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 This was quickly superseded by the 1777 constitution, which called for a governor to be chosen by the legislature each year, with a term limited to one year out of every three.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.
This is a table of congressional seats, other federal offices, and Confederate offices held by governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Georgia. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.
^Deal is officially the 82nd governor; other numbering is inferred from that.
^The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in 1945, first being filled in 1947.
^The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
^ abMany 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.
^ abA 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.
^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.
^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.
^ abcEugene 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.