List of governors of Iowa

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Governor of Iowa
Iowa-StateSeal.svg
Kim Reynolds by Gage Skidmore (2).jpg
Incumbent
Kim Reynolds

since May 24, 2017
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceTerrace Hill
Term lengthFour years, no term limits
PrecursorGovernor of Iowa Territory
Inaugural holderAnsel Briggs
FormationDecember 3, 1846
(175 years ago)
 (1846-12-03)
Salary$130,000 (2013)[1]
Websitegovernor.iowa.gov

The governor of Iowa is the head of government of the U.S. state of Iowa. The governor is the head of the executive branch of the state government[2] and is charged with enforcing state laws.[3] The officeholder has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Iowa General Assembly,[4] to convene the legislature,[5] as well as to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.[6] The Governor of Iowa is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[7]

There have been 41 individuals who held the position of Iowa governor, with two of those serving multiple distinct terms, Samuel J. Kirkwood and Terry Branstad. The current governor, Kim Reynolds, is the first woman to hold the position and was sworn in on May 24, 2017. The longest-serving is Terry Branstad, who served from 1983 to 1999 and then again from 2011 to 2017. He is the longest-serving governor in U.S. history, surpassing the previous record of 21 years set by George Clinton of New York. The shortest-serving was Robert D. Fulton, who served 16 days.

Governors of the Territory of Iowa[edit]

Iowa Territory was formed on July 4, 1838, from Wisconsin Territory. It had three governors appointed by the President of the United States. The first governor did not arrive for six weeks after the territory had been created; in the interim, territorial secretary William B. Conway acted as governor.[8]

Governors of the Territory of Iowa
No. Governor Term in office Appointed by
1 Robert lucas.jpg Robert Lucas
    April 1, 1781 – February 7, 1853   
(aged 71)
August 15, 1838

May 13, 1841[a]
Martin Van Buren
2 John-Chambers.jpg John Chambers
    October 6, 1780 – September 21, 1852   
(aged 71)
May 13, 1841[a]

November 18, 1845[b]
John Tyler
3 James Clarke, gov, editor.jpg James Clarke
    July 5, 1812 – July 28, 1850   
(aged 38)
November 18, 1845[b]

December 3, 1846[c]
James K. Polk

Governors of the State of Iowa[edit]

The southeast portion of Iowa Territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Iowa on December 28, 1846. The first Constitution of Iowa, adopted in 1846, created the office of governor with a four-year term,[11] with no specific start date. The 1857 constitution reduced this term to two years,[12] but an amendment in 1972 increased this back to four years.[13] The 1857 constitution also set the start of the term to the second Monday in the January following the election,[14] which was moved one day later by a 1988 amendment.[15]

The office of lieutenant governor was created in the 1857 constitution, elected for the same term as the governor.[16] An amendment in 1988 specified that the lieutenant governor would be elected on the same ticket as the governor.[17] If the office becomes vacant, it devolves upon the lieutenant governor for the remainder of the term or vacancy.[18] Prior to 1857, if the office became vacant, the Secretary of State of Iowa would act as governor.[19] There is no term limit on the number of terms a governor may serve.

Governors of the State of Iowa
No.[d] Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[e][f]
1 Ansel Briggs, First Governor of the State - History of Iowa.jpg   Ansel Briggs
    February 3, 1806 – May 5, 1881   
(aged 75)
December 3, 1846[c]

December 4, 1850
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1846 Office did not exist
2 StephenHempstead.jpg Stephen P. Hempstead
    October 1, 1812 – February 16, 1883   
(aged 70)
December 4, 1850

December 9, 1854
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1850
3 Hon. James W. Grimes, Iowa - NARA - 528410.jpg James W. Grimes
    October 20, 1816 – February 7, 1872   
(aged 55)
December 9, 1854

January 13, 1858
(not candidate for election)
Whig 1854[g]
4 Ralph P. Lowe, Governor of Iowa - History of Iowa.jpg Ralph P. Lowe
    November 27, 1805 – December 22, 1883   
(aged 78)
January 13, 1858

January 11, 1860
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1857[h]   Oran Faville
5 Samuel Jordan Kirkwood.jpg Samuel J. Kirkwood
    December 20, 1813 – September 1, 1894   
(aged 80)
January 11, 1860

January 14, 1864
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1859 Nicholas J. Rusch
1861 John R. Needham
6 Willstone.gif William M. Stone
    October 14, 1827 – July 18, 1893   
(aged 65)
January 14, 1864

