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Governor of Michigan

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Michigan Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $5,370,000
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Michigan Constitution, Article V, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Rick Snyder.jpg
Name:  Rick Snyder
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 1, 2011
Compensation:  $159,300
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Michigan Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of Public InstructionDirector of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor DirectorPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Michigan is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Michigan. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.[1]

From statehood until the election of 1966, governors were elected to two-year terms. Elections are held in November and the governor assumes office the following January, except in the case of death or resignation. From statehood until 1851, elections were held in odd-numbered years. A new state constitution was drafted in 1850 and took effect in 1851. As part of the process bringing the constitution into effect, there was a single one-year term of governor in 1851. Thereafter elections were held on even years.

The constitution adopted in 1963 changed the governor's term to four years, starting in 1967. Since then, gubernatorial elections have been offset by two years from U.S. presidential elections (e.g., presidential elections were in 2000 and 2004, gubernatorial elections were in 1998 and 2002). The winner of the gubernatorial election takes office at noon on January 1 of the year following the election.

In 1992, an amendment to the Michigan constitution imposed a lifetime term limit of two four-year terms for the office of governor. Prior to this, they were not limited as to how many terms they could serve; John Engler, the governor at the time, was exempt from the rule and served three terms, re-elected in 1994 and 1998 before retiring in 2003.

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

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

Current officeholder

The 48th and current governor is Rick Snyder, a Republican elected in 2010.[2]


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

Under Article V, Section I:

The executive power is vested in the governor.


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

A candidate for governor is required, under Section 22, to be:

  • at least 30 years old
  • a registered voter in the state of Michigan for at least four years preceding the election


Michigan state government organizational chart

Michigan elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Michigan, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first day of the New Year following an election.



See also: Michigan gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRick Snyder/Brian Calley Incumbent 50.9% 1,607,399
     Democratic Mark Schauer/Lisa Brown 46.9% 1,479,057
     Libertarian Mary Buzuma/Scott Boman 1.1% 35,723
     U.S. Taxpayers Mark McFarlin/Richard Mendoza 0.6% 19,368
     Green Paul Homeniuk/Candace R. Caveny 0.5% 14,934
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 50
Total Votes 3,156,531
Election Results via Michigan Department of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Michigan governors are restricted to two terms in office during their lifetime.

Michigan Constitution, Article V, Section 30

No person shall be elected more than two times to each office of the executive branch of government: governor ... Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the office of governor ... for a period greater than one half of a term of such office, shall be considered to have been elected to serve one time in that office for purposes of this section. This limitation on the number of times a person shall be elected to office shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Section 26.

In the event of the governor's death, resignation, impeachment and conviction, or removal from office, the line of succession begins with the Lieutenant Governor, the elected Secretary of State, and then the elected Attorney General.

The same line of succession applies if a Governor-elect dies, which the caveat that it is the elected, or re-elected, individuals who would have taken office in the New Year.

For the temporary absence or inability of the governor, the same individuals will take over the office, but only until the governor returns or recovers. Determining a permanent inability of the governor is at the discretion of the Supreme Court of Michigan, which shall take up the matter only after receiving a joint petition from the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If a majority of the Court rules that the governor is indeed unfit for office, that determination shall be final and may only be reversed by the same Court.



Michigan's governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's militia (§ 12), upholds and executes all laws (§ 8), and is the final supervisor of all principle departments of the government. She may initiate court proceedings in the name of the state to enforce all laws, except she may not initiate such proceeding against the legislature. (§ 8)

Respecting the Constitutional upper bound of 20 departments, the governor may reorganize offices of the state government and reallocate functions among those offices. (§ 2) The single officers and the boards and commissions that head each department are gubernatorial appointees, unless their election or appointment by another method is explicitly prescribed in law.(§ 3).

Under § 7, all appointments that legally require Senatorial advice and consent shall be put forth by the governor. Any nominee who is rejected by the Senate is ineligible for an interim appointment to the same office.

The governor may request information and reports from any department and any executive officer, and may remove or suspend such officers for corruption, neglect, and incompetence. Such privileges to remove and suspend officer does not extend to the legislature or the judiciary. (§ 10). In such cases, the governor may make an interim appointment until the suspension is removed or until a vacancy election is held. (§ 11) Concerning legislative vacancies, the governor issues a writ calling a special election to replace both Representatives and Senators who vacate their office. (§ 13).

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Granting reprieves, pardons, and commutations except in cases of impeachment. Once a year, the governor must address the legislature stating his reasons for each pardon (§ 14)
  • Convening extraordinary sessions of the legislature (§ 15) and moving the meeting place of the legislature when the seat of government is in danger (§ 16)
  • Addressing the legislature at the start of each regular session and at other times she deems prudent on the condition of the state and delivering her recommendations (§ 17)
  • Submitting a budget once a year that covers the next fiscal period, in which proposed expenditures may not exceed proposed revenues. The governor may also proposes amendments to any appropriation bill under consideration in either chamber (§ 18) If expenditures are later predicted to exceed revenue, the governor shall work with the appropriations committees of both houses to bring spending back into balance (§ 20)


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 Michigan 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: Michigan state budget and finances

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

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in August of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their requests to the governor in November.
  3. Agency hearings are held in December.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in February.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in June or July. The fiscal year begins October 1.

