Lieutenant Governor of Indiana

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Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
Sue Ellspermann

since January 14, 2013
Term length4 years
(term limited to serving no more than eight years in any twelve-year period)
Inaugural holderChristopher Harrison
November 7, 1816
FormationConstitution of Indiana
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Lieutenant Governor of Indiana
Sue Ellspermann

since January 14, 2013
Term length4 years
(term limited to serving no more than eight years in any twelve-year period)
Inaugural holderChristopher Harrison
November 7, 1816
FormationConstitution of Indiana

The Lieutenant Governor of Indiana is a constitutional office in the US State of Indiana. Republican Sue Ellspermann, who assumed office in January 2013, is the incumbent. The office holder's constitutional roles are to serve as President of the Indiana Senate, become acting governor during the incapacity of the governor, and became governor should the incumbent governor resign, die in office, or be impeached and removed from office. Lieutenant governors have succeeded ten governors following their deaths or resignations. The lieutenant governor holds statutory positions, serving as the head of the state agricultural and rural affairs bureaus, and as the chairman of several state committees. The annual salary of the lieutenant governor of Indiana is $76,000.

The lieutenant governor is elected on the same election ticket as the Governor in a statewide election held every four years, concurrent with United States presidential elections. Should a lieutenant governor die while in office, resign, or succeed to the governorship, the constitution specifies no mechanism by which to fill vacancies in the lieutenant governor's office. Historically, the position has generally remained vacant during such events. The last attempt to fill such a vacancy in 1887 led to the outbreak of violence in the state legislature known as the Black Day of the General Assembly.


The position of lieutenant governor was created with the adoption of the first Constitution of Indiana in August 1816. The position was filled by an October election. The position was retained and the current requirements established in the state's second and current constitution adopted in 1851.[1]

To become lieutenant governor of Indiana, a candidate must have been a United States citizen and lived within Indiana for the period of five consecutive years before the election. The candidate must also be at least thirty years old when sworn into office. The lieutenant governor may not hold any federal office during his term, and must resign from any such position before being eligible to be sworn in as lieutenant governor. Before taking the office, the candidate must swear an oath of office administered by the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, promising to uphold the constitution and laws of Indiana.[2]


Jesse D. Bright, Lieutenant Governor and US Senator from Indiana; he was exiled from the United States during the American Civil War
Oliver P. Morton, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and US Senator from Indiana

The lieutenant governor of Indiana serves as acting governor when the governor becomes incapacitated. In the state's early history, lieutenant governors would serve as acting governor while the governor was away from the capital. Christopher Harrison was the first lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor while Jonathan Jennings negotiated treaties far from the capital.[3]

If the governor dies in office, becomes permanently incapacitated, resigns, or is impeached, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[4] In total, ten lieutenant governors become governor by succession.[5] The first occurrence was when Jonathan Jennings resigned to become a congressman and was succeeded by Ratliff Boon.[6]

In the event that both the governorship and lieutenant-governorship are vacant, the constitution stipulates that the Senate President pro tempore becomes governor.[7] Historically, governors appointed the pro tempore to serve as acting lieutenant governor as a formality. This practice ended in the early twentieth century.[8] Although the constitution did not specify a method to fill a vacancy in the lieutenant governorship, an attempt to fill a vacancy occurred in 1887. When the winner of the election attempted to be seated, the Senate erupted into violence known as the Black Day of the General Assembly; the lieutenant governor-elect was sworn in but never seated.[9]

Should the lieutenant governorship become vacant for any reason, including death, resignation, or succession, the governor may nominate a replacement who must be approved by both houses of the General Assembly.[7]



Indiana Statehouse, location of the Lieutenant Governor's office.

The lieutenant governor has two constitutional functions. The primary function is to serve as the President of the Indiana Senate. In the Senate the lieutenant governor is permitted to debate on legislation, introduce legislation, and vote on matters to break ties. As presiding officer in the Senate, lieutenant governors also have partial control over what legislation will be considered, and influence on the legislative calendar. Unless a special session is called by the governor, the Senate meets for no more than 91 days in any two years period, leaving the lieutenant governor free from his or her senatorial duties in the remainder of the year.[10]

The secondary function is to serve as a successor to the governorship should it become vacant, or act as governor if necessary. If a lieutenant governor should succeed to the governorship, the office of lieutenant governor and President of the Senate become vacant; the duties are taken over by the Senate President pro tempore.[10]


The majority of the powers exercised by the lieutenant governor are statutory and have been assigned by the Indiana General Assembly. The first additional powers granted to the lieutenant governor were added in 1932 when the office holder was made the head of the state's agricultural commission. The office's powers have since expanded to include the chairmanship of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Energy and Defense Development, and the Office of Tourism Development.[10] As head of the various office and committees, the lieutenant governor controls many patronage positions and is permitted to fill them by appointment. Important positions filled by the lieutenant governor include the members of the Corn Marketing Council, the Main Street Council, Steel Advisory Commission, and the Indiana Film Commission.[11]

In addition to the chairmanship of the committees, the lieutenant governor is also a participating member of the Natural Resources Committee, State Office Building Commission, Air Pollution Control Board, Water Pollution Control Board, and Solid Waste Management Board.[11]

The annual salary of the lieutenant governor of Indiana is set by the Indiana General Assembly and was $76,000 in 2007.[12][13]

List of Lieutenant Governors[edit]

There have been forty-nine Lieutenant Governors of Indiana since Indiana became a state in 1816.