January 16, 1868
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1863 Enoch W. Eastman
1865 Benjamin F. Gue
7 Samuelmerrill.jpg Samuel Merrill
    August 7, 1822 – August 31, 1899   
(aged 77)
January 16, 1868

January 11, 1872
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1867 John Scott
1869 Madison Miner Walden
(resigned 1871)[i]
Vacant
Henry C. Bulis
(appointed September 13, 1871)
8 Cyrus Clay Carpenter.jpg Cyrus C. Carpenter
    November 24, 1829 – May 29, 1898   
(aged 68)
January 11, 1872

January 13, 1876
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1871
1873 Joseph Dysart
9 Samuel Jordan Kirkwood.jpg Samuel J. Kirkwood
    December 20, 1813 – September 1, 1894   
(aged 80)
January 13, 1876

February 1, 1877
(resigned)[j]
Republican 1875 Joshua G. Newbold
10 Governor Newbold with signature.jpg Joshua G. Newbold
    May 12, 1830 – June 10, 1903   
(aged 73)
February 1, 1877

January 17, 1878
(not candidate for election)
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Henry Rothert (acting)
11 John Henry Gear - Senator.jpg John H. Gear
    April 7, 1825 – July 14, 1900   
(aged 75)
January 17, 1878

January 12, 1882
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1877 Frank T. Campbell
1879
12 Burensherman.jpg Buren R. Sherman
    May 28, 1836 – November 11, 1904   
(aged 68)
January 12, 1882

January 14, 1886
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1881 Orlando H. Manning
1883
13 GovernorLarrabee.jpg William Larrabee
    January 20, 1832 – November 16, 1912   
(aged 80)
January 14, 1886

February 27, 1890[k]
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1885 John A. T. Hull
1887
14 HBoies.png Horace Boies
    December 7, 1827 – April 4, 1923   
(aged 95)
February 27, 1890[k]

January 11, 1894
(lost election)
Democratic 1889 Alfred N. Poyneer[l]
1891 Samuel L. Bestow
15 Frankjackson.gif Frank D. Jackson
    January 26, 1854 – November 16, 1938   
(aged 84)
January 11, 1894

January 16, 1896
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1893 Warren S. Dungan
16 FrancisMDrake.jpg Francis M. Drake
    December 30, 1830 – November 20, 1903   
(aged 72)
January 16, 1896

January 13, 1898
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1895 Matt Parrott
17 Leslie Shaw, Bain photo portrait.jpg L. M. Shaw
    November 2, 1848 – March 28, 1932   
(aged 83)
January 13, 1898

January 16, 1902
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1897 James C. Milliman
1899
18 Albert Baird Cummins circa 1917.jpg Albert B. Cummins
    February 15, 1850 – July 30, 1926   
(aged 76)
January 16, 1902

November 24, 1908
(resigned)[m]
Republican 1901 John Herriott
1903[n]
1906 Warren Garst
19 Warren Garst.jpg Warren Garst
    December 4, 1850 – October 5, 1924   
(aged 73)
November 24, 1908

January 14, 1909
(successor took office)
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
20 Beryl F. Carroll.jpg Beryl F. Carroll
    March 15, 1860 – December 16, 1939   
(aged 79)
January 14, 1909

January 16, 1913
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1908 George W. Clarke
1910
21 Lieutenant Governor George W. Clarke.jpg George W. Clarke
    October 24, 1852 – November 28, 1936   
(aged 84)
January 16, 1913

January 11, 1917
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1912 William L. Harding
1914
22 William Lloyd Harding in 1915.jpg William L. Harding
    October 3, 1877 – December 17, 1934   
(aged 57)
January 11, 1917

January 13, 1921
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1916 Ernest Robert Moore
1918
23 Nathan E. Kendall.png Nathan E. Kendall
    March 17, 1868 – November 5, 1936   
(aged 68)
January 13, 1921

January 15, 1925
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1920 John Hammill
1922
24 John Hammill.png John Hammill
    October 14, 1875 – April 6, 1936   
(aged 60)
January 15, 1925

January 15, 1931
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1924 Clem F. Kimball
(died September 10, 1928)
1926
Vacant
Arch W. McFarlane
(appointed November 15, 1928)
1928
25 Dan W. Turner.png Dan W. Turner
    March 17, 1877 – April 15, 1969   
(aged 92)
January 15, 1931

