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Governor of California

Governor of California
Jerry Brown

since January 3, 2011
Style The Honorable
Residence No current official residence
(Former residence: Governor's Mansion)
Term length Four years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Peter Hardeman Burnett
Formation December 20, 1849
Deputy Gavin Newsom
Salary $173,987 (2013)[1]

The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, commander-in-chief of the California National Guard and the California State Military Reserve, whose responsibilities also include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced. The position was created in 1849, the year before California became a state.

The current governor is Jerry Brown, a Democrat who was inaugurated January 3, 2011, and previously served as governor of California from 1975 to 1983.

On October 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM PDT, Brown tied Earl Warren for the longest amount of time served as Governor of California, with 3,925 days and nine hours, then succeeding Warren from that point on as the longest-serving governor in the history of California measured by cumulative service.


  • Gubernatorial elections, oath, and term of office 1
    • Gubernatorial removal 1.1
  • Relationship with Lieutenant Governor of California 2
  • Gubernatorial facts 3
    • Age and longevity 3.1
    • Transition events 3.2
    • Presidential campaigns 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Gubernatorial elections, oath, and term of office

Governors are elected by popular ballot and serve terms of four years, with a limit of two terms, if served after November 6, 1990.[2] Governors take the following oath:

I (Governor) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.

Governors take office on the first Monday after January 1 after their election.

Gubernatorial removal

There are two methods available to remove a governor before the expiration of the gubernatorial term of office.

Impeachment and removal by the legislature

The governor can be impeached for "misconduct in office" by the State Assembly and removed by a two-thirds vote of the State Senate.

Recall by the voters

Petitions signed by California state voters equal in number to 12% of the last vote for the office of governor (with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1% of the last vote for governor in the county) can launch a gubernatorial recall election. The voters can then vote on whether or not to recall the incumbent governor, and on the same ballot, they can vote a potential replacement. If a majority of the voters in the election vote to recall the governor, then the person who gains a plurality of the votes in the replacement race will become governor.

The 2003 California recall began with a petition drive that successfully forced sitting Democratic Governor Gray Davis into a special recall election. It marked the first time in the history of California that a governor faced a recall election. He was subsequently voted out of office, becoming the second governor in the history of the United States to be recalled after Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921. He was replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Relationship with Lieutenant Governor of California

Governor-elect George W. Bush in 2003

The Lieutenant Governor of California is separately elected during the same election, not jointly as the running mate of the gubernatorial candidate. California has had a governor and a lieutenant governor of different parties 26 of the past 31 years. This occasionally becomes significant, since the California Constitution provides that all the powers of the governor fall to the lieutenant governor whenever the governor is not in the state of California, with the lieutenant governor often signing or vetoing legislation, or making political appointments, whenever the governor leaves the state. The lieutenant governor is also the President of the California State Senate. In practice, there is a gentlemen's agreement for the Lieutenant Governor not to perform more than perfunctory duties while the Governor is away from the state. This agreement was violated when Mike Curb was in office, as he signed several executive orders at odds with the Brown administration when Brown was out of the state. Court rulings have upheld the lieutenant governor's right to perform the duties and assume all of the prerogatives of governor while the governor is out of the state.[3]

Gubernatorial facts

Age and longevity

Transition events

Milton Latham
6th Governor
  • One governor has served two terms, and was elected to a non-consecutive third term:
    • George Deukmejian are the most recent living former governors of California who were elected to two terms before the term limits were enacted on November 6, 1990)

Presidential campaigns

Ronald Reagan
33rd Governor
40th President of the United States
  • These governors did not run for president, but were under serious consideration by their party's nominee during their governorship to be their running mate for the office of Vice President, but were not chosen:
    • Republican, 1988) declined being considered because of his vast ideological differences with Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy, who would have become governor if Deukmejian accepted the nomination and was elected to the Vice Presidency.[5]
    • Gray Davis (Al Gore, Democratic, 2000)

See also


  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ Shelley, Kevin (October 2003). "Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for the Office of Governor". California Secretary of State Department. Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  3. ^ In re Governorship, 26 Cal.3d 110, 401 (Supreme Court of California 1979) (“we conclude that the Lieutenant Governor has authority to exercise all gubernatorial powers of appointment while the Governor is physically absent from the state and that the Governor has authority to withdraw the appointment until the confirmation of appointment becomes effective.”).
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Californian Removes Himself From Running for No. 2 Spot". The New York Times. August 5, 1988. 

External links

  • Official site of Governor's office
  • Official California Secretary of State Election and Voter Information site
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