List of Governors of Georgia

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Governor of Georgia
Seal of Georgia.svg
Seal of Georgia
Nathan Deal

since January 10, 2011
StyleHis Excellency
ResidenceGeorgia Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderWilliam Ewen
FormationGeorgia State Constitution
Salary$139,339 (2013)[1]
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Governor of Georgia
Seal of Georgia.svg
Seal of Georgia
Nathan Deal

since January 10, 2011
StyleHis Excellency
ResidenceGeorgia Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderWilliam Ewen
FormationGeorgia State Constitution
Salary$139,339 (2013)[1]

The Governor of Georgia is the head of the executive branch of Georgia's state government and the commander-in-chief of the U.S. state's military forces.

The current governor is Nathan Deal. Governor Deal is only the second governor of Georgia from the Republican Party since the Reconstruction era.


For the period before independence, see the list of colonial governors of Georgia.

Georgia was one of the original Thirteen Colonies and ratified the Constitution of the United States on January 2, 1788.[2] Before it declared its independence, Georgia was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain. Like most early states, Georgia had claims to western areas, but did not cede its claims during the formation of the country like the other states. It sold this area, the Yazoo Lands, to the federal government on April 24, 1802,[3] when it was assigned to Mississippi Territory.

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first constitution, the chief executive was a president chosen by the legislature every six months.[4] This was quickly superseded by the 1777 constitution, which called for a governor to be chosen by the legislature each year,[5] with a term limited to one year out of every three.[6] In the event of a vacancy, the president of the executive council acted as governor.[7] The governor's term was lengthened to two years in the 1789 constitution.[8] 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,[9] and an 1824 amendment provided for popular election of the governor.[10]

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.[11] The Reconstruction constitution of 1868 increased the governor's term to four years.[12] The 1877 constitution, after local rule was re-established, returned the office to the provisions of the 1865 constitution.[13] An amendment in 1941 lengthened terms to 4 years, but governors could no longer succeed themselves, having to wait four years to serve again.[14] The constitution does not specify when terms start, only that the governor is installed at the next session of the General Assembly.[15]

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.[16] 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,[17] 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.[18]


      No party       Military       Democratic-Republican       Democratic       Whig       Republican

