List of governors of Mississippi

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Governor of Mississippi
Seal of Mississippi.svg
Tate Reeves 2019 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Tate Reeves

since January 14, 2020
Style
Status
ResidenceMississippi Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderDavid Holmes
FormationConstitution of Mississippi
SuccessionEvery four years, unless reelected
DeputyLieutenant Governor of Mississippi
Salary$122,160 (2013)[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

The governor of Mississippi is the head of state and head of government of Mississippi[2] and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[2] The Governor has a duty to enforce state laws,[3] and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Mississippi Legislature,[4] to convene the legislature at any time,[5] and, except in cases of treason or impeachment, to grant pardons and reprieves.[6]

To be elected governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of the United States for twenty years and a resident of Mississippi for at least five years at the time of inauguration.[7] The Constitution of Mississippi, ratified in 1890, calls for a four-year term for the governor, elected via the two-round system since a 2020 referendum. Prior to this, the governor was elected by an electoral college composed of the districts represented in the Mississippi House of Representatives, with a contingent election held in the House in the event no candidate received a majority of district electors. The governor may be reelected once (prior to a 1987 amendment to the state Constitution, governors were limited to one term).[2][8] The original Constitution of 1817 had only a two-year term for governor; this was expanded to four years in the 1868 Constitution.[9] The lieutenant governor is elected at the same time as the governor and serves as president of the Mississippi Senate.[10] When the office of governor becomes vacant for any reason, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term.[11]

The governor of Mississippi also appoints the members of the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.

History[edit]

Since Mississippi became a U.S. state, it has had 54 governors serving 64 distinct terms, including 50 Democrats, 7 Republicans and 7 from other parties. Democrats dominated after retaking control of the state legislature; they passed a Constitution in 1890 that disfranchised most African Americans, excluding them from the political system for nearly 70 years, effectively making it a one-party state. The state's longest-serving governor was John M. Stone, who served two terms over ten years (his second term was extended to six years by a transitional provision in the 1890 Constitution).[12] The shortest-serving governor was James Whitfield, who served 1+12 months from 1851 to 1852. 10 governors (David Holmes, Gerard Brandon, Charles Lynch, John A. Quitman, John J. Pettus, Adelbert Ames, John Marshall Stone, Theodore G. Bilbo, Dennis Murphree, and Hugh L. White) have served non-consecutive terms. The current governor is Republican Tate Reeves, who took office January 14, 2020.

Governors of the Territory of Mississippi (1798–1817)[edit]

Political parties

  Democratic-Republican   Federalist

# Governor Took office Left office Party
1 Winthrop Sargent.jpg   Winthrop Sargent
May 1, 1753 – June 3, 1820
(aged 67)
May 7, 1798 May 25, 1801 Federalist
2 William C C Claiborne rectangleLAState.jpg   William C. C. Claiborne
1773 or 1775 – December 18, 1817
(aged 42 or 44)
May 25, 1801 March 1, 1805 Democratic-Republican
3 Robert Williams (Mississippi Governor).jpg   Robert Williams
1770 – January 25, 1836
(aged 65 or 66)
March 1, 1805 March 7, 1809 Democratic-Republican
4 DavidHolmesMS.jpg   David Holmes
March 10, 1769 – August 20, 1832
(aged 63)
March 7, 1809 December 10, 1817 Democratic-Republican

Governors of the U.S. state of Mississippi (1817–present)[edit]

Political parties

  No party/Provisional   Democratic-Republican   Democratic   Republican   Union Democratic   Whig

