List of Governors of Virginia

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The following is a list of the Governors of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Virginia's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[1]

The first constitution of 1776 created the office of governor, to be elected annually by the state legislature. The governor could serve up to three years at a time, and once out of office, could not serve again for four years.[2] The 1830 constitution changed the thrice renewable one-year term length to a non-renewable three-year term, and set the start date at the first day in January following an election.[3] This constitution also prevented governors from succeeding themselves, a prohibition that exists to the present day.[4] The 1851 constitution increased terms to four years[5] and made the office elected by the people, rather than the legislature.[6] The commencement of the governor's term was moved to the first day in February by the 1902 constitution,[7] and then to the Saturday after the second Wednesday in January by the 1971 and current constitution.[8]

If the office of governor is vacant due to disqualification, death, or resignation, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[9] The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1851[10] Prior to then, a Council of State existed, which chose a president among its members who would be "Lieutenant-Governor", who would act as governor in a time of absence in the office.[2][11]

Officially there have been 72 governors of Virginia; the acting governors are not counted.

Colonial Governors[edit]

President of the Committee for Public Safety[edit]

#ImageNameTook officeLeft officePartyNotes
1Edmund Pendleton 1872 crop.jpgEdmund Pendleton16 August 17755 July 1776No party

List of Governors since the Declaration of Independence in 1776 (There was no constitution until 1789)[edit]