January 12, 1933
(lost election)
Republican 1930
26 Clyde L. Herring, US Senator.jpg Clyde L. Herring
    May 3, 1879 – September 15, 1945   
(aged 66)
January 12, 1933

January 14, 1937
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1932 Nelson G. Kraschel
1934
27 Nelson G. Kraschel.png Nelson G. Kraschel
    October 27, 1889 – March 15, 1957   
(aged 67)
January 14, 1937

January 12, 1939
(lost election)
Democratic 1936 John K. Valentine
28 George Allison Wilson.jpg George A. Wilson
    April 1, 1884 – September 8, 1953   
(aged 69)
January 12, 1939

January 14, 1943
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1938 Bourke B. Hickenlooper
1940
29 Bourke B. Hickenlooper.jpg Bourke B. Hickenlooper
    July 21, 1896 – September 4, 1971   
(aged 75)
January 14, 1943

January 11, 1945
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1942 Robert D. Blue
30 Robert Blue - Official Portrait - 49th GA.jpg Robert D. Blue
    September 24, 1898 – December 14, 1989   
(aged 91)
January 11, 1945

January 13, 1949
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1944 Kenneth A. Evans
1946
31 Bill Beardsley.png William S. Beardsley
    May 13, 1901 – November 21, 1954   
(aged 53)
January 13, 1949

November 21, 1954
(died in office)
Republican 1948
1950 William H. Nicholas
1952 Leo Elthon
32 Leo Elthon.png Leo Elthon
    June 9, 1898 – April 16, 1967   
(aged 68)
November 21, 1954

January 13, 1955
(successor took office)
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
33 Leo Hoegh.png Leo Hoegh
    March 30, 1908 – July 15, 2000   
(aged 92)
January 13, 1955

January 17, 1957
(lost election)
Republican 1954 Leo Elthon
34 Herschel C. Loveless (cropped).jpg Herschel C. Loveless
    May 5, 1911 – May 4, 1989   
(aged 77)
January 17, 1957

January 12, 1961
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1956 William H. Nicholas[l]
1958 Edward Joseph McManus
35 Norman A. Erbe (cropped).jpg Norman A. Erbe
    October 25, 1919 – June 8, 2000   
(aged 80)
January 12, 1961

January 17, 1963
(lost election)
Republican 1960 W. L. Mooty[o]
36 Harold Hughes, US Senator.jpg Harold Hughes
    February 10, 1922 – October 23, 1996   
(aged 74)
January 17, 1963

January 1, 1969
(resigned)[p]
Democratic 1962
1964 Robert D. Fulton
1966
37 Robert D. Fulton.png Robert D. Fulton
    (1929-05-13) May 13, 1929 (age 93)
January 1, 1969

January 16, 1969
(successor took office)
Democratic Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
38 Robert D. Ray (IA).png Robert D. Ray
    September 26, 1928 – July 8, 2018   
(aged 89)
January 16, 1969

January 14, 1983
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1968 Roger Jepsen
1970
1972 Arthur Neu
1974[q]
1978 Terry Branstad
39 Terry Branstad attends recommissioning ceremony for USS Iowa, Apr 28, 1984.JPEG Terry Branstad
    (1946-11-17) November 17, 1946 (age 75)
January 14, 1983

January 15, 1999
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1982 Robert T. Anderson[o]
1986 Jo Ann Zimmerman[o]
1990 Joy Corning
1994
40 Tom Vilsack ChangeGov Press (cropped).jpg Tom Vilsack
    (1950-12-13) December 13, 1950 (age 71)
January 15, 1999

January 12, 2007
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1998 Sally Pederson
2002
41 Culver (5103113142) (cropped).jpg Chet Culver
    (1966-01-25) January 25, 1966 (age 56)
January 12, 2007

January 14, 2011
(lost election)
Democratic 2006 Patty Judge
42 Terry Branstad official photo.jpg Terry Branstad
    (1946-11-17) November 17, 1946 (age 75)
January 14, 2011

May 24, 2017
(resigned)[r]
Republican 2010 Kim Reynolds
2014
43 Kim Reynolds in Council Bluffs, Iowa 2020.jpg Kim Reynolds
    (1959-08-04) August 4, 1959 (age 63)
May 24, 2017

Incumbent[s]
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
Adam Gregg
(appointed May 25, 2017)[t]
2018

Succession[edit]

Living former governors of Iowa[edit]