Number of Governors of Georgia by party affiliation
No Party21
#[a]GovernorTerm startTerm endPartyLt. Governor[b]Terms[c]
1William EwenJune 22, 1775[19]December 11, 1775[20]None[d][e]
2George WaltonDecember 11, 1775February 20, 1776[21]None[d][e]
William EwenFebruary 20, 1776April 15, 1776[f]None[d][e][g]
3Archibald BullochApril 15, 1776[f]March 4, 1777None[h][i]
4Button GwinnettMarch 4, 1777May 8, 1777None[h][j]
5John A. TreutlenMay 8, 1777January 8, 1778[k]None
6John HoustounJanuary 8, 1778[k]January 7, 1779None
William GlascockJanuary 7, 1779July 24, 1779None[l]
7Seth John CuthbertJuly 24, 1779August 6, 1779None[l]
8John WereatAugust 6, 1779January 4, 1780None[m]
George WaltonNovember 4, 1779January 4, 1780None[m]
9Richard HowlyJanuary 4, 1780February 16, 1780None
10George Wells[disambiguation needed]??None[n]
11Humphrey Wells?February 16, 1780February 18, 1780None[o]
12Stephen Heard?[22]February 18 or May 24, 1780August 1780None
13Myrick Davies[22]August 1780August 18, 1781None
14Nathan BrownsonAugust 18, 1781January 3, 1782American WhigNone
15John MartinJanuary 3, 1782January 8, 1783None[23]None
16Lyman HallJanuary 8, 1783January 9, 1784None[23]None
17John HoustounJanuary 9, 1784January 6, 1785None[23]None
18Samuel ElbertJanuary 6, 1785January 9, 1786None[23]None
19Edward TelfairJanuary 9, 1786January 9, 1787None[23]None
20George MathewsJanuary 9, 1787January 26, 1788None[23]None
21George HandleyJanuary 26, 1788January 7, 1789None[23]None
George WaltonJanuary 7, 1789November 9, 1790Democratic-RepublicanNone
Edward TelfairNovember 9, 1790November 7, 1793Democratic-RepublicanNone
George MathewsNovember 7, 1793January 15, 1796Democratic-RepublicanNone
22Jared IrwinJanuary 15, 1796January 12, 1798Democratic-RepublicanNone
23James JacksonJanuary 12, 1798March 3, 1801Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[p]
24David EmanuelMarch 3, 1801November 7, 1801Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[q]
25Josiah Tattnall, Sr.November 7, 1801November 4, 1802Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[r]
26John MilledgeNovember 4, 1802September 23, 1806Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[p]
Jared IrwinSeptember 23, 1806November 10, 1809Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[q]
27David B. MitchellNovember 10, 1809November 5, 1813Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone
28Peter EarlyNovember 5, 1813November 20, 1815Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone
David B. MitchellNovember 20, 1815March 4, 1817Democratic-Republican, Jackson factionNone[s]
29William RabunMarch 4, 1817October 24, 1819Democratic-Republican, Troup faction[24]None[q][i]
30Matthew TalbotOctober 24, 1819November 5, 1819Democratic-Republican, Clark factionNone[q]
31John ClarkNovember 5, 1819November 7, 1823Democratic-Republican, Clark factionNone
32George M. TroupNovember 7, 1823November 7, 1827Democratic-Republican, Troup factionNone
33John ForsythNovember 7, 1827November 4, 1829Democratic-Republican, Troup factionNone
34George R. GilmerNovember 4, 1829November 9, 1831Democratic-Republican, Troup factionNone
35Wilson LumpkinNovember 9, 1831November 4, 1835Union (Democratic)None
36William SchleyNovember 4, 1835November 8, 1837Union (Democratic)None
George R. GilmerNovember 8, 1837November 6, 1839State Rights (Whig)None
37Charles J. McDonaldNovember 6, 1839November 8, 1843Union (Democratic)None
38George W. CrawfordNovember 8, 1843November 3, 1847WhigNone
39George W. TownsNovember 3, 1847November 5, 1851DemocraticNone
40Howell CobbNovember 5, 1851November 9, 1853Constitutional Union (Democratic)None
41Herschel V. JohnsonNovember 9, 1853November 6, 1857DemocraticNone
42Joseph E. BrownNovember 6, 1857June 17, 1865DemocraticNone3 12[t]
43James JohnsonJune 17, 1865December 14, 1865Democratic[citation needed]None12[u][v]
44Charles J. JenkinsDecember 14, 1865January 13, 1868DemocraticNone[w][x]
45Thomas H. RugerJanuary 13, 1868[y]July 4, 1868[z]MilitaryNone[aa]
46Rufus B. BullockJuly 4, 1868[ab]October 30, 1871[ac]RepublicanNone13[ad]
47Benjamin ConleyOctober 30, 1871[ae]January 12, 1872RepublicanNone13[af][citation needed]
48James M. SmithJanuary 12, 1872January 12, 1877DemocraticNone13+1[ag][citation needed]
49Alfred H. ColquittJanuary 12, 1877November 4, 1882DemocraticNone2[ah]
50Alexander H. StephensNovember 4, 1882March 4, 1883DemocraticNone13[i]
51James S. BoyntonMarch 4, 1883May 10, 1883DemocraticNone13[af]
52Henry D. McDanielMay 10, 1883November 9, 1886DemocraticNone13+1[ag]
53John B. GordonNovember 9, 1886November 8, 1890DemocraticNone2
54William J. NorthenNovember 8, 1890October 27, 1894DemocraticNone2[ai]
55William Y. AtkinsonOctober 27, 1894October 29, 1898DemocraticNone2
56Allen D. CandlerOctober 29, 1898October 25, 1902DemocraticNone2
57Joseph M. TerrellOctober 25, 1902June 29, 1907DemocraticNone2[aj]
58Hoke SmithJune 29, 1907June 26, 1909DemocraticNone1
59Joseph M. BrownJune 26, 1909July 1, 1911DemocraticNone1
Hoke SmithJuly 1, 1911November 16, 1911DemocraticNone13[p]
60John M. SlatonNovember 16, 1911January 25, 1912DemocraticNone13[af]
Joseph M. BrownJanuary 25, 1912June 28, 1913DemocraticNone13[ag]
John M. SlatonJune 28, 1913June 26, 1915DemocraticNone1
61Nathaniel E. HarrisJune 26, 1915June 30, 1917DemocraticNone1
62Hugh M. DorseyJune 30, 1917June 25, 1921DemocraticNone2
63Thomas W. HardwickJune 25, 1921June 30, 1923DemocraticNone1
64Clifford WalkerJune 30, 1923June 25, 1927DemocraticNone2
65Lamartine G. HardmanJune 25, 1927June 27, 1931DemocraticNone2
66Richard Russell, Jr.June 27, 1931January 10, 1933DemocraticNone1[ak]
67Eugene TalmadgeJanuary 10, 1933January 12, 1937DemocraticNone2
68Eurith D. RiversJanuary 12, 1937January 14, 1941DemocraticNone2
Eugene TalmadgeJanuary 14, 1941January 12, 1943DemocraticNone1
69Ellis ArnallJanuary 12, 1943January 14, 1947DemocraticNone1
70Herman TalmadgeJanuary 14, 1947March 18, 1947Democratic Melvin E. Thompson13[al]
71Melvin E. ThompsonMarch 18, 1947November 17, 1948DemocraticVacant13[al]
Herman TalmadgeNovember 17, 1948January 11, 1955DemocraticMarvin Griffin13+1[al]
72Marvin GriffinJanuary 11, 1955January 13, 1959DemocraticErnest Vandiver1
73Ernest VandiverJanuary 13, 1959January 15, 1963DemocraticGarland T. Byrd1
74Carl E. Sanders(1925-2014)January 15, 1963January 11, 1967DemocraticPeter Zack Geer1
75Lester Maddox(1915-2003)January 11, 1967January 12, 1971DemocraticGeorge Thornewell Smith1
76Jimmy Carter(1924- )January 12, 1971January 14, 1975DemocraticLester Maddox1
77George Busbee(1927-2004)January 14, 1975January 11, 1983DemocraticZell Miller2
78Joe Frank Harris(1936- )January 11, 1983January 14, 1991DemocraticZell Miller2
79Zell Miller(1932- )January 14, 1991January 11, 1999DemocraticPierre Howard2
80Roy Barnes(1948- )January 11, 1999January 13, 2003DemocraticMark Taylor1
81George E. "Sonny" Perdue(1946- )January 13, 2003January 10, 2011RepublicanMark Taylor[am]2
Casey Cagle
82 Nathan Deal(1942- )January 10, 2011IncumbentRepublican Casey Cagle2[an]

