List of Governors of Texas

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Governor of Texas
Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Rick Perry

since December 21, 2000
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceTexas Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, no term limits
Inaugural holderJames Pinckney Henderson
FormationTexas Constitution
WebsiteOffice of the Governor
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Governor of Texas
Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Rick Perry

since December 21, 2000
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceTexas Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, no term limits
Inaugural holderJames Pinckney Henderson
FormationTexas Constitution
WebsiteOffice of the Governor

The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons in cases other than impeachment (but only when recommended by the Board of Pardons and Paroles) or in the case of treason, with permission by the legislature.

Compared to the governors of other U.S. states, the governorship of Texas has been cited by Slate magazine and liberal commentator Molly Ivins as a fairly weak office.[1][2] In some respects it is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, who presides over the state Senate, who is a more powerful political figure able to exercise greater personal prerogatives.[1][2] Current Governor Rick Perry held the Lt. Governorship from 1999–2000 under George W. Bush.

The state's first constitution in 1845 established the office of governor, to serve for two years, but no more than four years out of every six (essentially a limit of no more than two consecutive terms).[3] The 1861 secessionist constitution set the term start date at the first Monday in the November following the election.[4] The 1866 constitution, adopted just after the American Civil War, increased terms to four years, but no more than eight years out of every twelve, and moved the start date to the first Thursday after the organization of the legislature, or "as soon thereafter as practicable".[5] The Reconstruction constitution of 1869 removed the limit on terms,[6] and to this day, Texas is one of 14 states[7] with no gubernatorial term limit. The present constitution of 1876 shortened terms back to two years,[8] but a 1972 amendment increased it back to four years.[9]

The Governor is sworn-in on the third Tuesday of January every four years along with the Lieutenant Governor, so Perry and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst both began new terms on January 18, 2011, which ends on January 20, 2015. Perry announced on July 8, 2013, that he will not seek re-election to a fourth full term in the upcoming 2014 elections, so his third full term as Governor will end on January 20, 2015.

Despite the lack of term limits, no Texas governor in the 19th or 20th century ever served more than seven and a half consecutive years in office (Allan Shivers) or eight years total service (Bill Clements, in two non-consecutive four-year terms). Current Governor Rick Perry, who took office in December 2000, has now surpassed both records. Perry joins Shivers, Price Daniel, and John Connally as the fourth Texas governor to serve three terms.

In case of a vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[10] This was added only in a 1999 amendment, prior to which the lieutenant governor only acted as governor, except during the time of the 1861 constitution, which said that the lieutenant governor would be "styled Governor of the State of Texas" in case of vacancy.[11] The Governor and first family reside in the Texas Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas.

Governors of Spanish Texas[edit]

See: List of Texas Governors and Presidents

Governors of Mexican Texas[edit]

See: List of Texas Governors and Presidents

Presidents of the Republic of Texas[edit]

See: President of the Republic of Texas#List of presidents and vice presidents

Governors of Texas[edit]