      Democratic-Republican       Democratic       Whig       Republican       Independent

# NameTook officeLeft officePartyGovernorNotes
1 Christopher HarrisonNovember 7, 1816December 17, 1818Democratic-RepublicanJonathan Jennings[N 1][N 2][N 3]
2 Ratliff BoonDecember 8, 1819September 12, 1822Democratic-RepublicanJonathan Jennings[N 2][N 4]
3 Ratliff BoonSeptember 12, 1822January 30, 1824Democratic-RepublicanWilliam Hendricks[N 2][N 4]
4 John H. ThompsonJanuary 30, 1824December 3, 1828Democratic-RepublicanWilliam Hendricks[N 5]
5Milton StappDecember 3, 1828December 7, 1831IndependentJames B. Ray
6 David WallaceDecember 7, 1831December 6, 1837WhigNoah Noble
7 David HillisDecember 6, 1837December 9, 1840WhigDavid Wallace
8 Samuel HallDecember 9, 1840December 6, 1843WhigSamuel Bigger
9 Jesse D. BrightDecember 6, 1843March 4, 1845DemocratJames Whitcomb[N 2][N 6][N 7]
10 Paris C. DunningDecember 9, 1846December 26, 1848DemocratJames Whitcomb[N 4][N 8]
11 James Henry LaneDecember 5, 1849January 10, 1853DemocratJoseph A. Wright
12 Ashbel P. WillardJanuary 10, 1853January 12, 1857DemocratJoseph A. Wright
13 Abram A. HammondJanuary 12, 1857October 3, 1860DemocratAshbel P. Willard[N 4][N 9]
14 Oliver P. MortonJanuary 14, 1861January 16, 1861RepublicanHenry Smith Lane[N 4]
 John R. CravensJanuary 16, 1861October 9, 1863RepublicanOliver P. Mortonacting[N 10]
 Paris C. DunningOctober 9, 1863January 9, 1865DemocratOliver P. Mortonacting[N 11]
15 Conrad BakerJanuary 9, 1865January 23, 1867RepublicanOliver P. Morton[N 4][N 1]
16 William CumbackJanuary 11, 1869January 13, 1873RepublicanConrad Baker[N 2][N 12][N 13]
17 Leonidas SextonJanuary 13, 1873January 13, 1877RepublicanThomas A. Hendricks
18 Isaac P. GrayJanuary 13, 1877November 2, 1880DemocratJames D. Williams[N 4]
 Fredrick ViecheNovember 20, 1880January 8, 1881DemocratIsaac P. Grayacting[N 14]
19 Thomas HannaJanuary 10, 1881January 12, 1885RepublicanAlbert G. Porter
20 Mahlon Dickerson MansonJanuary 12, 1885August 3, 1886DemocratIsaac P. Gray[N 2]
21 Robert S. RobertsonJanuary 10, 1887January 13, 1889RepublicanIsaac P. Gray
 Alonzo G. SmithNovember 8, 1886January 14, 1889DemocratIsaac P. Grayacting[N 15]
22 Ira Joy ChaseJanuary 14, 1889November 24, 1891RepublicanAlvin Peterson Hoveyacting[N 4][N 16]
 Francis M. GriffithNovember 23, 1891January 9, 1893RepublicanIra Joy Chaseacting[N 17]
23 Mortimer NyeJanuary 9, 1893January 11, 1897DemocratClaude Matthews
24 William S. HaggardJanuary 11, 1897January 14, 1901RepublicanJames A. Mount
25 Newton W. GilbertJanuary 14, 1901January 9, 1905RepublicanWinfield T. Durbin
26 Hugh Thomas MillerJanuary 9, 1905January 11, 1909RepublicanFrank Hanly
27 Frank J. HallJanuary 11, 1909January 13, 1913DemocratThomas R. Marshall
28 William P. O'NeillJanuary 13, 1913January 8, 1917DemocratSamuel M. Ralston
29 Edgar D. BushJanuary 8, 1917January 10, 1921RepublicanJames P. Goodrich
30 Emmett Forrest BranchJanuary 10, 1921April 30, 1924RepublicanWarren T. McCray[N 4]
 James J. NejdlApril 30, 1924January 12, 1925RepublicanWarren T. McCrayacting[N 18]
31 F. Harold Van OrmanJanuary 12, 1925January 14, 1929RepublicanEdward L. Jackson
32 Edgar D. BushJanuary 14, 1929January 9, 1933RepublicanHarry G. Leslie
33 M. Clifford TownsendJanuary 9, 1933January 11, 1937DemocratPaul V. McNutt
34 Henry F. SchrickerJanuary 11, 1937January 13, 1941DemocratM. Clifford Townsend
35 Charles M. DawsonJanuary 13, 1941January 8, 1945DemocratHenry F. Schricker
36 Richard T. JamesJanuary 8, 1945January 10, 1948RepublicanRalph F. Gates
37 Rue J. AlexanderApril 14, 1948January 2, 1949RepublicanHenry F. Schricker[N 2]
38 John A. WatkinsJanuary 10, 1949January 12, 1953DemocratHenry F. Schricker
39 Harold W. HandleyJanuary 12, 1953January 14, 1957RepublicanGeorge N. Craig
40 Crawford F. ParkerJanuary 14, 1957January 9, 1961RepublicanHarold W. Handley
41 Richard O. RistineJanuary 9, 1961January 11, 1965RepublicanMatthew E. Welsh
42 Robert L. RockJanuary 11, 1965January 13, 1969DemocratRoger D. Branigin
43 Richard E. FolzJanuary 13, 1969January 8, 1973RepublicanEdgar Whitcomb
44 Robert D. OrrJanuary 8, 1973January 12, 1981RepublicanOtis R. Bowen
45 John MutzJanuary 12, 1981January 9, 1989RepublicanRobert D. Orr
46 Frank O'BannonJanuary 9, 1989January 13, 1997DemocratEvan Bayh
47 Joe E. KernanJanuary 13, 1997September 13, 2003DemocratFrank O'Bannon[N 1][N 4]
48 Kathy DavisOctober 20, 2003January 10, 2005DemocratJoe E. Kernan
49 Becky SkillmanJanuary 10, 2005January 14, 2013RepublicanMitch Daniels
50Sue EllspermannJanuary 14, 2013IncumbentRepublicanMike Pence