#ImageNameTook officeLeft officePartyNotes
1Patrick henry.JPGPatrick HenryJuly 5, 1776June 1, 1779No party
2T Jefferson by Charles Willson Peale 1791 2.jpgThomas JeffersonJune 1, 1779June 3, 1781No party
3William FlemingJune 3, 1781June 12, 1781No party
4Thomas Nelson (1700s).jpgThomas Nelson, Jr.June 12, 1781November 22, 1781No party
David JamesonNovember 22, 1781December 1, 1781No party[12]
5Benharrv.JPGBenjamin Harrison VDecember 1, 1781December 1, 1784No party
6Patrick henry.JPGPatrick HenryDecember 1, 1784December 1, 1786No party
7EdmundRandolph.jpegEdmund RandolphDecember 1, 1786December 1, 1788No partyFirst governor under U.S. statehood
8Beverley RandolphDecember 1, 1788December 1, 1791No party
9HenryLee.jpegHenry Lee IIIDecember 1, 1791December 1, 1794Federalist
10Robert Brooke Virginia Governor.jpgRobert BrookeDecember 1, 1794December 1, 1796Democratic-Republican
11James WoodDecember 1, 1796December 1, 1799Democratic-Republican
Hardin BurnleyDecember 7, 1799December 11, 1799
John Pendleton, Jr.December 11, 1799December 19, 1799
12James Monroe White House portrait 1819.gifJames MonroeDecember 19, 1799December 1, 1802Democratic-Republican
13John Page Rosewell Gloucester County Virginia.jpgJohn PageDecember 1, 1802December 7, 1805Democratic-Republican
14William Cabell.gifWilliam H. CabellDecember 7, 1805December 1, 1808Democratic-Republican
15John Tyler Sr.jpgJohn Tyler, Sr.December 1, 1808January 15, 1811Democratic-Republican
George William Smith.jpgGeorge William SmithJanuary 15, 1811January 19, 1811Democratic-Republican[12]
16James Monroe White House portrait 1819.gifJames MonroeJanuary 19, 1811April 3, 1811Democratic-Republican
17George William Smith.jpgGeorge William SmithApril 3, 1811December 26, 1811Democratic-Republican[13][14]
N/APeyton RandolphDecember 27, 1811January 3, 1812Democratic-Republican[12]
18BarbourT.jpgJames BarbourJanuary 3, 1812December 1, 1814Democratic-Republican
19Wilson Cary Nicholas 2.jpgWilson Cary NicholasDecember 1, 1814December 1, 1816Democratic-Republican
20James Patton Preston.jpgJames Patton PrestonDecember 1, 1816December 1, 1819Democratic-Republican
21Thomas Mann Randolph.jpgThomas Mann Randolph, Jr.December 1, 1819December 1, 1822Democratic-Republican
22James Pleasants bioguide.jpgJames PleasantsDecember 1, 1822December 10, 1825Democratic-Republican
23WHOportTyler.jpgJohn TylerDecember 10, 1825March 4, 1827Democratic-Republican[15]
24William Branch Giles.jpgWilliam Branch GilesMarch 4, 1827March 4, 1830Democratic
25Johnfloydvirginia.jpgJohn FloydMarch 4, 1830March 31, 1834Democratic
26LWTzw.jpgLittleton Waller TazewellMarch 31, 1834April 30, 1836Whig
Wyndhamrobertsonportrait.jpgWyndham RobertsonApril 30, 1836March 31, 1837Whig[12]
27David Campbell.jpgDavid CampbellMarch 31, 1837March 31, 1840Democratic
28Thomas Gilmer newer.jpegThomas Walker GilmerMarch 31, 1840March 20, 1841Whig
John Mercer Patton.jpgJohn M. PattonMarch 20, 1841March 31, 1841Whig[12]
John RutherfoordMarch 31, 1841March 31, 1842Whig[12]
John Munford Gregory.jpgJohn Munford GregoryMarch 31, 1842January 1, 1843Whig[12]
29James McDowell.jpgJames McDowellJanuary 1, 1843January 1, 1846Democratic
30Hon. Smith - NARA - 528722.jpgWilliam SmithJanuary 1, 1846January 1, 1849Democratic
31John Buchanan Floyd.jpgJohn B. FloydJanuary 1, 1849January 16, 1852Democratic
32Joseph Johnson.pngJoseph JohnsonJanuary 16, 1852January 1, 1856Democratic[16]
33HAWise.jpgHenry A. WiseJanuary 1, 1856January 1, 1860Democratic
34JohnLetcher.jpgJohn LetcherJanuary 1, 1860January 1, 1864Democratic(June 20, 1863 West Virginia was formed)
35Extra Billy Smith-Virginia.jpgWilliam SmithJanuary 1, 1864May 9, 1865Democratic
Francis Pierpont portrait.gifFrancis Harrison PierpontMay 9, 1865April 4, 1868Republican[17]
Henry Wells.jpgHenry H. WellsApril 4, 1868September 21, 1869Republican[17]
36Gilbert Carlton Walker.gifGilbert Carlton WalkerSeptember 21, 1869January 1, 1874Democratic[18]
37James L Kemper.jpgJames L. KemperJanuary 1, 1874January 1, 1878Democratic
38Frederick Holliday.jpgFrederick W. M. HollidayJanuary 1, 1878January 1, 1882Democratic
39WE Cameron.jpgWilliam E. CameronJanuary 1, 1882January 1, 1886Re-adjuster
40Fitzhugh Lee Governor.jpgFitzhugh LeeJanuary 1, 1886January 1, 1890Democratic
41Philip McKinney.jpgPhilip W. McKinneyJanuary 1, 1890January 1, 1894Democratic
42Charles O'Ferrall.jpgCharles Triplett O'FerrallJanuary 1, 1894January 1, 1898Democratic
43James Hoge Tyler.jpgJames Hoge TylerJanuary 1, 1898January 1, 1902Democratic
44Andrew J. Montague.jpgAndrew Jackson MontagueJanuary 1, 1902February 1, 1906Democratic
45CASwanson.jpgClaude A. SwansonFebruary 1, 1906February 10, 1910Democratic
46William Hodges Mann, ca. 1914.jpgWilliam Hodges MannFebruary 10, 1910February 1, 1914Democratic
47H.C. Stuart.jpgHenry Carter StuartFebruary 1, 1914February 1, 1918Democratic
48Governorwestmdavis.jpgWestmoreland DavisFebruary 1, 1918February 1, 1922Democratic
49GovTrinkle.jpgElbert Lee TrinkleFebruary 1, 1922February 1, 1926Democratic
50Harry F. Byrd.jpgHarry F. ByrdFebruary 1, 1926January 15, 1930Democratic
51JGPollard.jpgJohn Garland PollardJanuary 15, 1930January 17, 1934Democratic
52GeorgeCPeery.jpgGeorge C. PeeryJanuary 17, 1934January 15, 1938Democratic
53JamesHPrice.jpgJames H. PriceJanuary 15, 1938January 21, 1942Democratic
54Colgate DardenJanuary 21, 1942January 16, 1946Democratic
55William M. Tuck.jpgWilliam M. TuckJanuary 16, 1946January 18, 1950Democratic
56John S. Battle.jpgJohn S. BattleJanuary 18, 1950January 20, 1954Democratic
57Thomas Bahnson Stanley.jpgThomas Bahnson StanleyJanuary 20, 1954January 11, 1958Democratic
58James Lindsay Almond - circa 1945 to 1949 - US House of Representatives.jpgJames Lindsay Almond, Jr.January 11, 1958January 13, 1962Democratic
59Albertis S. Harrison, Jr.January 13, 1962January 15, 1966Democratic
60Mills E. Godwin, Jr.January 15, 1966January 17, 1970Democratic
61Linwood Holton (1971 Bugle).pngA. Linwood Holton, Jr.January 17, 1970January 12, 1974Republican
62Mills E. Godwin, Jr.January 12, 1974January 14, 1978Republican
63Virginia Gov. John Dalton interviewed by a reporter during tour of Marine base, February 1981.JPEGJohn N. DaltonJanuary 14, 1978January 16, 1982Republican
64Charles robb.jpgChuck RobbJanuary 16, 1982January 18, 1986Democratic
65Baliles head2.jpgGerald L. BalilesJanuary 18, 1986January 13, 1990Democratic
66Douglas Wilder 2003 NIH.jpgDouglas WilderJanuary 13, 1990January 15, 1994DemocraticFirst African American to be elected as governor of Virginia
67George Allen.jpgGeorge AllenJanuary 15, 1994January 17, 1998Republican
68Jim Gilmore by Gage Skidmore.jpgJim GilmoreJanuary 17, 1998January 12, 2002Republican
69Mark Warner, official 111th Congress photo portrait.jpgMark WarnerJanuary 12, 2002January 14, 2006Democratic
70Tim Kaine, official 113th Congress photo portrait.jpgTim KaineJanuary 14, 2006January 16, 2010DemocraticFirst Catholic Governor
71Bob McDonnell by Gage Skidmore.jpgBob McDonnellJanuary 16, 2010January 11, 2014RepublicanSecond Catholic Governor
72Virginia Governor Democrats Terry McAuliffe 095 Cropped.jpgTerry McAuliffeJanuary 11, 2014IncumbentDemocraticThird Catholic Governor

