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List of governors of California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gavin Newsom, the 40th and current Governor of California
Gavin Newsom, the 40th and current Governor of California

The governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced. The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

The current governor is Gavin Newsom, who has been in office since 2019.

Thirty-nine people have served as governor, over 40 distinct terms; many have been influential nationwide in areas far-flung from politics. Leland Stanford founded Stanford University in 1891. Earl Warren, later Chief Justice of the United States, won an election with the nominations of the three major parties – the only person ever to run essentially unopposed for governor of California. Ronald Reagan, who was president of the Screen Actors Guild and later President of the United States, and Arnold Schwarzenegger both came to prominence through acting. Gray Davis, the 37th governor of California, was the second governor in American history to be recalled by voters. The shortest tenure was that of Milton Latham, who served only five days before being elected by the legislature to fill a vacant United States Senate seat. The longest tenure is that of Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown Jr., who previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983 and again from 2011 to 2019, the only governor to serve non-consecutive terms. He is the son of former governor Edmund Gerald "Pat" Brown Sr. who served from 1959 to 1967.


California was obtained by the United States in the Mexican Cession following the Mexican–American War. Unlike most other states, it was never organized as a territory, and was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850.

The original California Constitution of 1849 called for elections every two years, with no set start date for the term. An amendment ratified in 1862 increased the term to four years,[1] and the 1879 constitution set the term to begin on the first Monday after January 1 following an election.[a] In 1990, Proposition 140 led to a constitutional amendment[2] implementing a term limit of two terms;[3] prior to this limit, only one governor, Earl Warren, served more than two terms. Jerry Brown was able to be elected to a third term in 2010 because his previous terms were before the term limit was enacted. The 1849 constitution also created the office of lieutenant governor, who, in cases of vacancy in the office of governor, becomes governor.[4] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

Governors of the State of California[b]
No. Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[c]
Peter Hardeman Burnett - circa 1860.jpg
  Peter Hardeman Burnett December 20, 1849[d]

January 9, 1851
Democratic 1849   John McDougal
John McDougall.jpg
John McDougal January 9, 1851

January 8, 1852
(not candidate for election)
Succeeded from
David C. Broderick
John Bigler painting.jpg
John Bigler January 8, 1852

January 9, 1856
(lost election)
1851 Samuel Purdy
J. Neely Johnson January 9, 1856

January 8, 1858
(not candidate for election)
American 1855 Robert M. Anderson
John B Weller by William F Cogswell, 1879.jpg
John B. Weller January 8, 1858

January 9, 1860
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1857 Joseph Walkup
Milton Latham January 9, 1860

January 14, 1860
1859 John G. Downey
John G. Downey.jpg
John G. Downey January 14, 1860

January 10, 1862
(not candidate for election)
Succeeded from
Isaac N. Quinn
(term ended January 7, 1861)
Pablo de la Guerra
Leland Stanford January 10, 1862

December 10, 1863
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1861 John F. Chellis
Frederick Low December 10, 1863

December 5, 1867
(not candidate for election)
1863[g] Tim N. Machin
Henry Haight.jpg
Henry Huntly Haight December 5, 1867

December 8, 1871
(lost election)
Democratic 1867 William Holden
Newton Booth - Brady-Handy.jpg
Newton Booth December 8, 1871

February 27, 1875
Republican 1871 Romualdo Pacheco
Romualdo Pacheco - Brady-Handy.jpg
Romualdo Pacheco February 27, 1875

December 9, 1875
(not candidate for election)
Succeeded from
William Irwin
William Irwin painting.jpg
William Irwin December 9, 1875

January 8, 1880
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1875 James A. Johnson
George Clement Perkins, a Senator from California.jpg
George Clement Perkins January 8, 1880

January 10, 1883
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1879 John Mansfield
General George Stoneman.jpg
George Stoneman January 10, 1883

January 8, 1887
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1882 John Daggett
Washington Bartlett.jpg
Washington Bartlett January 8, 1887

September 12, 1887
(died in office)
1886 Robert Waterman[i]
Robert Waterman.jpg
Robert Waterman September 12, 1887

January 8, 1891
(not candidate for election)
Republican Succeeded from
Stephen M. White[j]
Governor H. H. Markham.jpg
Henry Markham January 8, 1891

January 11, 1895
(not candidate for election)
1890 John B. Reddick
James H. Budd.jpg
James Budd January 11, 1895

January 4, 1899
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1894 Spencer G. Millard[i]
(died October 24, 1895)
William T. Jeter
Henry Gage January 4, 1899

January 7, 1903
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1898 Jacob H. Neff
George Pardee January 7, 1903

January 9, 1907
(not candidate for election)
1902 Alden Anderson
James Gillett.jpg
James Gillett January 9, 1907

January 3, 1911
(not candidate for election)
1906 Warren R. Porter
Souvenir of the unveiling, dedication and presentation of the Abraham Lincoln G. A. R. memorial monument - dedicated to the veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865, at Long Beach, California, July 3rd, (14576262447).jpg
Hiram Johnson January 3, 1911

March 15, 1917
Republican 1910 Albert Joseph Wallace
Progressive 1914 John M. Eshleman
(died February 28, 1916)
William Stephens[i]
(took office July 22, 1916)
Portrait of William Stephens.jpg
William Stephens March 15, 1917

January 8, 1923
(not candidate for election)
Republican Succeeded from
1918 C. C. Young
Friend Richardson.jpg
Friend Richardson January 8, 1923

January 4, 1927
(not candidate for election)
CC Young.jpg
C. C. Young January 4, 1927

