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Governor of Georgia

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Georgia Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $174,616,781
Term limits:  2 consecutive terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Article V, the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Nathan Deal.jpg
Name:  Nathan Deal
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 10, 2011
Compensation:  $139,339
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Georgia Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of SchoolsAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Georgia is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Georgia. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms. No individual may again hold the office again until four years, a single gubernatorial term, have elapsed.

As of April 2015, Georgia is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Georgia State Legislature, Georgia House of Representatives, Georgia State Senate

Current officeholder

The 82nd and current Governor of Georgia is Nathan Deal (R). He was first elected in November 2010. Deal won re-election on November 4, 2014.

Before becoming governor, Deal was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia from 1993 to 2011. He was originally elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party on April 10, 1995. During part his time in the House, he served as the Republican deputy whip. Before running for Congress, Deal served in the Georgia State Senate from 1981 to 1993.

Prior to entering politics, Deal was an attorney and judge in Hall County, Georgia. From 1970 to 1971 he was assistant district attorney in Georgia's northeastern judicial circuit and from 1971 to 1972, a county juvenile court judge. Deal's next legal position after leaving the bench was as Hall County attorney from 1977 to 1979. From 1979 to 1992 he operated a private practice.[1]


The state constitution addresses the office of the governor in Article V, the Executive Department.

Georgia Constitution, Article V, Section 1, Paragraph I

There shall be a Governor...

Georgia Constitution, Article V, Section 2, Paragraph I

The chief executive powers shall be vested in the Governor


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
Current Lt. Governors
Lt. Governor Elections
Breaking news

Per Article V, Section 1 of the state constitution, the governor must be at least 30 years old on the day he assumes offices and, on the day he is elected, have been a resident of Georgia for at least six years and an American citizen for at least 15 years.

Georgia Constitution, Article V, Section 1, Paragraph IV

No person shall be eligible for election to the office of Governor or Lieutenant Governor unless such person shall have been a citizen of the United States 15 years and a legal resident of the state six years immediately preceding the election and shall have attained the age of 30 years by the date of assuming office.


Georgia state government organizational chart
See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Georgia elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Georgia, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the same day that the Georgia General Assembly convenes. Future inaugurations will occur on the day fixed by legislature to convene itself.


See also: Georgia Gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor of Georgia, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNathan Deal Incumbent 52.7% 1,345,237
     Democratic Jason Carter 44.9% 1,144,794
     Libertarian Andrew Hunt 2.4% 60,185
Total Votes 2,550,216
Election Results via Georgia Secretary of State.


See also: Georgia gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

In the July 20 primary Deal came in second to Karen Handel, receiving 22.9 percent of the vote to her 34.1 percent. The two met in a runoff election held August 10, with Deal winning 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

Deal defeated Democrat Roy E. Barnes and Libertarian John H. Monds in the general election on November 2, 2010.[2]

Governor of Georgia, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Roy E. Barnes 43% 1,107,011
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNathan Deal 53% 1,365,832
     Libertarian John H. Monds 4% 103,194
     NA Write-in 0% 124
Total Votes 2,576,161

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Georgia governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait four years before being eligible to run again.

Georgia Constitution, Article V, Section 1, Paragraph 1

Persons holding the office of Governor may succeed themselves for one four-year term of office. Persons who have held the office of Governor and have succeeded themselves as herein before provided shall not again be eligible to be elected to that office until after the expiration of four years from the conclusion of their term as Governor.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan breakdown of Georgia governors from 1992-2013.
Governor of Georgia Partisanship.PNG


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Section I, Paragraph V of the Georgia Constitution

At any point that the governor or governor-elect is temporarily or permanently unable to discharge the office, the lieutenant governor or the lieutenant governor-elect assumes the office with all its powers and responsibilities.

In cases where the governor is permanently unable to fulfill the duties of the office, the lieutenant governor, as acting governor, will in most cases hold the office until the next general election. If the former officeholder's term is set to expire less than 90 days after the next election (in other words, if it is the last year of the former governor's term) and when the governorship is left vacant less than 30 days before a general election, the lieutenant governor simply completes the elected term.

If both the governor and lieutenant governor vacate their seats, the Speaker of the House of Representatives schedules a special election and serves as acting governor until that date.

