Governor of Colorado

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Governor of Colorado
Seal of the Executive Office of Colorado.svg
Seal of the Executive Office
Jared Polis official photo (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Jared Polis

since January 8, 2019
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceColorado Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once consecutively
Inaugural holderJohn Long Routt
FormationAugust 1, 1876
DeputyDianne Primavera
Salary$123,193 (2019)[1]
Websitewww.colorado.gov/governor

The Governor of Colorado is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Colorado. The governor is the head of the executive branch of Colorado's state government and is charged with enforcing state laws; the governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason or impeachment.[2] The governor is also the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.

Seven people served as governor of Colorado Territory over eight terms, appointed by the President of the United States. Since statehood, there have been 36 governors, serving 41 distinct terms; the longest-serving governors were Richard "Dick" Lamm (1975-1987) and Roy Romer (1987-1999), who each served 12 years over three terms. The shortest term occurred in March 16 and 17, 1905, when the state had three governors in the span of 24 hours: Alva Adams won the election, but soon after he took office, the legislature declared his opponent, James Peabody, governor, but on the condition that he immediately resign, so that his lieutenant governor, Jesse McDonald, could be governor. Thus, Peabody served less than a day as governor.

The current governor is Democrat Jared Polis, who took office on January 8, 2019.

Governors[edit]

Governor of the Territory of Jefferson[edit]

The self-proclaimed Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on November 7, 1859.[3] Jefferson Territory included all of present-day Colorado, but extended about 3 miles (5 km) farther east, 138 miles (222 km) farther north, and about 50 miles (80 km) farther west;[4] the territory was never recognized by the federal government in the tumultuous days before the American Civil War. The Jefferson Territory had only one governor, Robert Williamson Steele, a pro-union Democrat elected by popular vote, he proclaimed the territory dissolved on June 6, 1861, several months after the official formation of the Colorado Territory, but only days after the arrival of its first governor.[5]

Governors of the Territory of Colorado[edit]

The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, from parts of the territories of New Mexico, Utah, and Nebraska, and the unorganized territory that was previously the western portion of Kansas Territory.[6]

Governors of the Territory of Colorado
No. Governor Term in office Appointed by
1 William Gilpin (governor).jpg William Gilpin March 25, 1861[7][a]

March 26, 1862[b]
Abraham Lincoln
2 John Evans.gif John Evans March 26, 1862[7]

October 17, 1865[c]
3 Alexander Cummings.gif Alexander Cummings October 17, 1865[11]

April 24, 1867
Andrew Johnson
4 Alexander Hunt.gif Alexander Cameron Hunt April 24, 1867[11]

June 14, 1869
5 Edward M. McCook - Brady-Handy.jpg Edward M. McCook June 14, 1869[12]

Sometime in 1873[d]
Ulysses S. Grant
6 Samuel Elbert.gif Samuel Hitt Elbert April 4, 1873[13]

Sometime in 1874[e]
7 Edward M. McCook - Brady-Handy.jpg Edward M. McCook June 19, 1874[12]

March 29, 1875
8 John Long Routt.jpg John Long Routt March 29, 1875[14]

November 3, 1876[f]

Governors of the State of Colorado[edit]

The State of Colorado was admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876.

To serve as governor, one must be at least 30 years old, be a citizen of the United States, and have been a resident of the state for at least two years prior to election; the state constitution of 1876 originally called for election of the governor every two years, with their term beginning on the second Tuesday of the January following the election.[15] An amendment passed in 1956, taking effect in 1959, increased terms to four years.[16] Originally, there was no term limit applied to the governor; a 1990 amendment allowed governors to succeed themselves only once.[17] There is however no limit on the total number of terms one may serve as long as one who has served the two term limit is out of office for four years.

