 23?
- Resigned and fled the state to avoid impeachment; he was arrested in 1876 and found not guilty of embezzlement.
- NGA says he took office 7 days after Bullock resigned?
- As president of the senate, acted as governor until special election.
- Elected in special election.
- Colquitt's first term was for four years, under the 1868 constitution; his second term was for two years under the 1877 constitution, which also shortened his second term by two months.
- The start of office was apparently moved from November to October during Northen's term.
- The start of a gubernatorial term has always been set by the legislature, rather than the constitution; it appears the start of the term changed from the last Saturday in October to the last Saturday in June, lengthening Terrell's second term by eight months.
- The start of the gubernatorial term changed from the last Saturday in June to the second Tuesday in January, shortening Russell's term by five months.
- Eugene Talmadge was elected to a third term in 1946, but died before taking office. Ellis Arnall, governor at the time, claimed the office, as did Lieutenant Governor Melvin Thompson. The state legislature chose Eugene Talmadge's son, Herman Talmadge, to be governor, but the state supreme court declared this unconstitutional and declared Thompson rightful governor, and Talmadge stepped down after 67 days. Talmadge later defeated Thompson in a special election.
- Represented the Democratic Party.
- Governor Deal's second term expires January 14, 2019. He is term limited.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia, as amended" (PDF). Secretary of State of Georgia. 1983. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia, as ratified". University of Georgia. 1983. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1976. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1945. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1877. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1868. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1865. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1861. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1798. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1789. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Constitution of the State of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1777. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "Rules and Regulations of the Colony of Georgia". University of Georgia. 1776. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
- "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
- "Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Georgia - January 2, 1788". The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Yazoo Land Fraud". Our Georgia History. Retrieved 2006-08-04.
- 1776 Const. art. I
- 1777 Const. art. II
- 1777 Const. art. XXIII
- 1777 Const. art. XXIX
- 1789 Const. art. 2, § 1
- 1798 Const. Amendment 4
- 1798 Const. Amendment 7
- 1865 Const. art III, § 1
- 1868 Const. art. IV, § 1
- 1877 Const. art. 5, § 1 par. 2
- GA Const. art V, § 1 par. 2
- 1945 Const. art. V, § 1 par. 7
- GA Const. art V, § 1 par 4
- GA Const. art. V, § 1 par 5
- President of Executive Council.
- The Troup party was essentially the continuation of the Jackson faction (followers of James Jackson).