Removing a constitutional officer for disability is governed by Article V, Section IV. Any four constitutional officers may petition the Georgia Supreme Court regarding the fitness for office of a fifth officer. That officer shall have a hearing with the testimony of no less than three board certified physicians, one of whom must be a psychiatrist, before being deemed unfit or removed. The Supreme Court may make a determination of either temporary or permanent disability; in the case of the former, they shall also determine when the governor may resume the office.



The governor has a number of powers in state government, set forth primarily in Article V, Section II, Paragraphs II - X of the constitution, including proposing new programs and laws for the state, proposing a state budget for the legislature to consider, vetoing legislation and appointing members of many of the boards in state government.

The governor is both the "conservator of peace" and the "commander-in-chief of the military forces" within Georgia; he is also charged with upholding and executing all laws. There is a gubernatorial veto, which the legislature may override by a two-thirds majority in both chambers. At the start of each regular legislative session and at other times if he deems it prudent, the governor delivers a 'State of the State' to the General Assembly and makes recommendations for laws.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Issuing writs for special elections whenever either the House or Senate has a vacancy.
  • Convening extraordinary sessions of the Assembly, not to exceed 40 days, as well as emergency sessions.
  • Filling vacancies in all offices where the manner is not otherwise prescribed, subject to Senate confirmation.
  • Requiring information from other constitutional officers and members of the executive on any aspects of their jobs and duties.

A majority of executive departments are headed by policy-making boards, whose members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Georgia State Senate. Usually, the boards appoint a department director or commissioner in cooperation with the governor to administer agency affairs. A few department heads are appointed directly by the governor.


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Governor of Georgia has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Georgia state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual budget cycle.[3] The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[4]

  1. In July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
  2. In September agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
  3. Budget hearings are held with state agencies in November and December.
  4. Public hearings are held in late January.
  5. In January the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature.
  6. The legislature adopts a budget in March or April, effective for the fiscal year beginning in July. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.

The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget, and any budget signed into law by the governor must be balanced.[4]

Georgia is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[4]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Office of the Governor in Fiscal Year 2013 was $174,616,781.[5]


See also: Comparison of gubernatorial salaries and Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of elected executive officials in Georgia are determined by state law as mandated in the Georgia Constitution. Article V of the state constitution indicates that the Georgia State Legislature determines salaries for governor, lieutenant governor and "other elected executives."[6]

Article V, Section 3, Paragraph III

Text of Paragraph III:

Powers, Duties, Compensation, and Allowances of Other Executive Officers

Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, the General Assembly shall prescribe the powers, duties, compensation, and allowances of the above executive officers and provide assistance and expenses necessary for the operation of the department of each.[7]


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $139,339, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the governor received a salary of $139,339, according to the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2010, the governor received a salary of $139,339, according to the Council of State Governments.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Georgia
Partisan breakdown of the Georgia governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, Georgia had Democratic governors in office for the first 11 years while there were Republican governors in office for the last 11 years, including the last 11. During the final nine years of the study, Georgia was under Republican trifectas.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82 percent) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27 percent) from 1992-2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Georgia, the Georgia State Senate and the Georgia House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of Georgia state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

Georgia was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Georgia state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Georgia experienced two long periods of trifecta government, both Democratic and Republican, between the years 1992 and 2002 (Democratic) and again between the years 2002 and 2013 (Republican). The state’s lowest SQLI ranking occurred in 1992 (40th) under a Democratic trifecta, while its highest SQLI ranking occurred in 2007 (20th) under a Republican trifecta. Georgia experienced only two years of divided government, in 2003 and 2004, when the state house was under Democratic control. The state experienced its largest jump in the SQLI ranking between 2000 and 2001 (from 33rd to 27th) under a Democratic trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 33.27
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 22.75
  • SQLI average with divided government: 27.00
Chart displaying the partisanship of Georgia government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

There have been 69 governors in Georgia since 1788.[10]