Living former lieutenant governors[edit]

As of August 2014, four former lieutenant governors were alive, the oldest being John Mutz (1981–1989, born 1935). The most recent death of a former lieutenant governor was that of Robert L. Rock (1965–1969), on January 9, 2013.

Lt. GovernorLt. Gubernatorial termDate of birth
John Mutz1981–1989(1935-11-05) November 5, 1935 (age 78)
Joseph E. Kernan1997–2003(1946-04-08) April 8, 1946 (age 68)
Katherine "Kathy" Davis2003–2005(1956-06-24) June 24, 1956 (age 58)
Becky Skillman2005–2013(1950-09-26) September 26, 1950 (age 64)


  1. ^ a b c Was acting Governor
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Resigned from office
  3. ^ James Beggs was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Christopher Harrison. He held the position until the election of Ratliff Boon (Funk, p. 206)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Was elevated to Governor during his term
  5. ^ Served two terms
  6. ^ Became a United States Senator
  7. ^ Godlove S. Orth, a Whig, was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jesse B. Bright. He held the position until the election of Paris Dunning (Funk, p. 206)
  8. ^ James G. Read was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Paris Dunning to the governorship. He held the position until the election of James Lane (Funk, p. 206)
  9. ^ The Senate did not elect a Senate President pro tempore following Hammond's succession as governor and the position remained vacant until the election of Oliver Morton (Funk, p. 206)
  10. ^ After Morton's elevation to Governor, John R. Cravens served as acting lieutenant governor from 1861 to 1863(Funk, p. 206)
  11. ^ After the resignation of John R. Cravens, Paris C. Dunning served as acting lieutenant governor from 1863 to 1865 (Funk, p. 206)
  12. ^ After Bakers elevation to the governorship William Cumback served as acting lieutenant governor until his election in 1869
  13. ^ George W. Finley served as acting lieutenant governor following the resignation of William Cumback until the election of Leonidas Sexton. (Funk, p. 206)
  14. ^ Fredrick Vieche served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Isaac Gray to the governorship until the election of Thomas Hanna.
  15. ^ At the general election in November 1886 both parties entered candidates to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mahlon Manson. Robert S. Robertston, Republican, was elected and sworn into office on January 10, 1886. The Democrat-controlled Senate refused to seat him, declaring that the seat was not vacant and the election was invalid. The Senate then elected Alonzo G. Smith to serve as acting lieutenant governor until the election of Ira Chase. The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the senate to seat Robertson, but violence broke out when he attempted to enter the chamber, preventing him from ever taking office. (Funk, p 204)
  16. ^ Francis M. Griffin served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Ira Chase to the governorship, he served until the election of Mortimer Nye.
  17. ^ Francis M. Griffin served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Ira Chase to the governorship, he served until the election of Mortimer Nye. (Funk, p. 204)
  18. ^ James J. Nejdl served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Emmett Branch to the governorship until the election of Harold Van Orman.


  1. ^ Gugin, p. 10
  2. ^ Constitution of Indiana, 5-7
  3. ^ Gugin, p. 47
  4. ^ Constitution of Indiana, 5-10(b)
  5. ^ Gugin, p. 12
  6. ^ Gugin, p. 49
  7. ^ a b Constitution of Indiana, 5-10(c)
  8. ^ Gugin, p. 14
  9. ^ Gugin, pp. 176–177
  10. ^ a b c Indiana Chamber, p. 13
  11. ^ a b Indiana Chamber, p. 14
  12. ^ Indiana Chamber, p. 12
  13. ^ "Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency". State of Indiana. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 


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