Number of Governors of Texas by party affiliation
#NamePictureTook officeLeft officePartyLt. GovernorNotes[12]
1James Pinckney HendersonJames Pinckney Henderson-p.jpgFebruary 19, 1846December 21, 1847DemocraticAlbert Clinton Horton
2George T. WoodGeorge wood.pngDecember 21, 1847December 21, 1849DemocraticJohn Alexander Greer
3Peter Hansborough BellPeter bell.pngDecember 21, 1849November 23, 1853DemocraticJohn Alexander Greer (1849–51)[13]
James W. Henderson (1851–53)
4James W. HendersonJames w henderson.pngNovember 23, 1853December 21, 1853DemocraticVacant[14]
5Elisha M. PeaseElisha pease.pngDecember 21, 1853December 21, 1857UnionistDavid Catchings Dickson (1853–55)
Hardin Richard Runnels (1855–57)
6Hardin R. RunnelsHardin runnels.pngDecember 21, 1857December 21, 1859DemocraticFrancis R. Lubbock
7Sam HoustonThomas Flintoff - Sam Houston - Google Art Project.jpgDecember 21, 1859March 18, 1861IndependentEdward Clark[15]
8Edward ClarkEdward clark.pngMarch 18, 1861November 7, 1861DemocraticVacant[14]
9Francis R. LubbockFrancis lubbock.jpgNovember 7, 1861November 5, 1863DemocraticJohn McClannahan Crockett
10Pendleton MurrahPendleton murrah.jpgNovember 5, 1863June 17, 1865DemocraticFletcher Summerfield Stockdale[16]
Fletcher Summerfield StockdaleFLETCHER STOCKDALE.PNGJune 11, 1865June 16, 1865MilitaryVacant[17]
11Andrew J. HamiltonGovernor Hamilton.jpgJune 17, 1865August 9, 1866Democratic-MilitaryVacant[18]
12James W. ThrockmortonJames W. Throckmorton - Brady-Handy.jpgAugust 9, 1866August 8, 1867DemocraticGeorge Washington Jones[19]
13Elisha M. PeaseElisha pease.pngJune 8, 1867September 30, 1869RepublicanVacant[19][20]
14Edmund J. DavisEdmund Davis.jpgJanuary 8, 1870January 15, 1874RepublicanVacant[21]
15Richard CokeRichard Coke - Brady-Handy.jpgJanuary 15, 1874December 21, 1876DemocraticRichard Bennett Hubbard, Jr.[22]
16Richard B. HubbardRichard hubbard.jpgDecember 21, 1876January 21, 1879DemocraticVacant[14]
17Oran M. RobertsOran roberts.jpgJanuary 21, 1879January 16, 1883DemocraticJoseph Draper Sayers (1879–81)
Leonidas Jefferson Storey (1881–83)
18John IrelandJohn ireland.jpgJanuary 16, 1883January 20, 1887DemocraticFrancis Marion Martin (1883–85)
Barnett Gibbs (1885–87)
19Lawrence Sullivan RossLawrence Sullivan Ross.jpgJanuary 18, 1887January 20, 1891DemocraticThomas Benton Wheeler
20James Stephen HoggJim hogg.jpgJanuary 20, 1891January 15, 1895DemocraticGeorge Cassety Pendleton (1891–93)
Martin McNulty Crane (1893–95)
21Charles A. CulbersonCharles Allen Culberson.jpgJanuary 15, 1895January 17, 1899DemocraticGeorge Taylor Jester
22Joseph D. SayersGovJosephSayers.jpgJanuary 17, 1899January 20, 1903DemocraticJames Nathan Browning
23S. W. T. LanhamSwtlanham.jpgJanuary 20, 1903January 15, 1907DemocraticGeorge D. Neal
24Thomas Mitchell CampbellT.M. Campbell, Governor, Bain portrait bust.jpgJanuary 15, 1907January 17, 1911DemocraticAsbury Bascom Davidson
25Oscar Branch ColquittOscar Branch Colquitt.jpgJanuary 17, 1911January 19, 1915DemocraticAsbury Bascom Davidson (1911–13)
William Harding Mayes (1913–15)
26James E. "Pa" FergusonJames E. Ferguson.jpgJanuary 19, 1915August 25, 1917DemocraticWilliam Pettus Hobby, Sr.[23]
27William P. HobbyWilliam hobby.jpgAugust 25, 1917January 18, 1921DemocraticVacant (1917–19)[24]
Willard Arnold Johnson (1919–21)
28Pat Morris NeffPatMNeff.jpgJanuary 18, 1921January 20, 1925DemocraticLynch Davidson (1921–23)
Thomas Whitfield Davidson (1923–25)
29Miriam A. "Ma" FergusonMiriam A. Ferguson.jpgJanuary 20, 1925January 17, 1927DemocraticBarry Miller
30Dan MoodyDanMoody.jpgJanuary 17, 1927January 20, 1931Democratic
31Ross S. SterlingJanuary 20, 1931January 17, 1933DemocraticEdgar E. Witt
32Miriam A. "Ma" FergusonMiriam A. Ferguson.jpgJanuary 17, 1933January 15, 1935Democratic
33James V. AllredJanuary 15, 1935January 17, 1939DemocraticWalter Frank Woodul
34W. Lee O'DanielWilbert Lee O'Daniel.jpgJanuary 17, 1939August 4, 1941DemocraticCoke R. Stevenson[25]
35Coke R. StevensonCoke R Stevenson.jpgAugust 4, 1941January 21, 1947DemocraticVacant (1941–43)[24]
John Lee Smith (1943–47)
36Beauford H. JesterJanuary 21, 1947July 11, 1949DemocraticAllan Shivers[26]
37Allan ShiversShivers-p02.jpgJuly 11, 1949January 15, 1957DemocraticVacant (1949–51)[24]
Ben Ramsey (1951–61)
38Price DanielPrice Daniel.jpgJanuary 15, 1957January 15, 1963DemocraticBen Ramsey (1951–61)
Vacant (1961-63)
39John ConnallyJohn Connally.jpgJanuary 15, 1963January 21, 1969DemocraticPreston Smith
40Preston SmithJanuary 21, 1969January 16, 1973DemocraticBen Barnes
41Dolph BriscoeBriscoe-p01.jpgJanuary 16, 1973January 16, 1979DemocraticWilliam P. Hobby, Jr.
42Bill ClementsBill Clements.jpgJanuary 16, 1979January 18, 1983Republican
43Mark WhiteGovernor Mark White.jpgJanuary 18, 1983January 20, 1987Democratic
44Bill ClementsBill Clements.jpgJanuary 20, 1987January 15, 1991Republican
45Ann RichardsAnn Richards, Governor of Texas.jpgJanuary 15, 1991January 17, 1995DemocraticBob Bullock
46George W. BushGeorgeWBush.jpgJanuary 17, 1995December 21, 2000RepublicanBob Bullock (1995–99)[27]
Rick Perry (1999–2000)
47Rick PerryRick Perry by Gage Skidmore 8.jpgDecember 21, 2000IncumbentRepublicanBill Ratliff (acting) (2000–03)[24][28]
David Dewhurst (2003–present)

