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Governor of Arkansas

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Governor of Arkansas

Governor of Arkansas
Seal of Arkansas
Style
The Honorable
Residence Arkansas Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder James Sevier Conway
Formation 1836; Constitution of Arkansas
Succession Every four years, unless re-elected.

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

The state has had 45 elected governors, as well as 10 acting governors who took office following the resignation or death of the governor, totaling 55 distinct terms. Before becoming a state, Arkansas Territory had four governors appointed to it by the President of the United States. Orval Faubus served the longest term as state governor, being elected six times to serve twelve years. Bill Clinton, elected five times over two distinct terms, fell only one month short of twelve years. The shortest term for an elected governor was the 38 days served by John Sebastian Little before his nervous breakdown; one of the acting successors to his term, Jesse M. Martin, served only three days, the shortest stint overall. The current governor is Mike Beebe, who took office on January 9, 2007; his second term will expire on January 13, 2015.

Governors

Governors of the Territory of Arkansas

For the period before Arkansas Territory was formed, see the list of Governors of Missouri Territory.

Arkansaw Territory (renamed Arkansas Territory around 1822[lower-alpha 1]) was split from Missouri Territory on July 4, 1819. It lost land twice, on November 15, 1824, and May 6, 1828, with the land being made unorganized territory both times; this land eventually became part of Oklahoma.

As secretary of the territory from 1819 to 1829, Robert Crittenden served as acting governor whenever the appointed governor was not in the state. This meant he was in fact the first person to perform the office of Governor of Arkansas Territory, since James Miller did not arrive in the territory until nine months after his appointment.[3]

Picture Governor Took office Left office Appointed by Notes
James Miller March 3, 1819 December 27, 1824 James Monroe [lower-alpha 2][lower-alpha 3]
George Izard March 4, 1825 November 22, 1828 James Monroe [lower-alpha 4][lower-alpha 5]
John Quincy Adams
John Pope March 9, 1829[7] March 9, 1835 Andrew Jackson [lower-alpha 6][lower-alpha 7]
William S. Fulton March 9, 1835 June 15, 1836 Andrew Jackson [lower-alpha 8]

Governors of the State of Arkansas




Arkansas was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836. It seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America on May 18, 1861; there was no Union government in exile, so there was a single line of governors, though as the state fell to Union forces there was a loyalist government put in place with an insignificant Confederate government in exile. Following the end of the American Civil War, it was part of the Fourth Military District. Arkansas was readmitted to the Union on June 22, 1868.

The first state constitution of 1836 established four-year terms for governors,[11] which was lowered to two years in the 1874, and current, constitution.[12] Amendment 63 to the Arkansas Constitution, passed in 1984, increased the terms of both governor and lieutenant governor to four years.[13] Governors were originally limited only to serving no more than eight out of every twelve years,[11] but the 1874 constitution removed any term limit. A referendum in 1992 limited governors to two terms.[14]

Until 1864, the constitutions provided that, should the office of governor be rendered vacant, the president of the senate would serve as acting governor until such time as a new governor were elected or the disability removed, or the acting governor's senate term expired.[15][16] This led to some situations where the governorship changed hands in quick succession, due to senate terms ending or new senate presidents being elected. For example, after John Sebastian Little resigned in 1907, three senate presidents acted as governor before the next elected governor took office. Should the president of the senate be similarly incapacitated, the next in line for the governorship was the speaker of the state house of representatives.

The 1864 constitution created the office of lieutenant governor[17] who would also act as president of the senate,[18] and who would serve as acting governor in case of vacancy.[19] The 1868 constitution maintained the position,[20] but the 1874 constitution removed it and returned to the original line of succession.[21] Amendment 6 to the state constitution, passed in 1914 but not recognized until 1925,[22] recreated the office of lieutenant governor, who becomes governor in case of vacancy of the governor's office.[23] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

Arkansas was a strongly Democratic state before the Civil War, electing only candidates from the Democratic party. It elected three Republican governors following Reconstruction, but after the Democratic Party re-established control, 92 years passed before voters chose another Republican.