# Name Took office Left office Party
1 George Mathews 1788 1788 Jeffersonian Republican
2 George Handley 1788 1789 None
3 George Walton 1789 1789 Jeffersonian Republican
4 Edward Telfair 1789 1793 Jeffersonian Republican
5 George Mathews 1793 1796 Jeffersonian Republican
6 Jared Irwin 1796 1798 Democratic-Republican
7 James Jackson 1798 1801 Democratic-Republican
8 David Emanuel 1801 1801 Democratic-Republican
9 Josiah Tattnall Democratic-Republican
10 John Milledge Democratic-Republican
11 Jared Irwin 1806 1809 Democratic-Republican
12 David B. Mitchell Democratic-Republican
13 William Rabun Democratic-Republican
14 Matthew Talbot Democratic-Republican
15 John Clark Democratic-Republican
16 George M. Troup Democratic-Republican
17 John Forsyth Democratic-Republican
18 George R. Gilmer
19 Wilson Lumpkin
20 William Schley
21 George R. Gilmer
22 Charles J. McDonald
23 George W. Crawford 1843 1847 Whig
24 George W. Towns Democratic
25 Howell Cobb
26 Herschel V. Johnson Democratic
27 Joseph E. Brown Democratic
28 James Johnson Democratic
29 Charles J. Jenkins Democratic
Military Thomas H. Ruger 1868 1868
30 Rufus B. Bullock 1868 1871 Republican
31 Benjamin F. Conley 1871 1872 Republican
32 James M. Smith Democratic
33 Alfred H. Colquitt Democratic
34 Alexander H. Stephens
35 James Boynton Democratic
36 Henry D. McDaniel Democratic
37 John B. Gordon Democratic
38 William J. Northen Democratic
39 William Y. Atkinson Democratic
40 Allen D. Candler Democratic
41 Joseph M. Terrell Democratic
42 Hoke Smith Democratic
43 Joseph M. Brown Democratic
44 Hoke Smith 1911 1911 Democratic
45 John M. Slaton Democratic
46 Joseph M. Brown Democratic
47 John M. Slaton Democratic
48 Nathaniel E. Harris Democratic
49 Hugh M. Dorsey Democratic
50 Thomas W. Hardwick Democratic
51 Clifford M. Walker Democratic
52 Lamartine G. Hardman 1927 1931 Democratic
53 Richard B. Russell Democratic
54 Eugene Talmadge Democratic
55 Ellis G. Arnall Democratic
56 Herman E. Talmadge 1947 1947 Democratic
57 Melvin E. Thompson 1947 1948 Democratic
58 Herman E. Talmadge 1948 1955 Democratic
59 S. Marvin Griffin 1955 1959 Democratic
60 Samuel E. Vandiver 1959 1963 Democratic
61 Carl E. Sanders 1963 1967 Democratic
62 Lester G. Maddox 1967 1971 Democratic
63 Jimmy Carter 1971 1975 Democratic
64 George D. Busbee 1975 1983 Democratic
65 Joe Frank Harris 1983 1991 Democratic
66 Zell Miller 1991 1999 Democratic
67 Roy E. Barnes 1999 2003 Democratic
68 Sonny Perdue 2003 2011 Republican
69 Nathan Deal 2011 Present Republican

State profile

Georgia's population in 2014 was 10,097,343.

Georgia's population in 2014 was 10,097,343 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 4.2 percent increase from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 168.4 in 2010, exceeding the national average of 87.4.

Georgia experienced a 1.9 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[11]


Georgia fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 28 percent of Georgia residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.

The median household income in Georgia was $49,179 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 19 percent poverty rate in Georgia during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[11]

Racial Demographics, 2013[11]
Race Georgia (%) United States (%)
White 62.5 77.7
Black or African American 31.4 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 1.2
Asian 3.7 5.3
Two or More Races 1.9 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 9.2 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[12][13]
Year Democratic vote in Georgia (%) Republican vote in Georgia (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 45.5 53.3 51.1 47.2
2008 47.0 52.2 52.9 45.7
2004 41.4 58.0 48.3 50.7
2000 43.2 55.0 48.4 47.9

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[14][15]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Governor."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Governor of Georgia - Google News Feed

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Contact information

The Office of the Governor
State of Georgia
203 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Phone: 404-656-1776
Fax: 404-657-7332

See also

External links


  1. Governor of Georgia, "Biography," accessed April 23, 2015
  2. Georgia Secretary of State, "2010 General Election Results:Governor," accessed January 18, 2013
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  5. Budget in Briefs, “Budget in Brief: Amended Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2013,” 159," accessed June17, 2013
  6. Justia, "Georgia Constitution Art. V," accessed February 23, 2015
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ga
  8. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed November 14, 2014
  9. Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
  10. National Governors Association, "Georgia: Past Governors Bios," accessed August 4, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  12. Georgia Secretary of State, "Current and Past Elections Results," accessed April 14, 2015
  13. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  14. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  15. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.