Other high offices held[edit]

NameGubernatorial TermOther High Offices Held
Sam Houston1859-1861U.S. Representative (1823-1827), Governor of Tennessee (1827-1829), President of Texas (1836-1838, 1841-1844), U.S. Senator (1846-1859)
W. Lee O'Daniel1939-1941U.S. Senator (1941–1949)
Price Daniel1957–1963U.S. Senator (1953–1957)
John Connally1963–1969U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1961)
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (1971–1972)
Bill Clements1979–1983
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense (1973–1977)
George W. Bush1995–200043rd President of the United States (2001–2009)

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, two former governors were living, the oldest being Mark White (1983–1987, born 1940). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Bill Clements (1979–1983, 1987–1991), on May 29, 2011. The most recent governor to serve who has died is Ann Richards (1991–1995), who died on September 13, 2006.

NameGubernatorial termDate of birth
Mark White1983–1987(1940-03-17) March 17, 1940 (age 74)
George W. Bush1995–2000(1946-07-06) July 6, 1946 (age 68)

Gubernatorial trivia[edit]

Along with the Seal of Office, the governor of Texas also has a flag. It is not in common use.


Texas has had two female governors: Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson and Ann Richards. Ferguson was one of the first two women elected governor of a U.S. state (on November 4, 1924), along with Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming. Ross was inaugurated on January 5, 1925, while Ferguson was inaugurated on January 20, so Ross is considered the first female state governor. Ferguson was the wife of former governor Jim "Pa" Ferguson, while Richards was elected "in her own right," being neither the spouse nor widow of a governor.

Texas governors have been born in fourteen states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Baylor University is the most common alma mater of Texas governors, with five of them - Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Pat Morris Neff, Price Daniel, Mark White, and Ann Richards - considered alumni (though Ross attended but never completed a degree). To date, Coke Stevenson is the most recent governor who never attended college, and Bill Clements is the most recent who attended college but did not graduate.


Three governors have served non-consecutive terms: Elisha M. Pease, Miriam A. Ferguson, and Bill Clements. As was the case in most Southern states, Texas elected no Republican governors from the end of Reconstruction until the late twentieth century. Bill Clements was the state's first Republican governor since Edmund J. Davis left office in 1874, 105 years earlier. Dolph Briscoe was the last governor to be elected to a two-year term, in 1972; he was also the first to be elected to a four-year term, in 1974, since the post-Reconstruction period when two-year terms had first been established. Governor Rick Perry, who ascended to the governorship on December 21, 2000 upon the resignation of then-Governor George W. Bush, won full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Texas governors in popular culture[edit]

W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel served as the inspiration for the fictional, but similarly named Mississippi Governor Menelaus "Pappy" O'Daniel in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Ann Richards had a cameo appearance on an episode of the animated comedy series King of the Hill, in which she has a brief romance with Bill Dauterive after he takes the fall for mooning her in the elevator of an Austin hotel (Hank actually mooned her because he thought his friends were going to be mooning the people in the elevator but they set him up).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Suellentrop, Chip (2000-01-05). "Is George W. Bush a "Weak" Governor?". Slate Magazine - Explainer. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b Ivins, Molly; Lou Dubose (2000). Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. New York: Vintage Books. pp. xii–xiii. ISBN 0-375-75714-7. 
  3. ^ 1845 Const. Art V sec 4
  4. ^ 1861 Const. art V sec 12
  5. ^ 1866 Const. art V sec 4
  6. ^ 1869 Const. Art IV sec 4
  7. ^ Executive Branch retrieved 23-October-2008
  8. ^ TX Const. Art IV sec 4
  9. ^ Texas Politics - The Executive Branch. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  10. ^ TX Const. art IV sec 16 graf d
  11. ^ 1861 Const art V sec 12
  12. ^ The fractional terms of some governors are not to be absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
  13. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  14. ^ a b c As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  15. ^ Evicted from office due to his refusal to swear an oath to the Confederate States of America.
  16. ^ Fled Austin as it fell to Union forces.
  17. ^ NGA says he was Lt. Gov who served as Gov after Murrah fled Texas.
  18. ^ Provisional military governor.
  19. ^ a b James Throckmorton was removed from office by General Philip Sheridan, and Elisha Pease installed in his place.
  20. ^ Resigned due to disagreements with General Joseph Reynolds.
  21. ^ Elected in a special election held under military direction.
  22. ^ Resigned to take an elected seat in the U.S. Senate.
  23. ^ Resigned due to the legislature bringing impeachment proceedings against him.
  24. ^ a b c d As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was subsequently elected in their own right.
  25. ^ Resigned after winning the Democratic primary for a U.S. Senate seat; he won the election.
  26. ^ Died in office.
  27. ^ Resigned to be President of the United States.
  28. ^ Governor Perry's third elected term expires on January 20, 2015; he is not term limited.