List of governors of Montana

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Governor of Montana
Great Seal of Montana.svg
Greg Gianforte 115th congress.jpg
Incumbent
Greg Gianforte

since January 4, 2021
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceMontana Governor's Residence
Term lengthFour years, renewable once (limited to eight years in a sixteen year period)
Constituting instrumentMontana Constitution of 1889
Inaugural holderJoseph K. Toole
FormationNovember 8, 1889
(131 years ago)
 (1889-11-08)
SuccessionEvery four years, unless re-elected.
Salary$108,167 (2013)[1]
WebsiteOfficial website

The Governor of Montana is the head of the executive branch of Montana's state government[2] and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[3] The governor has a duty to enforce state laws,[2] the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Montana State Legislature,[4] to convene the legislature at any time,[5] and to grant pardons and reprieves.[6]

The current Montana Constitution, ratified in 1972, calls for a 4-year term for the governor, commencing on the first Monday in January following an election.[7] The governor is term-limited to 8 years in any 16-year period.[8] The constitution provides for the election of a lieutenant governor for the same term as the governor. The two offices are elected on the same ticket;[7] a provision which did not appear in the state's first constitution, ratified in 1889. In the event of a vacancy in the office of governor due to resignation, disqualification, or death, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term. If the governor is unable to perform his duties for any other reason, the lieutenant governor may become acting governor at the discretion of the state legislature.[9] The 1889 constitution made the lieutenant governor president of the state senate,[10] but this provision was removed in the 1972 constitution.

Montana has had 24 governors (ten of whom were actually born within state boundaries), consisting of 9 Republicans and 15 Democrats. The longest-serving governor was Joseph Toole, who served from 1889 to 1893 and again from 1901 until his resignation in 1908 with 11 years in office. He is the only governor to serve nonconsecutive terms. The shortest-serving governor was Elmer Holt, who served less than 13 months when the previous governor died. The current governor is Republican Greg Gianforte, who took office on January 4, 2021.

Governors[edit]

Prior to the creation of Montana Territory (1864–1889), numerous areas of what is now Montana were areas of Oregon Territory (1848–1859), Washington Territory (1853–1863), Idaho Territory (1863–1864), and Dakota Territory (1861–1864).

Governors of Montana Territory[edit]

NOTE: Term dates are for the full, official term of office, see notes column for clarification of dates when men served as governor.

Parties

Democratic (3) Republican (6)