# Governor Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Term Notes
1 DavidHolmesMS.jpg   David Holmes
March 10, 1769 – August 20, 1832
(aged 63)
December 10, 1817 January 5, 1820 Democratic-Republican   Duncan Stewart 1 [N 1]
2 GeorgePoindexter.jpg   George Poindexter
April 19, 1779 – September 5, 1853
(aged 74)
January 5, 1820 January 7, 1822 Democratic-Republican   James Patton 2
3 Walter Leake.jpg   Walter Leake
May 20, 1762 – November 6, 1825
(aged 63)
January 7, 1822 November 17, 1825 Democratic-Republican   David Dickson 3 [N 2]
  Gerard Brandon 4
4 Gerard Chittocque Brandon.jpg   Gerard Brandon
September 15, 1788 – March 28, 1850
(aged 61)
November 17, 1825 January 7, 1826 Democratic [N 3]
5 DavidHolmesMS.jpg   David Holmes
March 10, 1769 – August 20, 1832
(aged 63)
January 7, 1826 July 25, 1826 Democratic   Gerard Brandon 5 [N 4]
6 Gerard Chittocque Brandon.jpg   Gerard Brandon
September 15, 1788 – March 28, 1850
(aged 61)
July 25, 1826 January 9, 1832 Democratic
  Abram M. Scott 6
7
7 Abram M. Scott (Mississippi Governor).jpg   Abram M. Scott
March 13, 1785 – June 12, 1833
(aged 48)
January 9, 1832 July 12, 1833 National Republican Fountain Winston[N 5] 8 [N 2]
8 Charles Lynch - Gouverneur von Mississippi.jpg   Charles Lynch
August 8, 1783 – February 9, 1853
(aged 69)
July 12, 1833 November 20, 1833 National Republican [N 6]
9 Hiram G. Runnels (Mississippi Governor).jpg   Hiram Runnels
December 15, 1796 – December 17, 1857
(aged 61)
November 20, 1833 November 20, 1835 Democratic 9
10 John A Quitman.jpg   John A. Quitman
September 1, 1798 – July 17, 1858
(aged 59)
December 3, 1835 January 7, 1836 Whig [N 6]
11 Charles Lynch - Gouverneur von Mississippi.jpg   Charles Lynch
August 8, 1783 – February 9, 1853
(aged 69)
January 7, 1836 January 8, 1838 Whig 10
12 Alexander G. McNutt.jpg   Alexander G. McNutt
January 3, 1802 – October 22, 1848
(aged 46)
January 8, 1838 January 10, 1842 Democratic 11
12
13 Tilghman M. Tucker (Mississippi Governor).jpg   Tilghman Tucker
February 5, 1802 – April 3, 1859
(aged 57)
January 10, 1842 January 10, 1844 Democratic 13
14 Hon. Brown - NARA - 528693.jpg   Albert G. Brown
May 31, 1813 – June 12, 1880
(aged 67)
January 10, 1844 January 10, 1848 Democratic 14
15
15 Govmathews.jpg   Joseph W. Matthews
1812 – August 27, 1862
(aged 49 or 50)
January 10, 1848 January 10, 1850 Democratic 16
16 John A Quitman.jpg   John A. Quitman
September 1, 1798 – July 17, 1858
(aged 59)
January 10, 1850 February 3, 1851 Democratic 17 [N 7]
17 John Isaac Guion (Mississippi Governor).jpg   John Isaac Guion
November 18, 1802 – June 6, 1855
(aged 52)
February 3, 1851 November 4, 1851 Democratic [N 8]
18 James whitfield Gov.jpg   James Whitfield
December 15, 1791 – June 25, 1875
(aged 83)
November 24, 1851 January 10, 1852 Democratic [N 9]
19 HSFoote.jpg   Henry S. Foote
February 28, 1804 – May 19, 1880
(aged 76)
January 10, 1852 January 5, 1854 Union Democratic 18 [N 10]
20 John J. Pettus.jpg   John J. Pettus
October 9, 1813 – January 25, 1867
(aged 53)
January 5, 1854 January 10, 1854 Democratic [N 9]
21 John J. McRae portrait..jpg   John J. McRae
January 10, 1815 – May 31, 1868
(aged 53)
January 10, 1854 November 16, 1857 Democratic 19 [N 11]
20
22 William McWillie.jpg   William McWillie
November 17, 1795 – March 3, 1869
(aged 73)
November 16, 1857 November 21, 1859 Democratic 21
23 John J. Pettus.jpg   John J. Pettus
