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Governor of Idaho

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Governor of Idaho

Governor of Idaho
The Idaho House
Term length Four years
Inaugural holder George L. Shoup
Formation July 3, 1890
Deputy Brad Little
Salary $110,734 (2011)[1]

The Governor of Idaho is the head of the executive branch of Idaho's government[2] and commander-in-chief of the state's militia.[3] The governor has the duty to see state laws are executed, power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Idaho Legislature.[3]

Idaho Territory had 16 territorial governors appointed by the President of the United States from the territory's organization in 1863 until the formation of the state of Idaho in 1890. Four of these never took office, resigning before reaching the territory.

Thirty individuals have held the office of governor of Idaho since the state's admission to the Union in 1890, two of whom—C. A. Bottolfsen and Cecil D. Andrus—served non-consecutive terms. The state's first governor, George Laird Shoup, had the shortest term of three months, and Cecil D. Andrus served as governor the longest at 14 years. Four governors resigned, but none has died while in office. There have been 20 Republican and 12 Democratic governors. The current governor is C. L. "Butch" Otter, who took office on January 1, 2007; his current term will expire in January 2015.[4]


Governors of the Territory of Idaho

Idaho Territory was created from Dakota Territory, Nebraska Territory, and Washington Territory on March 4, 1863. Initially, the territory included all of modern-day Idaho and Montana, and most of Wyoming. On May 26, 1864, Montana Territory was split from Idaho Territory, and most of the Wyoming portion was reassigned to Dakota Territory. The portion east of the 111th meridian was split off as part of the new Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868, giving Idaho Territory its final borders.[5]

Due to the long distance between Washington, D.C. and Boise, there was often a lengthy gap between a governor being appointed and his arrival in the territory; four resigned before even arriving.

Governor Took office Left office Appointed by Notes
William H. Wallace July 1863[6][7] December 1863[6] Abraham Lincoln Resigned. [lower-alpha 1]
Caleb Lyon August 1, 1864[6][7] April 1866[9] Abraham Lincoln
David W. Ballard June 14, 1866[10] July 1870[11] Andrew Johnson
Samuel Bard Appointed March 30, 1870[12] Ulysses S. Grant Resigned without serving. [lower-alpha 2]
Gilman Marston Appointed June 7, 1870[12] Ulysses S. Grant Resigned without serving. [lower-alpha 3]
Alexander H. Conner Appointed January 12, 1871[12] Ulysses S. Grant Appointed, but declined the offer.[lower-alpha 4]
Thomas M. Bowen July 1871[13] August 15, 1871[13] Ulysses S. Grant Resigned. [lower-alpha 5]
Thomas W. Bennett December 1871[14] December 4, 1875[15] Ulysses S. Grant Resigned. [lower-alpha 6]
David P. Thompson April 1876[17] May 1876[17] Ulysses S. Grant Resigned. [lower-alpha 7]
Mason Brayman July 1876[18] July 24, 1880[19] Ulysses S. Grant Suspended in June 1878 pending appointment of Hoyt; allowed to serve remainder of term after Hoyt declined the appointment. [lower-alpha 8]
John P. Hoyt Appointed June 8, 1878[21]
Appointed August 7, 1878[22]
Rutherford B. Hayes Initial appointment overturned after Hoyt took too long to respond to the offer.
Second appointment declined by Hoyt. [lower-alpha 9]
John Baldwin Neil August 3, 1880[23] March 2, 1883[24] Rutherford B. Hayes
John N. Irwin April 1883[25] Dec 20, 1883[25] Chester A. Arthur Effectively resigned in July, 1883. [lower-alpha 10]
William M. Bunn June 26, 1884[27] July 3, 1885[28] Chester A. Arthur Resigned. [lower-alpha 11]
Edward A. Stevenson September 29, 1885[29] April 1, 1889[30] Grover Cleveland [lower-alpha 12]
George Laird Shoup April 30, 1889[31] July 3, 1890 Benjamin Harrison