January 6, 1931
(lost renomination)[l]
1926 Buron Fitts
(resigned November 30, 1928)
Herschel L. Carnahan
(appointed December 4, 1928)
Gov James Rolph.jpg
James Rolph January 6, 1931

June 2, 1934
(died in office)
1930 Frank Merriam
Frank Merriam June 2, 1934

January 2, 1939
(lost election)
Succeeded from
1934 George J. Hatfield
Culbert L. Olson-1942.png
Culbert Olson January 2, 1939

January 4, 1943
(lost election)
Democratic 1938 Ellis E. Patterson
Earl Warren Portrait, half figure, seated, facing front, as Governor.jpg
Earl Warren January 4, 1943

October 5, 1953
Republican[n] 1942 Frederick F. Houser
1946 Goodwin Knight
Goodwin Knight October 5, 1953

January 5, 1959
(not candidate for election)[o]
Republican Succeeded from
Harold J. Powers
Pat Brown (California Governor 1962).jpg
Pat Brown January 5, 1959

January 2, 1967
(lost election)
Democratic 1958 Glenn M. Anderson
33 Ronald Reagan with cowboy hat 12-0071M original.tif Ronald Reagan January 2, 1967

January 6, 1975
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1966 Robert Finch
(resigned January 8, 1969)
Edwin Reinecke
(resigned October 2, 1974)
John L. Harmer
Jerry Brown at 1976 DNC.jpg
Jerry Brown January 6, 1975

January 3, 1983
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1974 Mervyn M. Dymally
1978 Michael Curb[i]
George Deukmejian Official Portrait crop 2.jpg
George Deukmejian January 3, 1983

January 7, 1991
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1982 Leo T. McCarthy[j]
Pete Wilson meeting with Les Aspin, Feb 3, 1993 - cropped to Wilson.JPEG
Pete Wilson January 7, 1991

January 4, 1999
(term limited)
1994 Gray Davis[j]
Gray Davis.jpg
Gray Davis January 4, 1999

November 17, 2003
Democratic 1998 Cruz Bustamante[j]
Arnold Schwarzenegger speech.jpg
Arnold Schwarzenegger November 17, 2003

January 3, 2011
(term limited)
Republican 2003
2006 John Garamendi[j]
(resigned November 3, 2009)
Mona Pasquil[j]
Abel Maldonado[i][q]
(appointed April 27, 2010)
Gov. Jerry Brown (8117053710).jpg
Jerry Brown January 3, 2011

January 7, 2019
(term limited)
Democratic 2010
Gavin Newsom[q]
(took office January 10, 2011)
Gavin Newsom by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Gavin Newsom January 7, 2019

2018 Eleni Kounalakis


See also


  1. ^ The rule of the term beginning on the first Monday after January 1 does not seem to have been followed until 1939; all terms between 1880 and 1931, except for 1923, began on the "wrong" day, often just one or two days off. This is well sourced, and it is unknown why the terms did not match the constitution, or why they began to match the constitution in 1939.
  2. ^ Data is sourced from the National Governors Association, unless supplemental references are required.
  3. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  4. ^ A civilian government was formed in late 1849 prior to official statehood, and operated as the state government for ten months before official statehood was granted.[5]
  5. ^ Burnett resigned, citing personal reasons; he was reportedly unhappy with the legislature, and wanted more time to manage his business.[6]
  6. ^ Latham resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[7]
  7. ^ First term under an 1862 constitutional amendment, which lengthened terms to four years.[1]
  8. ^ Booth resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[8]
  9. ^ a b c d e Represented the Republican Party
  10. ^ a b c d e f Represented the Democratic Party
  11. ^ Johnson resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[9]
  12. ^ Richardson lost the Republican nomination to James Rolph.[10]
  13. ^ Warren resigned to be Chief Justice of the United States.[11]
  14. ^ Warren ran as a Republican for his first and third terms. For his second term, he won the nomination of the Republican, Democratic, and Progressive parties.[12]
  15. ^ Knight instead unsuccessfully ran for United States Senate.[13]
  16. ^ a b Davis was recalled and Schwarzenegger elected to replace him in a special election.[14]
  17. ^ a b Newsom delayed his swearing in as lieutenant governor until January 10, 2011, to remain mayor of San Francisco; Maldonado stayed on as lieutenant governor until then.[15]
  18. ^ Newsom's first term expires on January 2, 2023.


  • "Governors of California". California State Library. Official Site of the State of California. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved July 18, 2007.
  • "Former California Governors". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  • Sobel, Robert (1978). Biographical directory of the governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. I. Meckler Books. ISBN 9780930466015. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  • "Chronology of California's Lieutenant Governors". Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  1. ^ a b Henning, W.F. (1899). Constitution of the State of California. C.W. Palm Company. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
  2. ^ "California Ballot Propositions 1990-1999". Los Angeles County Law Library. Archived from the original on October 7, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  3. ^ CA Const. art. V, § 2
  4. ^ CA Const. art. V, § 10
  5. ^ "Peter Hardeman Burnett". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Durham, Walter T. (1997). Volunteer Forty-niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush. Vanderbilt University Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-8265-1298-4. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  7. ^ "Milton Slocum Latham". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Newton Booth". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Hiram Warren Johnson". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "Rolph Victor in California Race". Nashville Banner. Nashville, Tennessee. August 28, 1930. p. 13. Retrieved February 14, 2020 – via
  11. ^ "Earl Warren". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "Biography of Earl Warren". Earl Warren College. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  13. ^ "Goodwin Jess Knight". National Governors Association. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Statewide Special Election". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2008.
  15. ^ Upton Oot, John (January 7, 2011). "Newsom's Dual Role Raises Legal Quandary". The Bay Citizen. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 August 2020, at 18:39
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