October 9, 1813 – January 25, 1867
(aged 53)
November 21, 1859 November 16, 1863 Democratic 22
23
24 Charles Clark.jpg   Charles Clark
May 24, 1811 – December 18, 1877
(aged 66)
November 16, 1863 May 22, 1865 Democratic 24 [N 12]
25 William L. Sharkey portrait..jpg   William L. Sharkey
July 12, 1798 – March 30, 1873
(aged 74)
June 13, 1865 October 16, 1865 Provisional [N 13][N 14]
26 BGHumphreys.jpg   Benjamin G. Humphreys
August 26, 1808 – December 20, 1882
(aged 74)
October 16, 1865 June 15, 1868 Democratic [N 15]
25
27 Gen. Adelbert Ames - NARA - 527085.jpg   Adelbert Ames
October 31, 1835 – April 13, 1933
(aged 97)
June 15, 1868 March 10, 1870 Military [N 13][N 16]
28 JLAlcorn.jpg   James L. Alcorn
November 4, 1816 – December 19, 1894
(aged 78)
March 10, 1870 November 30, 1871 Republican   Ridgley C. Powers 26 [N 17]
29 Ridgley Ceylon Powers.jpg   Ridgley C. Powers
December 24, 1836 – November 11, 1912
(aged 75)
November 30, 1871 January 4, 1874 Republican   Alexander K. Davis[N 18] [N 19]
30 Gen. Adelbert Ames - NARA - 527085.jpg   Adelbert Ames
October 31, 1835 – April 13, 1933
(aged 97)
January 4, 1874 March 29, 1876 Republican 27 [N 20]
31 John M. Stone (Mississippi Governor).jpg   John Marshall Stone
April 30, 1830 – March 26, 1900
(aged 69)
March 29, 1876 January 29, 1882 Democratic [N 21]
  William H. Sims 28
32 Governor Robert Lowry, Jan. 29, 1882 to Jan. 13, 1890 (14099807806).jpg   Robert Lowry
March 10, 1829 – January 19, 1910
(aged 80)
January 2, 1882 January 13, 1890 Democratic   G. D. Shands 29
30
33 John M. Stone (Mississippi Governor).jpg   John Marshall Stone
April 30, 1830 – March 26, 1900
(aged 69)
January 13, 1890 January 20, 1896 Democratic   M. M. Evans 31 [N 22]
34 AnselmJMcLaurin.jpg   Anselm J. McLaurin
March 26, 1848 – December 22, 1909
(aged 61)
January 20, 1896 January 16, 1900 Democratic   J. H. Jones 32
35 Andrew Longino.jpg   Andrew H. Longino
May 16, 1854 – February 24, 1942
(aged 87)
January 16, 1900 January 19, 1904 Democratic   James T. Harrison 33
36 James Kimble Vardaman.jpg   James K. Vardaman
July 26, 1861 – June 25, 1930
(aged 68)
January 19, 1904 January 21, 1908 Democratic   John Prentiss Carter 34
37 Edmond Noel.jpg   Edmond Noel
March 4, 1856 – July 30, 1927
(aged 71)
January 21, 1908 January 16, 1912 Democratic   Luther Manship 35
38 Earl Leroy Brewer.jpg   Earl L. Brewer
August 11, 1869 – March 10, 1942
(aged 72)
January 16, 1912 January 18, 1916 Democratic   Theodore G. Bilbo 36
39 Theodore Bilbo.jpg   Theodore G. Bilbo
October 13, 1877 – August 21, 1947
(aged 69)
January 18, 1916 January 18, 1920 Democratic   Lee M. Russell 37
40 Lee M. Russell.jpg   Lee M. Russell
November 16, 1875 – May 16, 1943
(aged 67)
January 18, 1920 January 18, 1924 Democratic   Homer H. Casteel 38
41 HL whitfield Gov.jpg   Henry L. Whitfield
June 20, 1868 – March 18, 1927
(aged 58)
January 22, 1924 March 18, 1927 Democratic   Dennis Murphree 39 [N 2]
42 Dennis Herron Murphree in 1927.jpg   Dennis Murphree
January 6, 1886 – February 9, 1949
(aged 63)
March 18, 1927 January 16, 1928 Democratic [N 19]
43 Theodore Bilbo.jpg   Theodore G. Bilbo
October 13, 1877 – August 21, 1947
(aged 69)
January 16, 1928 January 19, 1932 Democratic   Cayton B. Adam 40
44 Governor Martin S. Conner, Jan. 19, 1932 to Jan. 21, 1936 (14123298914).jpg   Martin Sennet Conner
August 31, 1891 – September 16, 1950
(aged 59)