Governors of the State of Idaho

Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890. Since then, the state has had 30 governors, two of whom served non-consecutive terms. The terms for governor and lieutenant governor are four years, commencing on the first Monday in the January following the election. Prior to 1946, the offices were elected to terms of two years.[32] If the office of governor is vacant or the governor is out of state or unable to discharge his duties, the lieutenant governor acts as governor until such time as the disability is removed.[33] If both the offices of governor and lieutenant governor are unable to fulfill their duties, the President pro tempore of the Idaho Senate is next in line, and then the Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.[34] After the change to four-year terms, self-succession (re-election) was not initially allowed; newly elected Governor Smylie, formerly the state's attorney general, successfully lobbied the 1955 legislature to propose an amendment to the state constitution to allow gubernatorial re-election, which was approved by voters in the 1956 general election.[35][36] There is no limit to the number of terms a governor may serve.[37]

      Democratic (12)       Republican (20)

#[lower-alpha 13] Governor Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Terms[lower-alpha 14]
1   George Laird Shoup October 1, 1890 December 18, 1890 Republican   N. B. Willey 12[lower-alpha 15]
2 N. B. Willey December 18, 1890 January 2, 1893 Republican John S. Gray 12[lower-alpha 16]
3 William J. McConnell January 2, 1893 January 4, 1897 Republican F. B. Willis 2
F. J. Mills
4 Frank Steunenberg January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901 Democratic George F. Moore[lower-alpha 17] 2[lower-alpha 18]
J. H. Hutchinson[lower-alpha 19]
5 Frank W. Hunt January 7, 1901 January 5, 1903 Democratic Thomas F. Terrell 1
6 John T. Morrison January 5, 1903 January 2, 1905 Republican James M. Stevens 1
7 Frank R. Gooding January 2, 1905 January 4, 1909 Republican Burpee L. Steeves 2
Ezra A. Burrell
8 James H. Brady January 4, 1909 January 2, 1911 Republican Lewis H. Sweetser 1
9 James H. Hawley January 2, 1911 January 6, 1913 Democratic Lewis H. Sweetser 1
10 John M. Haines January 6, 1913 January 4, 1915 Republican Herman H. Taylor 1
11 Moses Alexander January 4, 1915 January 6, 1919 Democratic Herman H. Taylor[lower-alpha 20] 2
Ernest L. Parker
12 D. W. Davis January 6, 1919 January 1, 1923 Republican Charles C. Moore 2
13 Charles C. Moore January 1, 1923 January 3, 1927 Republican H. C. Baldridge 2
14 H. C. Baldridge January 3, 1927 January 5, 1931 Republican O. E. Hailey 2
W. B. Kinne[lower-alpha 21]
O. E. Hailey
15 C. Ben Ross January 5, 1931 January 4, 1937 Democratic G. P. Mix 3
George E. Hill
G. P. Mix
16 Barzilla W. Clark January 4, 1937 January 2, 1939 Democratic Charles C. Gossett 1
17 C. A. Bottolfsen January 2, 1939 January 6, 1941 Republican Donald S. Whitehead 1
18 Chase A. Clark January 6, 1941 January 4, 1943 Democratic Charles C. Gossett 1
19 C. A. Bottolfsen January 4, 1943 January 1, 1945 Republican Edwin Nelson 1
20 Charles C. Gossett January 1, 1945 November 17, 1945 Democratic Arnold Williams 12[lower-alpha 22]
21 Arnold Williams November 17, 1945 January 6, 1947 Democratic A. R. McCabe 12[lower-alpha 16]
22 C. A. Robins January 6, 1947 January 1, 1951 Republican Donald S. Whitehead 1[lower-alpha 23]
23 Leonard B. Jordan January 1, 1951 January 3, 1955 Republican Edson H. Deal 1
24 Robert E. Smylie January 3, 1955 January 2, 1967 Republican J. Berkeley Larsen 3
W. E. Drevlow[lower-alpha 24]
25 Don Samuelson January 2, 1967 January 4, 1971 Republican Jack M. Murphy 1
26 Cecil D. Andrus January 4, 1971 January 24, 1977 Democratic Jack M. Murphy[lower-alpha 20] 112[lower-alpha 25]
John V. Evans
27 John V. Evans January 24, 1977 January 5, 1987 Democratic William J. Murphy 212[lower-alpha 26]
Phil Batt[lower-alpha 20]
David H. Leroy[lower-alpha 20]
28 Cecil D. Andrus January 5, 1987 January 2, 1995 Democratic C.L. "Butch" Otter[lower-alpha 20] 2
29 Phil Batt January 2, 1995 January 4, 1999 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter 1
30 Dirk Kempthorne January 4, 1999 May 26, 2006 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter[lower-alpha 27] 112[lower-alpha 28]
Jack Riggs
Jim Risch
31 Jim Risch May 26, 2006 January 1, 2007 Republican Mark Ricks 12[lower-alpha 16]
32 C.L. "Butch" Otter January 1, 2007 Incumbent Republican Jim Risch 2[lower-alpha 29]
Brad Little

