Governor of North Carolina

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Governor of North Carolina
Seal of the Governor of North Carolina.svg
Pat McCrory July 2012.jpg
Pat McCrory

since January 5, 2013
StyleHis Excellency
ResidenceNorth Carolina Executive Mansion
Term lengthFour years, can succeed self once; eligible again after 4-year respite
Inaugural holderRichard Caswell
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Governor of North Carolina
Seal of the Governor of North Carolina.svg
Pat McCrory July 2012.jpg
Pat McCrory

since January 5, 2013
StyleHis Excellency
ResidenceNorth Carolina Executive Mansion
Term lengthFour years, can succeed self once; eligible again after 4-year respite
Inaugural holderRichard Caswell

The Governor of North Carolina is the chief executive of the U.S. state of North Carolina. The current governor is Pat McCrory.


Among other responsibilities, the governor heads the Council of State. The Governor of North Carolina was the last state chief executive to receive veto power; the Governor did not have this power until 1996. The Governor of North Carolina has extensive powers of appointment of executive branch officials, some judges, and members of boards and commissions. Nevertheless, the office has a lower-than-average amount of institutional power compared to governors in other states, according to a 2007 study.[1]


Originally, under the first North Carolina Constitution, the office was very weak, and was elected by the legislature (the North Carolina General Assembly) for a one-year term. Edward B. Dudley became the first governor elected by the people in 1836. Governors served two-year terms from 1836 until a new constitution was adopted in 1868; since then, all governors are elected for four-year terms.

Well into the twentieth century, the North Carolina state constitution made the state's governor one of the weakest in the nation.[2] Until an amendment was added to the state constitution in 1971, North Carolina Governors could only serve a single four-year term and could not run for re-election. After the amendment was passed, in 1980 James B. Hunt became the first governor in state history to be re-elected to a second term. Governors are still limited to only two consecutive four-year terms, but they may run for further non-consecutive terms. Governor Hunt did just that, winning election to a third and fourth term in 1992 and 1996 after being out of the office for the eight years between 1984 and 1992. The Lieutenant Governor is also limited to two consecutive four-year terms. North Carolina was also the last state in the Union to give its governors veto power over legislation, this was not added to the state constitution until a referendum in 1996.[3] Much of North Carolina's traditional resistance to strong executive power came from the harsh treatment the state suffered from British Royal Governors in the colonial period before the American Revolution. After the state gained its independence from Britain, the state constitution deliberately weakened the executive branch of state government and strengthened the legislative branch. Since the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s the overwhelming majority of the state's governors have been Democrats. The only Republican to be elected Governor between 1876 and 1972 was Daniel L. Russell, who served 1897–1901. As Republican strength grew in North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s the state's gubernatorial elections became increasingly competitive, and in 1972 James Holshouser became the state's first Republican governor of the twentieth century. Even so, Republicans have still had difficulty in winning gubernatorial elections in North Carolina, and the office has usually remained in Democratic hands.

The Governor lives in the North Carolina Executive Mansion, a Queen Anne style Victorian house in downtown Raleigh, which was completed in 1891.[4] His or her principal office is located in the North Carolina State Capitol.

List of Governors, 1776–present[edit]

Richard Caswell17761780No party
Abner Nash17801781No party
Thomas Burke17811782No party
Alexander Martin17821784No party
Richard Caswell17841787No party
Samuel Johnston17871789Federalist
Alexander Martin17891792Anti-Federalist
Richard Dobbs Spaight17921795Federalist
Samuel Ashe17951798Anti-Federalist
William Richardson Davie17981799Federalist
Benjamin Williams17991802Federalist
John Baptista Ashe[5]18021802Anti-Federalist
James Turner18021805Democratic-Republican
Nathaniel Alexander18051807Democratic-Republican
Benjamin Williams18071808Federalist
David Stone18081810Democratic-Republican
Benjamin Smith18101811Democratic-Republican
William Hawkins18111814Democratic-Republican
William Miller18141817Democratic-Republican
John Branch18171820Democratic-Republican
Jesse Franklin18201821Democratic-Republican
Gabriel Holmes18211824Democratic-Republican
Hutchins Gordon Burton18241827No party
James Iredell, Jr.18271828Democratic-Republican
John Owen18281830Democratic
Montfort Stokes18301832Democratic
David Lowry Swain18321835National Republican
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr.18351836Democratic
Edward Bishop Dudley18361841Whig
John Motley Morehead18411845Whig
William Alexander Graham18451849Whig
Charles Manly18491851Whig
David Settle Reid18511854Democratic
Warren Winslow18541855Democratic
Thomas Bragg18551859Democratic
John Willis Ellis18591861Democratic
Henry Toole Clark18611862Democratic
Zebulon Baird Vance18621865Conservative Party
William Woods Holden18651865National Union
Jonathan Worth18651868Conservative Party
William Woods Holden18681871Republican
Tod Robinson Caldwell18711874Republican
Curtis Hooks Brogden18741877Republican
Zebulon Baird Vance18771879Democratic
Thomas Jordan Jarvis18791885Democratic
Alfred Moore Scales18851889Democratic
Daniel Gould Fowle18891891Democratic
Thomas Michael Holt18911893Democratic
Elias Carr18931897Democratic
Daniel Lindsay Russell18971901Republican
Charles Brantley Aycock19011905Democratic
Robert Broadnax Glenn19051909Democratic
William Walton Kitchin19091913Democratic
Locke Craig19131917Democratic
Thomas Walter Bickett19171921Democratic
Cameron Morrison19211925Democratic
Angus Wilton McLean19251929Democratic
Oliver Max Gardner19291933Democratic
John C.B. Ehringhaus19331937Democratic
Clyde R. Hoey19371941Democratic
J. Melville Broughton19411945Democratic
R. Gregg Cherry19451949Democratic
W. Kerr Scott19491953Democratic
William B. Umstead19531954Democratic
Luther H. Hodges19541961Democratic
Terry Sanford19611965Democratic
Dan K. Moore19651969Democratic
Robert W. Scott19691973Democratic
James E. Holshouser, Jr.19731977Republican
James B. Hunt, Jr.19771985Democratic
James G. Martin19851993Republican
James B. Hunt, Jr.19932001Democratic
Mike Easley20012009Democratic
Beverly Perdue20092013Democratic
Pat McCrory2013 Republican


  1. ^
  2. ^ Charlotte Observer column by Jack Betts, September 2007
  3. ^
  4. ^ State Capitol / Visitor Services: North Carolina Office of Archives & History
  5. ^ Son of a previous governor, Samuel Ashe; elected by the legislature, but died before taking office.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]