January 19, 1932 January 21, 1936 Democratic   Dennis Murphree 41
45 Hugh L. White.jpg   Hugh L. White
August 19, 1881 – September 20, 1965
(aged 84)
January 21, 1936 January 16, 1940 Democratic   Jacob Buehler Snider 42
46 PBJohnson.jpg   Paul B. Johnson Sr.
March 23, 1880 – December 26, 1943
(aged 63)
January 16, 1940 December 26, 1943 Democratic   Dennis Murphree 43 [N 2]
47 Dennis Herron Murphree in 1927.jpg   Dennis Murphree
January 6, 1886 – February 9, 1949
(aged 63)
December 26, 1943 January 18, 1944 Democratic [N 19]
48 Governor Thomas L. Bailey, Jan. 18, 1944 to Nov. 2, 1946 (13936315729).jpg   Thomas L. Bailey
January 6, 1888 – November 2, 1946
(aged 58)
January 18, 1944 November 2, 1946 Democratic   Fielding L. Wright 44 [N 2]
49/50[N 23] Fielding L. Wright portrait.jpg   Fielding L. Wright
May 16, 1895 – May 4, 1956
(aged 60)
November 2, 1946 January 22, 1952 Democratic [N 24]
  Sam Lumpkin 45
51 Hugh L. White.jpg   Hugh L. White
August 19, 1881 – September 20, 1965
(aged 84)
January 22, 1952 January 17, 1956 Democratic   Carroll Gartin 46
52 Governor James P. Coleman, Jan. 17, 1956 to Jan. 19, 1960 (14143043313).jpg   James P. Coleman
January 9, 1914 – September 28, 1991
(aged 77)
January 17, 1956 January 19, 1960 Democratic 47
53 Former Gov. and Mrs. Ross Barnett at Paul Johnson's Inaugural Ball, Jan., '64..png   Ross Barnett
January 22, 1898 – November 6, 1987
(aged 89)
January 19, 1960 January 21, 1964 Democratic   Paul B. Johnson, Jr. 48
54 Paul B. Johnson Jr.jpg   Paul B. Johnson Jr.
January 23, 1916 – October 14, 1985
(aged 69)
January 21, 1964 January 16, 1968 Democratic   Carroll Gartin 49
55 Governor John Bell Williams, Jan. 16, 1968 to Jan. 18, 1972 (14122979895).jpg   John Bell Williams
December 4, 1918 – March 25, 1983
(aged 64)
January 16, 1968 January 18, 1972 Democratic   Charles L. Sullivan 50
56 Bill Waller official.jpg   Bill Waller
October 21, 1926 – November 30, 2011
(aged 85)
January 18, 1972 January 20, 1976 Democratic   William F. Winter 51
57 Cliff Finch.jpg   Cliff Finch
April 4, 1927 – April 22, 1986
(aged 59)
January 20, 1976 January 22, 1980 Democratic   Evelyn Gandy 52
58 Governor William F. Winter.png   William Winter
February 21, 1923 – December 18, 2020
(aged 97)
January 22, 1980 January 10, 1984 Democratic   Brad Dye 53
59 William Allain (1985) (cropped).png   William Allain
February 14, 1928 – December 2, 2013
(aged 85)
January 10, 1984 January 12, 1988 Democratic 54
60 Ray Mabus (MS).png   Ray Mabus
    (1948-10-11) October 11, 1948 (age 73)
January 12, 1988 January 14, 1992 Democratic 55
61 Kirk Fordice.jpg   Kirk Fordice
February 10, 1934 – September 7, 2004
(aged 70)
January 14, 1992 January 11, 2000 Republican   Eddie Briggs 56
  Ronnie Musgrove 57
62 David Ronald Musgrove.jpg   Ronnie Musgrove
    (1956-07-29) July 29, 1956 (age 65)
January 11, 2000 January 13, 2004 Democratic   Amy Tuck[N 25] 58
63 Haley Barbour (5449690313) (cropped).jpg   Haley Barbour
    (1947-10-22) October 22, 1947 (age 74)
January 13, 2004 January 10, 2012 Republican   59
  Phil Bryant 60
64 Secretary Perry with Govt Phil Bryant KSS2455 (32743097363) (cropped).jpg   Phil Bryant
    (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 67)
January 10, 2012 January 14, 2020 Republican   Tate Reeves 61
62
65 Tate Reeves 2019.jpg   Tate Reeves
    (1974-06-05) June 5, 1974 (age 47)
January 14, 2020 Incumbent[N 26] Republican   Delbert Hosemann 63