Should the office of governor become vacant, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[18] If both the offices governor and lieutenant governor are vacant, the line of succession moves down through the senior members of the state senate and state house of representatives of the same party as the governor;[19] the lieutenant governor was elected separately from the governor until a 1968 amendment to the constitution[20] made it so that they are elected on the same ticket.[21]

Governors of the State of Colorado[g]
No. Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[h]
1 John Long Routt.jpg   John Long Routt November 3, 1876[f]

January 14, 1879
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1876   Lafayette Head
2 Frederick Walker Pitkin.jpg Frederick Walker Pitkin January 14, 1879

January 9, 1883
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1878 Horace Tabor
1880
3 James Grant.gif James Benton Grant January 9, 1883

January 13, 1885
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1882 William H. Meyer[i]
4 Benjamin Eaton.gif Benjamin Harrison Eaton January 13, 1885

January 11, 1887
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1884 Peter W. Breene
5 Alvaadams.jpg Alva Adams January 11, 1887

January 8, 1889
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1886 Norman H. Meldrum
6 Job Cooper.gif Job Adams Cooper January 8, 1889

January 13, 1891
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1888 William Grover Smith
7 John Long Routt.jpg John Long Routt January 13, 1891

January 10, 1893
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1890 William Story
8 Davis Hanson Waite.gif Davis Hanson Waite January 10, 1893

January 8, 1895
(lost election)
Populist 1892 David H. Nichols
9 Albert Mcintire.gif Albert McIntire January 8, 1895

January 12, 1897
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1894 Jared L. Brush[i]
10 Alvaadams.jpg Alva Adams January 12, 1897

January 10, 1899
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1896
11 Charles Spalding Thomas.jpg Charles S. Thomas January 10, 1899

January 8, 1901
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1898 Francis Patrick Carney[j]
12 James Orman.gif James Bradley Orman January 8, 1901

January 13, 1903
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1900 David C. Coates[k]
13 James Hamilton Peabody.jpg James Hamilton Peabody January 13, 1903

January 10, 1905
(lost election)[l]
Republican 1902 Warren A. Haggott[m]
14 Alvaadams.jpg Alva Adams January 10, 1905

March 16, 1905
(declared loser in election)[l]
Democratic 1904[l] Arthur Cornforth
15 James Hamilton Peabody.jpg James Hamilton Peabody March 16, 1905

March 17, 1905
(resigned)[l]
Republican Jesse Fuller McDonald
16 Jesse Mcdonald.gif Jesse Fuller McDonald March 17, 1905

January 8, 1907
(did not run for election)
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
[l]
Arthur Cornforth[n]
(removed July 5, 1905)
Fred W. Parks
17 Henry Buchtel.gif Henry Augustus Buchtel January 8, 1907

January 12, 1909
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1906 Erastus Harper
18 John Shafroth.gif John F. Shafroth January 12, 1909

January 14, 1913
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1908 Stephen R. Fitzgarrald
1910
19 Elias Ammons.gif Elias M. Ammons January 14, 1913

January 12, 1915
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1912
20 George Alfred Carlson in 1914.jpg George Alfred Carlson January 12, 1915

January 9, 1917
(lost election)
Republican 1914 Moses E. Lewis
21 Julius Gunter.gif Julius Caldeen Gunter January 9, 1917

January 14, 1919
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1916 James Pulliam
22 Oliver Henry Shoup.jpg Oliver Henry Shoup January 14, 1919

January 9, 1923
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1918 George Stephan
1920 Earl Cooley
23 William Sweet.gif William Ellery Sweet January 9, 1923

January 13, 1925
(lost election)
Democratic 1922 Robert F. Rockwell[i]
24 Clarence Morley January 13, 1925

January 11, 1927
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1924 Sterling Byrd Lacy[n]
25 Billy Adams January 11, 1927

January 10, 1933
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1926 George Milton Corlett[i]
1928
1930 Edwin C. Johnson
26 Edwin Johnson.jpg Edwin C. Johnson January 10, 1933