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ VA Const. art. V
  2. ^ a b 1776 Const.
  3. ^ 1830 Const. Art IV sec 1
  4. ^ VA Const. Art V sec 1
  5. ^ 1851 Const. art V sec 1
  6. ^ 1851 Const. Art V sec 2
  7. ^ 1902 Const. Art V sec 69
  8. ^ VA Const. art V sec 1
  9. ^ VA Const. Art V sec 16
  10. ^ 1851 Const. art V sec 8
  11. ^ 1830 Const. art IV sec 5
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Member of the Council of State acting as Governor.
  13. ^ Member of the Council of State acting as governor; was later elected in his own right.
  14. ^ Died in office.
  15. ^ Resigned to be in the U.S. Senate.
  16. ^ First governor popularly elected.
  17. ^ a b Unelected military governor
  18. ^ Unelected Republican military governor, then elected in his own right as a Democrat.

Living former governors[edit]

As of August 2014, nine former governors were alive, the oldest being A. Linwood Holton, Jr. (1970–1974, born 1923). The most recent governor to die was Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (1966–1970, 1974–1978, born 1914), on January 30, 1999. The most recently serving governor to die was John N. Dalton (1978–1982), on July 30, 1986.

NameGubernatorial termDate of birth
A. Linwood Holton, Jr.1970–1974(1923-09-21) September 21, 1923 (age 91)
Chuck Robb1982–1986(1939-06-26) June 26, 1939 (age 75)
Gerald L. Baliles1986–1990(1940-07-08) July 8, 1940 (age 74)
Douglas Wilder1990–1994(1931-01-17) January 17, 1931 (age 83)
George Allen1994–1998(1952-03-08) March 8, 1952 (age 62)
Jim Gilmore1998–2002(1949-10-06) October 6, 1949 (age 64)
Mark Warner2002–2006(1954-12-15) December 15, 1954 (age 59)
Tim Kaine2006–2010(1958-02-26) February 26, 1958 (age 56)
Bob McDonnell2010–2014(1954-06-15) June 15, 1954 (age 60)

References[edit]

General
Constitutions
Specific