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Top state executive official original reports of 2013

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December 23, 2013

By Garrett Fortin

The cast of characters among 2013's state elected officials have provided Ballotpedia's State Executive Officials project with reams of data, which have been collected and analyzed. Below, we recap a few highlights from the state executive official reports.

Kate Brown

State executive officials serving in home states

This report considers which state each top ballot state elected official was born in. The top exporters of state executive officials are California and Pennsylvania, with five natives serving as officials in other states. The most underrepresented states are New Hampshire and Oregon, who have no natives in the data set. Two officials were born outside of the US: Tom Horne in Canada and Kate Brown in Spain.

In addition to New Hampshire and Oregon, Maryland and Virginia also have no natives among their top ballot state executives. Conversely, no fewer than twenty states have natives in all their top spots.

Read more: State executive officials serving in home states

Kris Kobach

The education of state executive officials

So we know where our officials were born, but what about their education? This report investigates the most popular schools and degrees among top ballot state executive officials. Nearly all of the top ballot elected officials have a record of higher education education. Of the 188 officeholders measured, only two governors, three lieutenant governors, and four secretaries of state did not cite a degree or school. One overachieving official, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, holds three advanced degrees: a J.D. from Yale and both a Master's and Ph.D. from Oxford.

Yale University and Brown University are the most common sources of undergraduate degrees, while Harvard University is the most popular source for a law degree. Georgetown University also figures prominently as a source of bachelor's and law degrees.

Read more: The education of state executive officials

Jack Markell

State executive official vacancies

This report identifies five key longstanding vacancies among state executive offices. The longest vacancy, in the Delaware Public Service Commission, has gone unfilled for over two years. If you are a resident of Wilmington and have an interest in filling an executive office, Delaware Governor Jack Markell might be interested in hearing from you!

Two top ballot offices have also gone unfilled: Florida and Massachusetts have both spent much of the past year without a Lieutenant Governor.

Read more: State executive official vacancies

Greg Bell

State executive official irregular office changes

Those two top ballot vacancies are symptoms of a year that found no fewer than four lieutenant governors leaving their offices prematurely. This report details the many irregular office changes in 2013. While many of these officials were moving on for personal reasons or to spend more time with their families, one official, former Utah Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell, was quite clear about the reason for his decision: "I need to make some money."[1]

Though lieutenant governors saw the most irregular office changes of the top ballot offices, Public Services and Labor Commissioners had the most irregular turnover. All told, 2013 saw 53 irregular changes, a sharp increase over the 19 irregular changes in 2012.

Read more: State executive official irregular office changes Top state executive official resignations of 2013

David Dewhurst

What are your state executive officials doing in the 2014 elections?

Assuming that they made it through 2013, that is an excellent question. This report charts the various declarations of 2013's incumbents, as they seek re-election or a new office. Though many incumbents have yet to declare, almost half of governors have declared their intention to run again. Their fellow incumbents won't make it easy, however: of incumbents who are running for a different office, 63% are running for governor.

The state with the most dynamic incumbents is Texas, where only Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is running for re-election. Three other incumbents are either gunning for his seat or leaping over him to run for governor.

Read more: What are your state executive officials doing in the 2014 elections?

See also