January 1, 1937
(resigned)[o]
Democratic 1932 Ray Herbert Talbot
1934
27 Ray Herbert Talbot January 1, 1937

January 12, 1937
(successor took office)
Democratic Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
28 Teller Ammons January 12, 1937

January 10, 1939
(lost election)
Democratic 1936 Frank Hayes
29 Gov Ralph L Carr 1940.jpg Ralph Lawrence Carr January 10, 1939

January 12, 1943
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1938 John Charles Vivian
1940
30 John Charles Vivian January 12, 1943

January 14, 1947
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1942 William Eugene Higby
1944
31 William Lee Knous.jpg William Lee Knous January 14, 1947

April 15, 1950
(resigned)[p]
Democratic 1946 Homer L. Pearson
1948 Walter Walford Johnson
32 CO Gov Walter Walford Johnson.jpg Walter Walford Johnson April 15, 1950

January 9, 1951
(lost election)
Democratic Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Charles P. Murphy[i]
33 Daniel I. J. Thornton January 9, 1951

January 11, 1955
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1950 Gordon Allott
1952
34 Edwin Johnson.jpg Edwin C. Johnson January 11, 1955

January 8, 1957
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1954 Stephen McNichols
35 Stephen McNichols 1962.jpg Stephen McNichols January 8, 1957

January 8, 1963
(lost election)
Democratic 1956 Frank L. Hays[i]
1958[q] Robert Lee Knous
36 John Arthur Love January 8, 1963

July 16, 1973
(resigned)[r]
Republican 1962
1966 Mark Anthony Hogan[n]
1970 John D. Vanderhoof
37 John D. Vanderhoof July 16, 1973

January 14, 1975
(lost election)[31]
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Ted L. Strickland
38 Richard Lamm.jpg Richard Lamm January 14, 1975

January 13, 1987
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1974 George L. Brown
1978 Nancy E. Dick
1982
39 Roy Romer Colorado (cropped).jpg Roy Romer January 13, 1987

January 12, 1999
(term limited)
Democratic 1986 Mike Callihan
(resigned May 10, 1994)
1990
Vacant
Samuel H. Cassidy
(took office May 11, 1994)
1994 Gail Schoettler
40 Bill Owens 2002 (cropped).jpg Bill Owens January 12, 1999

January 9, 2007
(term limited)
Republican 1998 Joe Rogers
2002 Jane E. Norton
41 Bill Ritter official photo (cropped 2).jpg Bill Ritter January 9, 2007

January 11, 2011
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 2006 Barbara O'Brien
42 Governor John Hickenlooper 2015.jpg John Hickenlooper January 11, 2011

January 8, 2019
(term limited)
Democratic 2010 Joseph García
(resigned May 12, 2016)
2014
Donna Lynne
43 Jared Polis official photo (cropped).jpg Jared Polis January 8, 2019

present[s]
Democratic 2018 Dianne Primavera

Succession[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The territory was formed on February 28, 1861, but no governor was appointed until March 25, 1861. Gilpin himself did not arrive in the territory until May 27, 1861.[8]
  2. ^ Gilpin was removed from office for improper financial drafts from the federal treasury.[9]
  3. ^ Evans resigned at the request of President Johnson following the Sand Creek Massacre. The resignation was requested on July 18, 1865.[10]
  4. ^ McCook was removed from office by petition.[12]
  5. ^ Records show Elbert served "less than a year", but his successor was appointed on June 19, 1874, which was 14 months after Elbert took office.[13]
  6. ^ a b The state was admitted on August 1, but Routt was formally inaugurated as state governor on November 3.[22]
  7. ^ Data is sourced from the National Governors Association, unless supplemental references are required.
  8. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Represented the Republican Party
  10. ^ Represented the Populist Party
  11. ^ The Colorado State Archives labels Coates a Democrat;[23] however, a contemporary New York Times article describes him as a Populist elected on a fusion ticket, and that he had renounced all other parties and become a Socialist.[24]
  12. ^ a b c d e The 1904 election was rife with fraud and controversy. Alva Adams won election, but soon after he took office the Republican legislature declared James Peabody to be the actual winner, on the condition that Peabody immediately tender his resignation, postdated to the next day. Peabody's lieutenant governor, Jesse McDonald, then succeeded to the governorship.[25]
  13. ^ The Colorado State Archives says Haggott served from 1902 to 1903; however, multiple sources say he served with Peabody[26] well into 1904,[27] so it is assumed the Archives are in error.
  14. ^ a b c Represented the Democratic Party
  15. ^ Johnson resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[28]
  16. ^ Knous resigned to take a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.[29]
  17. ^ First term under a 1956 constitutional amendment, which lengthened terms to four years.[16]
  18. ^ Love resigned to be Director of the Office of Energy Policy.[30]
  19. ^ Polis' first term expires on January 10, 2023.