Governors of Montana Territory
# Image Governor Party Term start Term end Appointed by Notes
1 SEdgerton.jpg Sidney Edgerton
    April 3, 1833 – November 27, 1899   
(aged 66)
Republican June 22, 1864 July 12, 1866 Abraham Lincoln Left for Washington, DC in September 1865 to settle federal accounts, obtain federal funding, and obtain reimbursement for personal funds spent on behalf of Montana's government. Resigned after funding issue remained unresolved.[11]
Meagher4s.jpg Thomas Francis Meagher (acting)
    3 August 1823 – 1 July 1867   
(aged 43)
Democratic September 1865 October 3, 1866 As Secretary of the Territory, he acted as governor in place of Gov. Edgerton while he was out of the Territory. He also acted in place of Gov. Smith until he arrived to assume his duties.[12][13][14][15]
2 Green Clay Smith - Brady-Handy.jpg Green Clay Smith
    July 4, 1826 – June 29, 1895   
(aged 68)
Democratic October 3, 1866 April 9, 1869 Andrew Johnson Left Montana in July 1868 to settle federal accounts and obtain federal funds following Thomas F. Meagher's death; remained in Washington, DC. He was ordained as a Baptist minister and became a temperance activist. Officially resigned in April 1869.[16][17]
James Tufts (Montana Governor).jpg James Tufts (acting)
    September 19, 1829 – August 18, 1884   
(aged 54)
Republican March 1869 April 9, 1869 Acted as governor from July 1868, when Green Clay Smith left for Washington, DC to April 1869 when James M. Ashley arrived.[18]
3 James Mitchell Ashley - Brady-Handy.jpg James Mitchell Ashley
    November 14, 1824 – September 16, 1896   
(aged 71)
Republican April 9, 1869 July 12, 1870 Ulysses S. Grant Refusal to include Democrats in appointments made him unpopular; opponents then accused him of criticizing Grant administration policies, resulting in Grant removing him.[19][20]
Wiley S. Scribner (Governor of Montana Territory).jpg Wiley Scribner (acting)
    September 6, 1840 – September 28, 1889   
(aged 49)
Republican December 1869 August 1870 Acted as governor until arrival of Benjamin F. Potts.[21]
4 Benjamin F Potts.jpg Benjamin F. Potts
    January 29, 1836 – June 17, 1887   
(aged 51)
Republican July 13, 1870 January 14, 1883 Ulysses S. Grant Term expired, July 1882. Potts remained in office until successor J. Schuyler Crosby arrived in Montana in January 1883.[22][23]
5 John Schuyler Crosby.jpg John Schuyler Crosby
    September 19, 1839 – August 8, 1914   
(aged 74)
Republican January 15, 1883 December 15, 1884 Chester A. Arthur Resigned to accept appointment as First Assistant Postmaster General.[24]
6 Benjamin Platt Carpenter (Montana Territorial Governor).jpg B. Platt Carpenter
    May 14, 1837 – December 24, 1921   
(aged 84)
Republican December 16, 1884 July 13, 1885 Chester A. Arthur Replaced when Democrat Grover Cleveland succeeded Republican President Chester A. Arthur.[25]
7 Samuel Thomas Hauser.gif Samuel Thomas Hauser
    January 10, 1833 – November 10, 1914   
(aged 81)
Democratic July 14, 1885 February 7, 1887 Grover Cleveland Resigned in order to concentrate on management of business and banking interests.[26]
8 PHLeslie.jpg Preston Leslie
    March 8, 1819 – February 7, 1907   
(aged 87)
Democratic February 8, 1887 April 8, 1889 Grover Cleveland Pro-temperance stance and policy disagreements with Republicans in territorial legislature caused legislators to request his replacement. Later served as Montana's U.S. Attorney and president of the state bar association.[27][28]
9 Benjamin Franklin White (Montana Territory Governor).jpg Benjamin F. White
    December 3, 1838 – December 4, 1920   
(aged 82)
Republican April 9, 1889 November 8, 1889 Benjamin Harrison Term ended when Montana attained statehood. Later served as Speaker of the Montana House of Representatives and a member of the Montana Senate.[29]

Governors of Montana[edit]

Parties

Democratic (15) Republican (10)