Other high offices held[edit]

This table lists congressional seats, other federal offices, and Confederate offices. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Georgia. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take.

GovernorGubernatorial termU.S. HouseU.S. SenateOther offices held
George Walton1775–1776
SContinental Delegate
Archibald Bulloch1776–1777Continental Delegate
Button Gwinnett1777Continental Delegate
John Houstoun1778–1779
Continental Delegate
Richard Howly1780Continental Delegate
Nathan Brownson1781–1782Continental Delegate
Lyman Hall1783–1784Continental Delegate
Samuel Elbert1785–1786Elected to the Continental Congress but declined to serve
Edward Telfair1786–1786
Continental Delegate
George Mathews1787–1788
James Jackson1798–1801HS*
Josiah Tattnall1801–1802S
John Milledge1802–1806HS*
Peter Early1813–1815H
George Troup1823–1827HS
John Forsyth1827–1829H†SMinister to Spain, U.S. Secretary of State[25]
George R. Gilmer1829–1831
Wilson Lumpkin1831–1835HS
William Schley1835–1837H
George W. Crawford1843–1847HU.S. Secretary of War
George W. Towns1847–1851H
Howell Cobb1851–1853HSpeaker of the House, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, President of the Provisional Confederate Congress
Herschel V. Johnson1853–1857SConfederate Senator
Joseph E. Brown1857–1865S
James Johnson1865H
James Milton Smith1872–1877Confederate Representative
Alfred H. Colquitt1877–1882HS
Alexander H. Stephens1882–1883HConfederate Representative, Vice President of the Confederate States of America; elected to the U.S. Senate but was refused his seat
John Brown Gordon1886–1890S
Allen D. Candler1898–1902H
Joseph M. Terrell1902–1907S
Hoke Smith1907–1909
S*U.S. Secretary of the Interior[26]
Thomas W. Hardwick1921–1923HS
Richard Russell, Jr.1931–1933SPresident pro tempore of the Senate
Herman Talmadge1947
Jimmy Carter1971–1975President of the United States
Zell Miller1991–1999S

Living former governors[edit]

As of November 2014, five former governors were alive, the oldest being Jimmy Carter (1971–1975, born 1924).