References[edit]

General
  • "Governors of Colorado". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  • "Governors". Colorado State Archives. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  • "The Territorial Governors Collection". Colorado State Archives. Retrieved January 18, 2008.
  • The University of Colorado Studies, volume IV. University of Colorado. 1907.
  • Sobel, Robert (1978). Biographical directory of the governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. I. Meckler Books. ISBN 9780930466015. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
Constitutions
Specific
  1. ^ "Memorandum" (PDF). Legislative Council Staff. January 3, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  2. ^ CO Const. art IV
  3. ^ University of Colorado Studies, p. 71
  4. ^ University of Colorado Studies, p. 68
  5. ^ University of Colorado Studies, pp. 75–76
  6. ^ Thirty-sixth United States Congress (February 28, 1861). "An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Colorado" (PDF). State of Colorado, Department of Personnel and Administration, Colorado State Archives. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  7. ^ a b Houston Jr., Robert B. (2005). Two Colorado Odysseys: Chief Ouray Porter Nelson. p. 3. ISBN 0-595-35860-8.
  8. ^ McGinnis, Ralph Y.; Calvin N. Smith (1994). Abraham Lincoln and the Western Territories. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 58. ISBN 0-8304-1247-6.
  9. ^ "William Gilpin". Colorado Governor's Index. Colorado State Archives. Retrieved October 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "Correspondence from W. H. Seward to Gov. John Evans, re: Request by President for Resignation – 7/18/1865". Colorado State Archives. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Alexander Cummings". Colorado Governor's Index. Colorado State Archives. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c "Edward Moody McCook". Colorado Governor's Index. Colorado State Archives. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  13. ^ a b "Samuel Hitt Elbert". Colorado Governor's Index. Colorado State Archives. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  14. ^ "John L. Routt". Colorado Governor's Index. Colorado State Archives. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  15. ^ CO Const. art IV, original section 1
  16. ^ a b "Ballot History". Colorado Legislature. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  17. ^ "Ballot History". Colorado Legislature. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  18. ^ CO Const. art IV, sec 13
  19. ^ CO Const. art IV, sec 13, paragraph 7
  20. ^ "Ballot History". Colorado Legislature. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  21. ^ CO Const. art IV, sec 1
  22. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 1896. p. 450. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "Lieutenant Governors of Colorado". Colorado State Archives. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  24. ^ "General Notes". The New York Times. July 13, 1902. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  25. ^ Powe, Lucas A. (1992). The Fourth Estate and the Constitution: Freedom of the Press in America. University of California Press. pp. 2–3. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  26. ^ Goodspeed, Weston Arthur (1904). The Province and the States: Missouri, Kansas, Colorado. p. 481. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  27. ^ "Shots Fired from Windows". The New York Times. June 6, 1904. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
  28. ^ "Edwin Carl Johnson". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "William Lee Knous". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  30. ^ "John Arthur Love". National Governors Association. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  31. ^ "Former Colorado Gov. Vanderhoof dies at 91". The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press. September 23, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2018.

External links[edit]