      Democratic (48)[lower-alpha 9]       Republican (7)[lower-alpha 10]

#[lower-alpha 11] Governor Term start Term end Party Lt. Governor[lower-alpha 12][lower-alpha 13] Terms[lower-alpha 14]
1   James Sevier Conway September 13, 1836 November 4, 1840 Democratic None 1
2 Archibald Yell November 4, 1840 April 29, 1844 Democratic 12[lower-alpha 15]
Samuel Adams April 29, 1844 November 5, 1844 Democratic 12[lower-alpha 16]
3 Thomas Stevenson Drew November 5, 1844 January 10, 1849 Democratic 1 13[lower-alpha 17]
Richard C. Byrd January 10, 1849 April 19, 1849 Democratic 13[lower-alpha 18]
4 John Selden Roane April 19, 1849 November 15, 1852 Democratic 13[lower-alpha 19]
5 Elias Nelson Conway November 15, 1852 November 16, 1860 Democratic 2
6 Henry Massey Rector November 16, 1860 November 4, 1862 Democratic 1[lower-alpha 20]
7 Harris Flanagin November 4, 1862 April 18, 1864 Democratic 1[lower-alpha 21][lower-alpha 22]
8 Isaac Murphy April 18, 1864 July 2, 1868 Republican   Calvin C. Bliss[31] 1[lower-alpha 21]
James M. Johnson[32]
9 Powell Clayton July 2, 1868 March 17, 1871 Republican James M. Johnson[lower-alpha 23] 12[lower-alpha 24]
Ozra Amander Hadley[lower-alpha 25] March 17, 1871 January 6, 1873 Republican Vacant 12[lower-alpha 26]
10 Elisha Baxter January 6, 1873 November 12, 1874 Republican Volney V. Smith[34] 1[lower-alpha 27][lower-alpha 28]
11 Augustus Hill Garland November 12, 1874 January 11, 1877 Democratic None 2
12 William Read Miller January 11, 1877 January 11, 1881 Democratic 2
13 Thomas James Churchill January 11, 1881 January 13, 1883 Democratic 1
14 James Henderson Berry January 13, 1883 January 17, 1885 Democratic 1
15 Simon Pollard Hughes, Jr. January 17, 1885 January 8, 1889 Democratic 2
16 James Philip Eagle January 8, 1889 January 10, 1893 Democratic 2
17 William Meade Fishback January 10, 1893 January 8, 1895 Democratic 1
18 James Paul Clarke January 8, 1895 January 12, 1897 Democratic 1
19 Daniel Webster Jones January 12, 1897 January 8, 1901 Democratic 2
20 Jeff Davis January 8, 1901 January 8, 1907 Democratic 3
21 John Sebastian Little January 8, 1907 February 15, 1907 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 29]
John Isaac Moore February 15, 1907 May 14, 1907 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 30]
Xenophon Overton Pindall May 14, 1907 January 11, 1909 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 31]
Jesse M. Martin January 11, 1909 January 14, 1909 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 32]
22 George Washington Donaghey January 14, 1909 January 16, 1913 Democratic 2
23 Joseph Taylor Robinson January 16, 1913 March 8, 1913 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 24]
William Kavanaugh Oldham March 8, 1913 March 13, 1913 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 33]
Junius Marion Futrell March 13, 1913 July 23, 1913 Democratic 14[lower-alpha 34]
24 George Washington Hays July 23, 1913 January 10, 1917 Democratic Vacant 14[lower-alpha 35]
25 Charles Hillman Brough January 10, 1917 January 11, 1921 Democratic 2
26 Thomas Chipman McRae January 11, 1921 January 13, 1925 Democratic 2
27 Tom Jefferson Terral January 13, 1925 January 11, 1927 Democratic 1
28 John Ellis Martineau January 11, 1927 March 4, 1928 Democratic Harvey Parnell 12[lower-alpha 36]
29 Harvey Parnell March 4, 1928 January 10, 1933 Democratic William Lee Cazort 2 12[lower-alpha 37]
Lawrence Elery Wilson
30 Junius Marion Futrell January 10, 1933 January 12, 1937 Democratic William Lee Cazort 2
31 Carl Edward Bailey January 12, 1937 January 14, 1941 Democratic Robert L. Bailey 2
32 Homer Martin Adkins January 14, 1941 January 9, 1945 Democratic Robert L. Bailey 2
James L. Shaver
33 Benjamin Travis Laney January 9, 1945 January 11, 1949 Democratic James L. Shaver 2
Nathan Green Gordon
34 Sid McMath January 11, 1949 January 13, 1953 Democratic Nathan Green Gordon 2
35 Francis Cherry January 13, 1953 January 11, 1955 Democratic Nathan Green Gordon 1
36 Orval Faubus January 11, 1955 January 10, 1967 Democratic Nathan Green Gordon 6
37 Winthrop Rockefeller January 10, 1967 January 12, 1971 Republican Maurice Britt 2
38 Dale Bumpers January 12, 1971 January 3, 1975 Democratic Bob C. Riley 1 12[lower-alpha 24]
Bob C. Riley January 3, 1975 January 14, 1975 Democratic 12[lower-alpha 38]
39 David Pryor January 14, 1975 January 3, 1979 Democratic Joe Purcell 1 12[lower-alpha 24]
Joe Purcell January 3, 1979 January 9, 1979 Democratic 12[lower-alpha 38]
40 Bill Clinton January 9, 1979 January 19, 1981 Democratic Joe Purcell 1
41 Frank D. White January 19, 1981 January 11, 1983 Republican Winston Bryant[lower-alpha 39] 1
42 Bill Clinton January 11, 1983 December 12, 1992 Democratic Winston Bryant 3 12[lower-alpha 40][lower-alpha 41]
Jim Guy Tucker
43 Jim Guy Tucker December 12, 1992 July 15, 1996 Democratic Mike Huckabee[lower-alpha 42] 12+12[lower-alpha 37][lower-alpha 43]
44 Mike Huckabee July 15, 1996 January 9, 2007 Republican Winthrop P. Rockefeller[lower-alpha 5] 2 12[lower-alpha 37]
45 Mike Beebe January 9, 2007 Incumbent Democratic Bill Halter 2[lower-alpha 44]
Mark Darr[lower-alpha 42]