Governors of Montana
# Image Governor Party Took office Left office Lt. Governor and Term Notes
1 JosephKToole.JPG Joseph Toole
    May 12, 1851 – March 11, 1929   
(aged 77)
Democratic November 8, 1889 January 1, 1893 [30]
2 John E Rickards.jpg John E. Rickards
    July 23, 1848 – December 26, 1927   
(aged 79)
Republican January 2, 1893 January 3, 1897
  • Alexander C. Botkin (Rep) – 2
3 Robert Burns Smith (Montana Governor).jpg Robert Burns Smith
    December 29, 1854 – November 16, 1908   
(aged 53)
Democratic January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901
4 JosephKToole.JPG Joseph Toole
    May 12, 1851 – March 11, 1929   
(aged 77)
Democratic January 7, 1901 April 1, 1908 Resigned due to declining health.
5 Edwin L. Norris (Montana Governor).jpg Edwin L. Norris
    August 15, 1865 – April 25, 1924   
(aged 58)
Democratic April 1, 1908 January 5, 1913 As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
6 Sam V. Stewart.jpg Sam V. Stewart
    August 2, 1872 – September 15, 1939   
(aged 67)
Democratic January 6, 1913 January 2, 1921
7 Joseph M. Dixon.jpg Joseph M. Dixon
    July 31, 1867 – May 22, 1934   
(aged 66)
Republican January 3, 1921 January 4, 1925
  • Nelson Story, Jr. (Rep) - 9
[31]
8 John Erickson.jpg John E. Erickson
    March 14, 1863 – May 25, 1946   
(aged 83)
Democratic January 4, 1925 March 13, 1933 Resigned so that his successor would appoint him to the United States Senate.
9 Frank Henry Cooney.jpg Frank Henry Cooney
    December 31, 1872 – December 15, 1935   
(aged 62)
Democratic March 13, 1933 December 15, 1935
  • Tom Kane (Rep) - 12
  • Ernest T. Eaton (Rep) - 12
  • Elmer Holt (Dem) - 12
As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term. Died in office while governor.
10 No image.svg Elmer Holt
    October 14, 1884 – March 1, 1945   
(aged 60)
Democratic December 15, 1935 January 4, 1937
  • William P. Pilgeram (Dem) - 12
As president of the state senate, filled unexpired term.
11 Roy E. Ayers.jpg Roy E. Ayers
    November 9, 1882 – May 23, 1955   
(aged 72)
Democratic January 4, 1937 January 6, 1941
  • Hugh R. Adair (Dem) - 13
12 Sam C. Ford.jpg Sam C. Ford
    November 7, 1882 – November 25, 1961   
(aged 79)
Republican January 6, 1941 January 3, 1949
  • Ernest T. Eaton (Rep) - 14, 15
13 John W. Bonner.jpg John W. Bonner
    July 16, 1902 – March 28, 1970   
(aged 67)
Democratic January 3, 1949 January 5, 1953
  • Paul Cannon (Dem) - 16
14 J. Hugo Aronson.jpg J. Hugo Aronson
    September 1, 1891 – February 25, 1978   
(aged 86)
Republican January 5, 1953 January 2, 1961
  • George M. Gosman (Rep) - 17
  • Paul Cannon (Dem) - 18
[32]
15 Donald G. Nutter.jpg Donald Grant Nutter
    November 28, 1915 – January 25, 1962   
(aged 46)
Republican January 2, 1961 January 25, 1962 Died in office.
16 Tim Babcock.jpg Tim Babcock
    October 27, 1919 – April 7, 2015   
(aged 95)
Republican January 25, 1962 January 6, 1969
  • David F. James (Dem) - 19
  • Ted James (Rep) - 20
As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term, and was later elected in his own right.
17 Forrest H. Anderson
    January 30, 1913 – July 20, 1989   
(aged 76)
Democratic January 6, 1969 January 1, 1973
18 No image.svg Thomas Lee Judge
    October 12, 1934 – September 8, 2006   
(aged 71)
Democratic January 1, 1973 January 5, 1981
19 No image.svg Ted Schwinden
    (1925-08-31) August 31, 1925 (age 95)
Democratic January 5, 1981 January 2, 1989
20 No image.svg Stan Stephens
    September 16, 1929 − April 3, 2021   
(aged 91)
Republican January 2, 1989 January 4, 1993
21 Marc Racicot 2008 (cropped).JPG Marc Racicot
    (1948-07-24) July 24, 1948 (age 72)
Republican January 4, 1993 January 1, 2001 [33][34]
22 Judy Martz 2003 (cropped).jpg Judy Martz
    July 28, 1943 – October 30, 2017   
(aged 74)
Republican January 1, 2001 January 3, 2005 [35]
23 Brian Schweitzer official photo.jpg Brian Schweitzer
    (1955-09-04) September 4, 1955 (age 65)
Democratic January 3, 2005 January 7, 2013
24 Steve Bullock by Gage Skidmore.jpg Steve Bullock
    (1966-04-11) April 11, 1966 (age 54)
Democratic January 7, 2013 January 4, 2021
25 Greg Gianforte 115th congress.jpg Greg Gianforte
    (1961-04-17) April 17, 1961 (age 59)
Republican January 4, 2021 Incumbent

Succession[edit]

Other high offices held[edit]

This is a table of the equivalent or higher state and federal offices and other governorships held by governors. All representatives and senators represented Montana. * denotes cases where the governor resigned the governorship to accept the other office.