Other high offices held

Sixteen of Idaho's governors have served higher federal offices or as governors of other states. Nine have served in the U.S. Senate, eight of those representing Idaho, and three have served in the U.S. House, one representing Idaho, one New York, and one the territories of Idaho and Washington. Idaho shares a governor with Arizona Territory, and one was appointed to Washington Territory but never took office. Two governors have been U.S. Secretaries of the Interior, and one served as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Six governors (marked with *) resigned to take a new office, including both territorial delegates, both Secretaries of the Interior, and two senators.

In addition, two people who were appointed governor of Idaho Territory but never took office held other high offices. Gilman Marston, appointed governor in 1870, was a representative and senator from New Hampshire,[44] and John Philo Hoyt, appointed in 1878, was Governor of Arizona Territory.[45]

All representatives and senators mentioned represented Idaho except where noted.

Name Gubernatorial
Other offices held Sources
William H. Wallace 1863–1864 Appointed Governor of Washington Territory,
but did not take office (1861),
Delegate from Washington Territory (1861–1863),
Delegate from Idaho Territory* (1864–1865)
Caleb Lyon 1864–1866 Representative from New York (1853–1855) [46]
Thomas M. Bowen 1871 Senator from Colorado (1883–1889) [47]
Thomas W. Bennett 1871–1875 Delegate from Idaho Territory* (1875–1876) [16]
David P. Thompson 1875–1876 Minister to the Ottoman Empire (1892–1893) [48]
John N. Irwin 1883 Governor of Arizona Territory (1890–1892) [49]
George Laird Shoup 1889–1890 Senator* (1890–1901) [39]
William J. McConnell 1893–1897 Senator (1890–1891) [50]
Frank R. Gooding 1905–1909 Senator (1921–1928) [51]
James H. Brady 1909–1911 Senator (1913–1918) [52]
Charles C. Gossett 1945 Senator* (1945–1946) [53]
Leonard B. Jordan 1951–1955 Senator (1962–1973) [54]
Cecil D. Andrus 1971–1977
Secretary of the Interior* (1977–1981) [41]
Dirk Kempthorne 1999–2006 Senator (1993–1999),
Secretary of the Interior* (2006–2009)
Jim Risch 2006–2007 Senator (2009–present) [55]
C.L. "Butch" Otter 2007–present Representative (2001–2007) [42]

Living former governors

As of March 2013, five former governors were alive. The most recent death of a former governor was that of Robert E. Smylie (1955–1967), who died at age 89 on July 17, 2004. The most recently serving governor to pass away was Don Samuelson (1967–1971), at age 86 on January 13, 2000.

Name Term of office Date of birth
Cecil D. Andrus 1971–1977
(1931-08-25) August 25, 1931 (age 82)
John V. Evans 1977–1987 (1925-01-18) January 18, 1925 (age 89)
Phil Batt 1995–1999 (1927-03-04) March 4, 1927 (age 87)
Dirk Kempthorne 1999–2006 (1951-10-29) October 29, 1951 (age 62)
Jim Risch 2006–2007 (1943-05-03) May 3, 1943 (age 71)




External links

  • Office of the Governor of Idaho

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