Succession[edit]

Other high offices held[edit]

This is a table of congressional, confederate, other governorships, and other federal offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Mississippi except where noted. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
William C. C. Claiborne 1801–1805 (territorial) U.S. Representative from Tennessee, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, Governor of Orleans Territory, Governor of Louisiana
Robert Williams 1805–1809 (territorial) U.S. Representative from North Carolina
David Holmes (politician) 1809–1820
1826
S U.S. Representative from Virginia
George Poindexter 1820–1822 H S Territorial Delegate, President pro tempore of the Senate
Walter Leake 1822–1825 S
John A. Quitman 1835–1836
1850–1851
H
Tilghman Tucker 1842–1844 H
Albert G. Brown 1844–1848 H S Confederate Senator
Henry S. Foote 1852–1854 S Confederate Representative from Tennessee
John J. McRae 1854–1857 H S Confederate Representative
William McWillie 1857–1859 H
Adelbert Ames 1868–1870
1874–1876
S
James L. Alcorn 1870–1871 S*
Anselm J. McLaurin 1896–1900 S
James K. Vardaman 1904–1908 S
Theodore G. Bilbo 1916–1920
1928–1932
S
Paul B. Johnson, Sr. 1940–1943 H
James P. Coleman 1956–1960 Fifth Circuit Court Judge
John Bell Williams 1968–1972 H
Ray Mabus 1988–1992 Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, United States Secretary of the Navy

Living former governors of Mississippi[edit]

As of December 2020, there are four living former Mississippi governors, the oldest Governor of Mississippi being Haley Barbour (served 2004–2012, born 1947). The most recent Governor of Mississippi to die was William Winter (served 1980–1984, born 1923) on December 18, 2020. The most recently serving governor of Mississippi to die was Kirk Fordice (served 1992–2000) on September 7, 2004.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Ray Mabus 1988–1992 (1948-10-11) October 11, 1948 (age 73)
Ronnie Musgrove 2000–2004 (1956-07-29) July 29, 1956 (age 65)
Haley Barbour 2004–2012 (1947-10-22) October 22, 1947 (age 74)
Phil Bryant 2012–2020 (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 67)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ David Holmes was inaugurated as the first state governor on October 7, 1817, but Mississippi did not officially become a state until December 10, 1817.
  2. ^ a b c d e Died in office.
  3. ^ As lieutenant governor, filled term until next election.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Resigned due to illness.
  5. ^ The 1832 constitution abolished the office of lieutenant governor; the office was reinstated in 1868.
  6. ^ a b As president of the state senate, filled term until next election.
  7. ^ Resigned following an arrest for violating neutrality laws by assisting with the liberation of Cuba. He was found not guilty, but the political fallout led to his resignation.
  8. ^ As president of the senate, filled term until his senate term expired.
  9. ^ a b As president of the senate, filled unexpired term.
  10. ^ Resigned due to political tension over secession.
  11. ^ A constitutional amendment passed during McRae's second term moved the gubernatorial inauguration date from January to the prior November, shortening his term by two months. The date was restored to January in the 1868 constitution.[13]
  12. ^ Charles Clark's term effective ended when he was arrested by Union forces.
  13. ^ a b Appointed by President Andrew Johnson following the end of the American Civil War.
  14. ^ Resigned.
  15. ^ Forced to resign and physically removed from office by federal forces[citation needed] after his government failed to comply with Reconstruction.
  16. ^ Left office as Reconstruction ended.
  17. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate; Alcorn's senate term began March 4, 1871 but he delayed taking it, preferring to continue as governor.
  18. ^ Impeached and removed from office.
  19. ^ a b c As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  20. ^ Impeached; made a deal with the legislature to resign, and all charges were dropped.
  21. ^ As president of the senate, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right; since both the governor and lieutenant governor had been impeached, with the governor resigning and lieutenant governor being removed from office, Stone was next in line for governor.
  22. ^ The 1890 electoral term was extended to six years under the 1890 constitution in order to facilitate changes in the executive department.[12]
  23. ^ Mississippi numbers Wright as the 49th governor, 1946–48 (His predecessor Thomas L. Bailey's term, which Wright completed) and the 50th governor, 1948–52 (Wright's elected term)
  24. ^ As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
  25. ^ Changed parties in 2002.
  26. ^ Reeves' first term expires on January 9, 2024.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c MS Const. art. V, § 116.
  3. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 123.
  4. ^ MS Const. art. IV, § 72.
  5. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 121.
  6. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 140-141.
  7. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 117.
  8. ^ "Haley Barbour: Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Governor of Mississippi: 2004-2008; 2008-2012 | Mississippi History Now". www.mshistorynow.mdah.ms.gov. Archived from the original on 2016-12-30.
  9. ^ MS Const. (1817) art. IV, § 1; MS Const. (1832) art. V, § 1; MS Const. (1868) art. V, § 1.
  10. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 128–129.
  11. ^ MS Const. art. V, § 131.
  12. ^ a b "John Marshall Stone Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
  13. ^ "John J. McRae Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved September 5, 2009.