Other high offices held by Montanans
Governor Gubernatorial term Higher offices held
Joseph Toole 1889–1893
1901–1908
Territorial Delegate
Joseph M. Dixon 1921–1925 U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator
John Edward Erickson 1925–1933 U.S. Senator*
Sam C. Ford 1929–1933 Montana Supreme Court Associate Justice
Sam V. Stewart 1933-1939 Montana Supreme Court Associate Justice
Roy E. Ayers 1937–1941 U.S. Representative
Forrest H. Anderson 1953–1956 Montana Supreme Court Associate Justice
John W. Bonner 1969-1970 Montana Supreme Court Associate Justice
Greg Gianforte 2021– U.S. Representative

Living former governors of Montana[edit]

As of April 2021, there are four former governors of Montana who are currently living, the oldest former governor of Montana being Ted Schwinden (served 1981–1989, born 1925). The most recent death of a former governor of Montana was that of Stan Stephens (served 1989–1993, born 1929), on April 3, 2021. The most recently serving former governor of Montana to die was Judy Martz (served 2001–2005, born 1943), on October 30, 2017.

Living former governors of Montana
Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Ted Schwinden 1981–1989 (1925-08-31) August 31, 1925 (age 95)
Marc Racicot 1993–2001 (1948-07-24) July 24, 1948 (age 72)
Brian Schweitzer 2005–2013 (1955-09-04) September 4, 1955 (age 65)
Steve Bullock 2013–2021 (1966-04-11) April 11, 1966 (age 54)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 4.
  3. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 7.
  4. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 10.
  5. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 11.
  6. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 12.
  7. ^ a b Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 1.
  8. ^ Montana Constitution, Article IV, Section 8.
  9. ^ Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section 14.
  10. ^ Montana Constitution (1889), Article VII, Section 1.
  11. ^ Goodspeed, Weston Arthur (1904). The Province and the States: Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota. VI. Madison, WI: Western Historical Association. pp. 419–420.
  12. ^ Wylie, Paul R. (2007). The Irish General: Thomas Francis Meagher. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 252–272, 303–312, 365–375. ISBN 978-0-8061-3847-3.
  13. ^ "A Memorial to Thomas Francis Meagher on the Levee at Fort Benton, Montana" (PDF). Hibernian. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  14. ^ "Montana Vigilantes". Montana Travel. Archived from the original on August 27, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  15. ^ Burnham, Patricia M.; Susan R. Near (2002). Montana's State Capitol - The People's House. Montana Historical Society. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-917298-83-7. Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  16. ^ Malone, Michael P. (1976). Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-295-97129-2.
  17. ^ Appletons' Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events. XXXV. New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company. 1896. p. 593.
  18. ^ Burlingame, Merrill Gildea (1942). The Montana Frontier. Helena, MT: State Publishing Company. p. 166.
  19. ^ Eblen, Jack Ericson (1968). The First and Second United States Empires: Governors and Territorial Government, 1784-1912. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 283. james m ashley montana removed grant.
  20. ^ Toole, Kenneth Ross (1959). Montana: An Uncommon Land. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780806118901.
  21. ^ Robison, Ken (2013). Montana Territory and the Civil War: A Frontier Forged on the Battlefield. Charleston, SC: History Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-62619-175-4.
  22. ^ Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States. XXIII. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1902. p. 497.
  23. ^ Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana. 2. Helena, MT: State Publishing Company. 1896. p. 387.
  24. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. XI. New York, NY: James T. White & Company. 1909. p. 80.
  25. ^ Spence, Clark C. (1978). Montana: A History. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-393-34856-9. platt carpenter montana replaced.
  26. ^ Pacific Northwest Quarterly. 35–36. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. 1944. p. 340.
  27. ^ Harrison, Lowell H. (2004). Kentucky's Governors. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0-8131-2326-4.
  28. ^ "News of the Profession: Montana Bar Association". Law Notes. Edward Thompson Company: Northport, NY: 236. March 1, 1904.
  29. ^ McMullin, Thomas A.; Walker, David Allan (1984). Biographical Directory of American Territorial Governors. Westport, CT: Meckler Publishing. p. 221. ISBN 9780930466114.
  30. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph K. Toole". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  31. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Joseph M. Dixon". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  32. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: J. Hugo Aronson". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  33. ^ Lewis, Charles (December 20, 2001). "The GOP's New Lobbyist in Chief". Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
  34. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Marc Racicot". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  35. ^ Tribune Staff. "125 Montana Newsmakers: Judy Martz". Great Falls Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2011.

References[edit]

General
Constitutions

External links[edit]