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List of governors of Colorado

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List of governors of Colorado

Governor of the State of Colorado
Executive Seal
The Honorable
Residence Colorado Governor's Mansion
Term length Four years, can succeed self once
Inaugural holder John Long Routt
Formation August 1, 1876
Deputy Joseph A. Garcia
Salary $90,000 (2009)[1]

The Governor of the State of Colorado is the head of the executive branch of U.S State of Colorado'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 Colorado General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason or impeachment.[2]

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 and Roy Romer, who each served twelve years over three terms. The shortest term occurred on March 17, 1905, a day when the state had three governors: 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 only a few minutes as governor.

The current governor is John Hickenlooper, who took office on January 11, 2011.


Governor of the Territory of Jefferson

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

For the period before Colorado Territory was formed, see the lists of Governors of New Mexico Territory, Utah Territory, Kansas Territory, and Nebraska Territory.

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]

# Governor Took office Left office Appointed by Notes
1   Gilpin, WilliamWilliam Gilpin [7] Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln [lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2]
2   Evans, JohnJohn Evans [7] Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln [lower-alpha 3]
3   Cummings, AlexanderAlexander Cummings [11] Johnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson
4   Hunt, Alexander CameronAlexander Cameron Hunt [11] Johnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson
5   McCook, Edward M.Edward M. McCook [12] Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant [lower-alpha 4]
6   Elbert, Samuel HittSamuel Hitt Elbert [13] Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant [lower-alpha 5]
7   McCook, Edward M.Edward M. McCook [12] Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant
8   Routt, John LongJohn Long Routt [14] Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant

Governors of the State of Colorado

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]

      Republican (19)[lower-alpha 6]       Democratic (22)[lower-alpha 7]       People's (1)