As of 27 September 2022, four former U.S. governors of Iowa are currently living, the oldest being Robert D. Fulton (served 1969, born 1929). The most recent and most recently serving U.S. governor of Iowa to die was Robert D. Ray (served 1969–1983), on July 8, 2018.[26]

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Robert D. Fulton 1969 (1929-05-13) May 13, 1929 (age 93)
Terry Branstad 1983–1999, 2011–2017 (1946-11-17) November 17, 1946 (age 75)
Chet Culver 2007–2011 (1966-01-25) January 25, 1966 (age 56)
Tom Vilsack 1999–2007 (1950-12-13) December 13, 1950 (age 71)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chambers was appointed on March 25 to the position of territorial governor, to take office when sworn in. He arrived in the state on May 12 and took office the next day. Lucas was out of the capital at the time and did not formally resign his commission until June 17, per a letter written to U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster.[9]
  2. ^ a b Clark was appointed on November 18;[10] it is unknown what specific date he assumed office.
  3. ^ a b Briggs was sworn into office 25 days before the state was formally admitted.[21]
  4. ^ There is no official numbering, and different governors have interpreted it differently, depending on if they give a new number when a governor has multiple distinct terms in office.[20] This article includes numbering for every distinct term in office.
  5. ^ The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in the 1857 constitution.[16]
  6. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  7. ^ The election schedule changed with this term, switching to odd-numbered years and shortening the term by nearly a year.
  8. ^ First term under the 1857 constitution, which shortened terms to two years.[12]
  9. ^ No source appears to know which date Walden resigned, just that it was to take an elected seat in the United States House of Representatives for a term beginning March 4.
  10. ^ Kirkwood resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[22]
  11. ^ a b All sources state Boies was sworn in on February 27, 1890, with no explanation given for the delay; it appears from primary sources that the state legislature was deadlocked, performing over one hundred votes to name the speaker, and the certification of election results was delayed,[23] with Larrabee remaining in office until his successor was certified.
  12. ^ a b Represented the Republican Party
  13. ^ Cummins resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.
  14. ^ The election schedule changed with this term, switching to odd-numbered years and lengthening the term by nearly a year.
  15. ^ a b c Represented the Democratic Party
  16. ^ Hughes resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[24]
  17. ^ First term under a 1972 constitutional amendment which lengthened terms to four years.[13]
  18. ^ Branstad resigned to become United States Ambassador to China.[25]
  19. ^ Reynolds' first full term began on January 18, 2019, and will expire on January 10, 2023.
  20. ^ Gregg was appointed acting lieutenant governor by Reynolds but, while he had the full powers and salary of the office, he was not in the line of succession; he later won election to the post in the 2018 election.

References[edit]

General
  • "Former Iowa Governors". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 1.
  3. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 9.
  4. ^ IA Const. art III, § 16
  5. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 11.
  6. ^ IA Const., art. IV, § 16.
  7. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 7.
  8. ^ Shambaugh, Benjamin F., ed. (1903). The Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of Iowa. Vol. 1. Iowa City, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa. p. 208.
  9. ^ Executive Journal of Iowa 1838–1841, Governor Robert Lucas. State Historical Society of Iowa. 1906. pp. 277–279.
  10. ^ Benjamin F. Gue (1903). Iowa biography. Century History Company. p. 52.
  11. ^ 1846 Const. article V, § 2
  12. ^ a b IA Const. art. IV, § 2
  13. ^ a b IA Const. amendment 32
  14. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 15
  15. ^ IA Const. amendment 42
  16. ^ a b IA Const. art. IV, § 3
  17. ^ IA Const. amendment 41
  18. ^ IA Const. art. IV, § 17
  19. ^ 1846 Const. art V, § 18
  20. ^ "No 41st Governor for Iowa?". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). November 5, 2010. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  21. ^ Secretary Of State, Iowa (1951). Iowa Official Register – 1951–1952. p. 97.
  22. ^ "Samuel Jordan Kirkwood". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  23. ^ Journal of the House of the General Assembly of the State of Iowa. 1890. pp. 1–95. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  24. ^ "Harold Everett Hughes". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  25. ^ Pfannenstiel, Brianne (May 24, 2017). "Branstad resigns governorship, takes office as U.S. Ambassador to China". Des Moines Register. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  26. ^ Finney, Daniel P. "Bob Ray, beloved 5-term Iowa governor, dies at 89". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2022-02-23.

External links[edit]