The former governor to die most recently was Carl Sanders (1963–1967), on November 16, 2014. The most recently serving governor to die was George Busbee (1975–1983), on July 16, 2004.

GovernorGubernatorial termDate of birth
Jimmy Carter1971–1975(1924-10-01) October 1, 1924 (age 90)
Joe Frank Harris1983–1991(1936-02-16) February 16, 1936 (age 78)
Zell Miller1991–1999(1932-02-24) February 24, 1932 (age 82)
Roy Barnes1999–2003(1948-03-11) March 11, 1948 (age 66)
George E. "Sonny" Perdue2003–2011(1946-12-20) December 20, 1946 (age 68)


  1. ^ Deal is officially the 82nd governor; other numbering is inferred from that.[1]
  2. ^ The office of Lieutenant Governor was created in 1945, first being filled in 1947.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c President of Council of Safety.
  5. ^ a b c There were no terms for the Council of Safety, the state being at war.[citation needed]
  6. ^ a b The Council of Safety voted Bulloch as president and commander-in-chief on April 15, [2] but did not send a 'letter of congratulation' until May 1.[3]
  7. ^ As president pro tempore of the Council of Safety, acted as president in the absence of elected president Elisha Butler, whom never arrived.[4]
  8. ^ a b President.
  9. ^ a b c Died in office.
  10. ^ Was speaker of the Provincial Congress, and was selected by the Council of Safety to succeed Bulloch.[5]
  11. ^ a b Most sources say January 8;[6] [7] [8] [9] some say January 10 [10] [11]
  12. ^ a b Many 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.[12] 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.[13]
  13. ^ a b A schism emerged in late 1779 with competing executive councils, each of which elected a president, John Wereat and George Walton.[14][15] The official list, however, lists both.
  14. ^ Reportedly was or acted as governor, according to some sources; died in office.
  15. ^ Resigned in favor of Stephen Heard.
  16. ^ a b c Resigned to take elected seat in the United States Senate.
  17. ^ a b c d As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
  18. ^ Resigned due to declining health.
  19. ^ Resigned to be agent to the Creek Indians.
  20. ^ Resigned following the defeat of the Confederate States of America.
  21. ^ Provisional governor appointed by President Andrew Johnson following the American Civil War.
  22. ^ NGA says he left five days after Jenkins was installed.[citation needed]
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Was he elected twice?[citation needed]
  25. ^ NGA might say 17th?[citation needed]
  26. ^ NGA might say June 28?[citation needed]
  27. ^ Provisional governor appointed by General George Meade.
  28. ^ NGA might say July 21?[citation needed]
  29. ^ NGA says resigned Oct 23?[citation needed]
  30. ^ Resigned and fled the state to avoid impeachment; he was arrested in 1876 and found not guilty of embezzlement.
  31. ^ NGA says he took office 7 days after Bullock resigned?[citation needed]
  32. ^ a b c As president of the senate, acted as governor until special election.
  33. ^ a b c Elected in special election.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ The start of office was apparently moved from November to October during Northen's term.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ 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.[16]
  38. ^ a b c Eugene 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.
  39. ^ Represented the Democratic Party.
  40. ^ Governor Deal's second expires January 14, 2019. He is term limited.


  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Ratification of the Constitution by the State of Georgia - January 2, 1788". The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Retrieved January 9, 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Yazoo Land Fraud". Our Georgia History. Retrieved 2006-08-04. 
  4. ^ 1776 Const. art. I
  5. ^ 1777 Const. art. II
  6. ^ 1777 Const. art. XXIII
  7. ^ 1777 Const. art. XXIX
  8. ^ 1789 Const. art. 2, § 1
  9. ^ 1798 Const. Amendment 4
  10. ^ 1798 Const. Amendment 7
  11. ^ 1865 Const. art III, § 1
  12. ^ 1868 Const. art. IV, § 1
  13. ^ 1877 Const. art. 5, § 1 par. 2
  14. ^ [17]
  15. ^ GA Const. art V, § 1 par. 2
  16. ^ 1945 Const. art. V, § 1 par. 7
  17. ^ GA Const. art V, § 1 par 4
  18. ^ GA Const. art. V, § 1 par 5
  19. ^ [18]
  20. ^ [19]
  21. ^ [20]
  22. ^ a b President of Executive Council.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g [21]
  24. ^ The Troup party was essentially the continuation of the Jackson faction (followers of James Jackson).
  25. ^ [22]
  26. ^ [23]