Other high offices held

Seventeen of Arkansas's governors have served other high offices, including one President of the United States, an Attorney General, and an ambassador. Thirteen represented Arkansas in the U.S. Congress, and another was refused his seat by the U.S. Senate shortly after the American Civil War, because Arkansas had not yet been reconstructed. Two governors were elected from other states, and one represented Arkansas in the Confederate Congress. Five governors (marked with *) resigned to take other offices, with four of these becoming members of the U.S. Senate and one becoming President of the United States. Two others (marked with ) resigned their seat in the U.S. House of representatives to become Governor of Arkansas.

All representatives and senators listed represented Arkansas except where noted.

Governor Gubernatorial term Other offices held Source
Miller, JamesJames Miller 1819–1825 Elected Representative from New Hampshire but did not take his seat. [4]
Pope, JohnJohn Pope 1829–1835 Representative and Senator from Kentucky (including President pro tempore) [45]
Fulton, William S.William S. Fulton 1835–1836 Senator [10]
Yell, ArchibaldArchibald Yell 1840–1844 Representative [46]
Clayton, PowellPowell Clayton 1868–1871 Senator*, Minister to Mexico [47]
Garland, Augustus HillAugustus Hill Garland 1874–1877 Senator, Attorney General, Confederate Representative, Confederate Senator [48]
Berry, James HendersonJames Henderson Berry 1883–1885 Senator [49]
Fishback, William MeadeWilliam Meade Fishback 1893–1895 Elected to the Senate but was refused his seat [50]
Clarke, James PaulJames Paul Clarke 1895–1897 Senator (including President pro tempore) [51]
Davis, JeffJeff Davis 1901–1907 Senator [52]
Little, John SebastianJohn Sebastian Little 1907 Representative [53]
Robinson, Joseph TaylorJoseph Taylor Robinson 1913 Representative, Senator* (including Majority Leader and Minority Leader) [54]
McRae, Thomas ChipmanThomas Chipman McRae 1921–1925 Representative [55]
Bumpers, DaleDale Bumpers 1971–1975 Senator* [56]
Pryor, DavidDavid Pryor 1975–1979 Representative, Senator* [57]
Clinton, BillBill Clinton 1979–1981, 1983–1992 President of the United States* [58]
Tucker, Jim GuyJim Guy Tucker 1992–1996 Representative [59]

Living former governors

As of March 2011, five former governors were alive. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Sid McMath (1949–1953), who died on October 4, 2003. The most recently serving governor to die was Frank D. White, who served from 1981 to 1983 and died on May 21 of 2003.

Governor Term of office Date of birth
Dale Bumpers 1971–1975 (1925-08-12) August 12, 1925 (age 88)
David Pryor 1975–1979 (1934-08-29) August 29, 1934 (age 79)
Bill Clinton 1979–1981, 1983–1992 (1946-08-19) August 19, 1946 (age 67)
Jim Guy Tucker 1992–1996 (1943-06-12) June 12, 1943 (age 71)
Mike Huckabee 1996–2007 (1955-08-24) August 24, 1955 (age 58)

Notes

References

General
Constitutions
Specific

External links

  • Office of the Governor of Arkansas
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