Governor of North Dakota

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North Dakota Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2011-2013 FY Budget:  $25,291,658
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  North Dakota Constitution, Article V, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Jack Dalrymple 2013.jpg
Name:  Jack Dalrymple
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  December 7, 2010
Compensation:  $121,679
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other North Dakota Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service CommissionTax Commissioner
The Governor of the State of North Dakota is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in North Dakota. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

As of May 2015, North Dakota is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: North Dakota State Legislature, North Dakota House of Representatives, North Dakota State Senate

Current officer

The 32nd and current governor is Jack Dalrymple, a Republican appointed in December 2010 after John Hoeven resigned to become a U.S. Senator. Dalrymple won re-election to a full term in 2012.[1]


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...

Term Length

See also: North Dakota State and County Official Term Lengths, Initiative 5 (1964)

The four-year term length was established after an initiated constitutional amendment on the 1964 ballot was approved. Prior to this, the term length was two years.[2]


A candidate for governor must be:

  • at least 30 years old
  • a resident of North Dakota for at least five years
  • a duly registered elector of North Dakota


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article V, Section 11.

The Lieutenant Governor succeeds to the office whenever the office is vacant for any reason.

If the Lieutenant Governor is unable to serve, the Secretary of State serves as Acting Governor until the vacancy is filled or until the governor's disability is removed.

Additionally, under Article V, Section 10, and Governor who asks for or accepts any bribe automatically forfeits the office.


North Dakota state government organizational chart
See also: North Dakota gubernatorial election, 2012

North Dakota elects governors in the presidential elections, that is, in leap years. For North Dakota, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the fifteenth of December following an election.

If two candidates are tied after the general election, a special joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots to choose among the two highest vote getters.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

North Dakota governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

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

Full history


The governor has the power to sign and veto laws, and to call the Legislative Assembly into emergency session. The governor is also chairman of the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The governor is responsible for seeing that the state's laws are upheld.

The governor is commander-in-chief of the state's military forces, except when they are called into the service of the United States. The governor may prescribe the duties of the lieutenant governor. Additionally, the governor is responsible for presenting the state budget to the legislative assembly.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Seeing that business of the state is "well administered" (§ 7)
  • Addressing the legislature periodically on the state of the North Dakota and making recommendations for legislation (§ 7)
  • Granting reprieves, pardons, and commutations and delegating that power within the confines of the law (§ 7)
  • Making vacancy appointments to all offices not otherwise provided for, with the consent of the Senate (§ 8)
  • Vetoing bills, subject to a two-thirds legislative override (§ 9)


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 North Dakota 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: North Dakota state budget and finances

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[5][6]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in March and/or April of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in June and/or July.
  3. Agency hearings are held from July through October.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in the first week of December.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in April. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The new biennium begins in July.

North Dakota is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[6]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the state legislature is legally required to pass a balanced budget.[6]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Governor's office in Fiscal Year 2011-2013 was $25,291,658.[7]


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

The governor is legally entitled to an annual salary in accordance with Title 54 of the North Dakota Century Code. Taking into account value adjustments, the statute contains compensation figures for the previous and current year only.[8] The governor's pay may not be increased or diminished effective during the current term.


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $121,679, according to the Council of State Governments.[9]


In 2013, the governor's salary was increased to $116,999.[10]


In 2012, the North Dakota Governor was paid an estimated $110,283. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 32 governors of North Dakota since 1889. Of the 32 officeholders, 15 were Republican, six Democratic, five Republican (Nonpartisan League), two Republican (Independent Voters Association), two Republican Organizing Committee, one Independent and one Populist.[11]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in North Dakota there were Democratic governors in office for the first year while there were Republican governors in office for the last 21 years. North Dakota is one of eight states that were run by a Republican governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. North Dakota has been under Republican trifectas for the last 19 years.

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 North Dakota, the North Dakota State Senate and the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of North Dakota's 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. From 1995-2013 North Dakota had Republican trifectas. The state's lowest SQLI rating, finishing 30th, occurred from 1998-1999. In more recent years of the study, North Dakota's rankings improved, moving it into the top-10 from 2009-2012. Its best ranking, finishing 3rd, occurred in 2012.

Chart displaying the partisanship of North Dakota government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

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Contact information

North Dakota

Office of the Governor
State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0001

  • Phone: 701.328.2200
  • Fax: 701.328.2205
  • E-Mail:

See also

External links

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