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

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the state legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[4]

Governor's office budget

The Executive Office's budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which includes the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor, was $5,370,000.[5]

Summer home

Michigan is the only state that owns and maintains a summer home strictly for the governor. The home, known as the Lawrence Young cottage, sits on a bluff on Mackinac Island. Purchased by the state in 1944, it is 7,100 square feet, with 11 bedrooms and 9 1/2 baths.[6]


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

The Michigan Constitution allows that the compensation for the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general shall be provided by law, and is not to be altered during the term of office. Established under Article IV, Section 12 of the Michigan Constitution, the State Officers Compensation Commission was created to determine the salaries of select public officials. The seven-member, government appointed commission meets every two years. The commission may propose compensation increases, but may only propose a reduction in salary if the proposed amount is equal to or higher than the salary in place when the official took office. Once approved by the legislature, compensation is effective during the legislative session following the subsequent general election.[7]

Article V, Section 23 of the Michigan Constitution:

The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general shall each receive the compensation provided by law in full payment for all services performed and expenses incurred during his term of office. Such compensation shall not be changed during the term of office except as otherwise provided in this constitution.


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $159,300, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the governor's salary was $159,300. However, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) returned all but $1 of his salary.[9]


In 2012, the Michigan Governor was paid an estimated $177,000 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, Michigan
Partisan breakdown of the Michigan governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013 in Michigan, there were Democratic governors in office for eight years while there were Republican governors in office for 14 years, including the last three. Michigan was under Republican trifectas for the last three years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) 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 Michigan, the Michigan State Senate and the Michigan House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Massachusetts 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. Michigan has had spurts of divided government and a Republican trifecta. The state had a Republican trifecta during three separate periods (1995-1996, 1999-2002, and 2011-2013) and divided government during three separate periods (1992-1994, 1997-1998, and 2003-2010). The state’s highest SQLI ranking came in 1999 under a Republican trifecta (19th). Beginning in 2007, Michigan has slipped into the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking and has remained there since. Michigan saw its most precipitous drop in the SQLI ranking between 2001 and 2002 and again between 2003 and 2004, under both a Republican trifecta and divided government, respectively. The state had not had a Democratic trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 26.88
  • SQLI average with divided government: 33.31
Chart displaying the partisanship of Michigan government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders (1835-Present)

There have been 48 Governors of Michigan since 1835. Of the 48 governors, 17 were Democratic, 28 were Republican, two were Whigs and one was Democratic (Fusionist).[10]

# Name Term Party
1 Stevens T. Mason 1835-1840 Democratic
2 William Woodbridge 1840-1841 Whig
3 James Wright Gordon 1841-1842 Whig
4 John S. Barry 1842-1846 Democratic
5 Alpheus Felch 1846-1847 Democratic
6 William L. Greenly 1847-1848 Democratic
7 Epaphroditus Ranson 1848-1850 Democratic
8 John S. Barry 1850-1852 Democratic
9 Robert McClelland 1852-1853 Democratic
10 Andrew Parsons 1853-1855 Democratic
11 Kinsley S. Bingham 1855-1859 Republican
12 Moses Wisner 1859-1861 Republican
13 Austin Blair 1861-1865 Republican
14 Henry H. Crapo 1865-1869 Republican
15 Henry P. Baldwin 1869-1873 Republican
16 John J. Bagley 1873-1877 Republican
17 Charles M. Croswell 1877-1881 Republican
18 David H. Jerome 1881-1883 Republican
19 Josiah W. Begole 1883-1885 Democratic (Fusionist)
20 Russell A. Alger 1885-1887 Republican
21 Cyrus G. Luce 1887-1891 Republican
22 Edwin B. Winans 1891-1893 Democratic
23 John T. Rich 1893-1897 Republican
24 Hazen S. Pingree 1897-1901 Republican
25 Aaron T. Bliss 1901-1905 Republican
26 Fred M. Warner 1905-1911 Republican
27 Chase S. Osborn 1911-1913 Republican
28 Woodbridge N. Ferris 1913-1917 Democratic
29 Albert E. Sleeper Republican
30 Alexander J. Groesbeck 1921-1927 Republican
31 Fred M. Green 1927-1931 Republican
32 Wilber M. Brucker 1931-1933 Republican
33 William A. Comstock 1933-1935 Democratic
34 Frank D. Fitzgerald 1935-1937 Republican
35 Frank Murphy 1937-1939 Democratic
36 Frank D. Fitzgerald 1939 Republican
37 Luren D. Dickinson 1939-1941 Republican
38 Murray D. Van Wagoner 1941-1943 Democratic
39 Harry F. Kelly 1943-1947 Republican
40 Kim Sigler 1947-1949 Republican
41 G. Mennen Williams 1949-1961 Democratic
42 John B. Swainson 1961-1963 Democratic
43 George Romney 1963-1969 Republican
44 William G. Milliken 1969-1983 Republican
45 James J. Blanchard 1983-1991 Democratic
46 John M. Engler 1991-2003 Republican
47 Jennifer M. Granholm 2003-2011 Democratic
48 Rick Snyder 2011- Republican

Recent news

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Contact information

Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
FAX:(517) 335-6863

See also

External links

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