#[lower-alpha 8] Governor Term start Term end Party Lt. Governor[lower-alpha 9] Terms[lower-alpha 10]
1   John Long Routt August 1, 1876 January 14, 1879 Republican   Lafayette Head 1
2 Frederick Walker Pitkin January 14, 1879 January 9, 1883 Republican Horace Austin Warner Tabor 2
3 James Benton Grant January 9, 1883 January 13, 1885 Democratic William H. Meyer[lower-alpha 11] 1
4 Benjamin Harrison Eaton January 13, 1885 January 11, 1887 Republican Peter W. Breene 1
5 Alva Adams January 11, 1887 January 8, 1889 Democratic Norman H. Meldrum 1
6 Job Adams Cooper January 8, 1889 January 13, 1891 Republican William Grover Smith 1
7 John Long Routt January 13, 1891 January 10, 1893 Republican William Story 1
8 Davis Hanson Waite January 10, 1893 January 8, 1895 People's David Hopkinson Nichols 1
9 Albert Washington McIntire January 8, 1895 January 12, 1897 Republican Jared L. Brush 1
10 Alva Adams January 12, 1897 January 10, 1899 Democratic Jared L. Brush[lower-alpha 11] 1
11 Charles Spalding Thomas January 10, 1899 January 8, 1901 Democratic Francis Patrick Carney[lower-alpha 12] 1
12 James Bradley Orman January 8, 1901 January 13, 1903 Democratic David C. Coates[lower-alpha 13] 1
13 James Hamilton Peabody January 13, 1903 January 10, 1905 Republican Warren A. Haggott[lower-alpha 14] 1
14 Alva Adams January 10, 1905 March 17, 1905 Democratic Arthur Cornforth 13[lower-alpha 15]
15 James Hamilton Peabody March 17, 1905 March 17, 1905 Republican Jesse Fuller McDonald 13[lower-alpha 15]
16 Jesse Fuller McDonald March 17, 1905 January 8, 1907 Republican Fred W. Parks 13[lower-alpha 15]
17 Henry Augustus Buchtel January 8, 1907 January 12, 1909 Republican Erastus Harper 1
18 John F. Shafroth January 12, 1909 January 14, 1913 Democratic Stephen R. Fitzgarrald 2
19 Elias M. Ammons January 14, 1913 January 12, 1915 Democratic Stephen R. Fitzgarrald 1
20 George Alfred Carlson January 12, 1915 January 9, 1917 Republican Moses E. Lewis 1
21 Julius Caldeen Gunter January 9, 1917 January 14, 1919 Democratic James A. Pulliam 1
22 Oliver Henry Shoup January 14, 1919 January 9, 1923 Republican George Stepham 2
Earl Cooley
23 William Ellery Sweet January 9, 1923 January 13, 1925 Democratic Robert F. Rockwell[lower-alpha 11] 1
24 Clarence Morley January 13, 1925 January 11, 1927 Republican Sterling Byrd Lacy[lower-alpha 16] 1
25 Billy Adams January 11, 1927 January 10, 1933 Democratic George Milton Corlett[lower-alpha 11] 3
Edwin C. Johnson
26 Edwin C. Johnson January 10, 1933 January 1, 1937 Democratic Ray Herbert Talbot 1 12[lower-alpha 17]
27 Ray Herbert Talbot January 1, 1937 January 12, 1937 Democratic vacant 12[lower-alpha 18]
28 Teller Ammons January 12, 1937 January 10, 1939 Democratic Frank J. Hayes 1
29 Ralph Lawrence Carr January 10, 1939 January 12, 1943 Republican John Charles Vivian 2
30 John Charles Vivian January 12, 1943 January 14, 1947 Republican William Eugene Higby 2
31 William Lee Knous January 14, 1947 April 15, 1950 Democratic Homer L. Pearson 1 12[lower-alpha 19]
Walter Walford Johnson
32 Walter Walford Johnson April 15, 1950 January 9, 1951 Democratic Charles P. Murphy[lower-alpha 11] 12[lower-alpha 18]
33 Daniel I.J. Thornton January 9, 1951 January 11, 1955 Republican Gordon L. Allott 2
34 Edwin C. Johnson January 11, 1955 January 8, 1957 Democratic Stephen L.R. McNichols 1
35 Stephen L.R. McNichols January 8, 1957 January 8, 1963 Democratic Frank L. Hays[lower-alpha 11] 2[lower-alpha 20]
Robert Lee Knous
36 John Arthur Love January 8, 1963 July 16, 1973 Republican Robert Lee Knous[lower-alpha 16] 2 12[lower-alpha 21]
Mark Anthony Hogan[lower-alpha 16]
John David Vanderhoof
37 John David Vanderhoof July 16, 1973 January 14, 1975 Republican Ted L. Strickland 12[lower-alpha 18]
38 Richard "Dick" Lamm January 14, 1975 January 13, 1987 Democratic George L. Brown 3
Nancy E. Dick
39 Roy Romer January 13, 1987 January 12, 1999 Democratic Mike Callihan 3
Samuel H. Cassidy
Gail Schoettler
40 Bill Owens January 12, 1999 January 9, 2007 Republican Joe Rogers 2
Jane E. Norton
41 Bill Ritter January 9, 2007 January 11, 2011 Democratic Barbara O'Brien 1
42 John Hickenlooper January 11, 2011 Incumbent Democratic Joseph A. Garcia 1[lower-alpha 22]

Other high offices held

Three of Colorado's governors have served other high offices, all three representing Colorado in the U.S. Senate and one of those also representing the state in the U.S. House. One (marked with *) resigned to take his seat in the Senate.

Governor Gubernatorial term Other offices held Source
Thomas, Charles SpaldingCharles Spalding Thomas 1899–1901 Senator [26]
Shafroth, John FranklinJohn Franklin Shafroth 1909–1913 Representative, Senator [27]
Johnson, Edwin CarlEdwin Carl Johnson 1933–1937, 1955–1957 Senator* [28]

Living former governors

As of October 2013, four former governors were alive. The most recent death of a former governor was that of John David Vanderhoof (1973–1975), who died on September 19, 2013.

Governor Term of office Date of birth
Richard "Dick" Lamm 1975–1987 (1935-09-12) September 12, 1935 (age 78)
Roy Romer 1987–1999 (1928-10-31) October 31, 1928 (age 85)
Bill Owens 1999–2007 (1950-10-22) October 22, 1950 (age 63)
Bill Ritter 2007–2011 (1956-09-06) September 6, 1956 (age 57)

See also




External links

  • Office of the Governor of Colorado
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