Governor of Delaware
|Office website:||Official Link|
|2013 FY Budget:||$2,675,600|
|Term limits:||2 terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Delaware Constitution, Article III, Section 1|
|Assumed office:||January 20, 2009|
|Next election:||Term limited|
|Last election:||November 6, 2012|
|Other Delaware Executive Offices|
|Governor•Lieutenant Governor•Secretary of State•Attorney General•Treasurer•Auditor•Secretary of Education•Agriculture Secretary•Insurance Commissioner•Natural Resources Secretary•Labor Secretary•Public Service Commission|
- 1 Current officeholder
- 2 Authority
- 3 Qualifications
- 4 Elections
- 5 Vacancies
- 6 Duties
- 7 State budget
- 8 Compensation
- 9 History
- 10 Historical officeholders
- 11 Gubernatorial residence
- 12 Recent news
- 13 Contact information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
As of October 2014, Delaware is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.
The Supreme executive powers of the State shall be vested in a Governor.
|2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
Under Article III, Section 6 of the Delaware Constitution, the governor must be at 30 years old, a citizen of the United States for at least 12 years on the day of the election, and a resident of Delaware for at least six years on the same date.
The Governor shall be at least thirty years of age, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the United States twelve years next before the day of his election, and the last six years of that term an inhabitant of this State, unless he shall have been absent on public business of the United States or of this State.
Per Article III, Section 2 of the state constitution, Delaware elects governors in presidential election years, that is, leap years. In Delaware, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all gubernatorial election years. The winner is inaugurated on the third Tuesday in the January following an election. Thus, January 15, 2013 and January 17, 2017 are inaugural days.
In the unlikely event that two candidates receive the exact same vote tally, a joint session of the legislature casts ballots to choose one-third of the members of each chamber to make up a special joint committee, which will in turn cast ballots for the governor. In the even more unlikely event that the legislature is similarly tied, the President of the Senate shall have the deciding vote (§ 4).
- See also: Delaware gubernatorial election, 2012
|Governor of Delaware General Election, 2012|
|Democratic||Jack Markell Incumbent||69.3%||275,993|
|Green||Mark Joseph Perri||1.1%||4,575|
|Election Results via Delaware Board of Elections.|
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Delaware governors are restricted to two terms in office during their lifetime.
|The Governor shall hold his office during four years from the third Tuesday in January next ensuing his election; and shall not be elected a third time to said office.|
- See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
Details of vacancies are addressed under Article III, Section 20.
The Lieutenant Governor of Delaware is the first in line to become either the Acting Governor of the Governor in the event that the elected officer is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, either temporarily or permanently. If the lieutenant governorship is likewise vacant, the descending order of succession is the Delaware Secretary of State, the Attorney General of Delaware, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House.
Any of these officers who takes over the governor's duties is understood to have given up her previous office.
In the event of physical or mental inability to discharge the office, the governor may deliver a written statement to the Assembly to that effect. Alternately, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware, the President of the Medical Society of Delaware and the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, acting unanimously, may declare the governor unfit. In either of these events, the lieutenant governor becomes the Acting Governor, pending a vote of the Assembly to make the appointment permanent (§ 20).
The Governor of Delaware is, under § 8 of the state constitution, head of the state's military forces, unless said forces have already been called into service by the federal government. He makes, with Senate confirmation, all appointments mandated by the Constitution and also fills all vacancies that do not have an alternate method for filling vacancies prescribed by law (§ 9).
Excepting the Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and members of the General Assembly, the governor may remove any other elected officer for any cause, provide he secures a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the Assembly (§ 13). Periodically, in accordance with § 15, the Governor must address the Assembly, detailing the state of Delaware and making recommendations.
§ 18 gives him a veto over all bills, including appropriations, subject to a three-fifths majority override in both legislative houses.
Other duties and privileges of the office include:
- Making and sign all commissions granted by the state of Delaware (§ 12).
- Requiring written reports from any member of the Executive on any aspects of the particular officer's job (§ 14).
- Convening extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly by proclamation, adjourning the Assembly when that body cannot agree on an adjourning date, and convening the Senate for executive business (§ 16).
- Seeing to the faithful execution of all laws (§ 17).
Role in state budget
- See also: Delaware state budget
- In July and August of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
- In October, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
- Budget hearings are held with the public in November.
- On or before February 1, the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature.
- The legislature must pass a budget with a simple majority by June 30. The fiscal year then begins in July.
The governor is constitutionally and statutorily 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.
Delaware maintains two major governmental funds: the General Fund and the Special Fund. Within the Special Fund, there are four category types: Appropriated Special Funds (ASF), Non-appropriated Special Funds (NSF), Federal Funds and Bond Funds.
Governor's office budget
The budget for the Governor's Office in the Fiscal Year 2013 was $2,675,600.
Under Article III, Section 7, the governor's salary is fixed by law and, if changed, does not take effect during the current term.
In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $171,000.
In 2010, the Governor of Delaware was paid $171,000 a year, the 23rd highest gubernatorial salary in America.
The Delaware Constitution of 1776 provided for the first executives of the independent state of Delaware. They were known as "presidents," rather than "governors," as they were to preside rather than govern. In keeping with the general reaction to the perceived excessive executive authority of the British, the Delaware General Assembly dominated the government. Accordingly, state legislators elected the president and their legislation became law with or without his approval. Legislation was never subject to any possibility of a veto. Indeed, the state constitution forced the presidents to share what authority as they had with a four person Privy Council, also appointed by the General Assembly. The council was required to approve all appointments and other decisions of the president in order for them to become law.
Upon the passage of the Delaware Constitution of 1792, the office was renamed, "governor," to be elected by direct popular vote, and the Privy Council was abolished. At first, governors served for a term of three years, but beginning with the election of 1832 they have been elected to terms of four years. Since 1896 they have been eligible for re-election, but only for one term. They have been chosen in the same general election as the U.S. President since 1896, and take office the third Tuesday of the following January.
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, Delaware had Democratic governors in office for the last 21 years while there was a Republican governor in office only for the first year. Delaware is one of seven states that were run by a Democratic governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. During the final five years of the study, Delaware was under Democratic trifectas.
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.
SQLI and partisanship
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Delaware 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. For twelve out of the twenty years observed during the study, Delaware ranked in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking. The state dropped out of the top-10 for a period between 1996 and 1999, hitting the rank of 16th before climbing back into the top-10 for eight more years. It again dropped out of the top-10 in 2008 and has remained out of the top rankings since then. Delaware has never had a Republican trifecta, but has had a Democratic trifecta since 2009. In the state’s longest period of divided government, there was a Democratic governor, a Democratic state senate and a Republican state house. Delaware achieved its highest SQLI ranking (3rd) in 2003 and 2004 under divided government, and its lowest ranking (20th) in 2012 under a Democratic trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 16.75
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 7.94
From 1777-2011, Delaware has had 73 governors.
|#||Name||Took office||Left office||Party|
|1||John McKinly||February 12, 1777||September 3, 1777||No parties|
|2||Thomas McKean||September 22, 1777||October 20, 1777||No parties|
|3||George Read, Sr.||October 20, 1777||March 31, 1778||No parties|
|4||Caesar Rodney||March 31, 1778||November 6, 1781||No parties|
|5||John Dickinson||November 13, 1781||November 4, 1782||No parties|
|6||John Cook||November 4, 1782||February 1, 1783||No parties|
|7||Nicholas Van Dyke, Sr.||February 1, 1783||October 27, 1786||No parties|
|8||Thomas Collins||October 28, 1786||March 29, 1789||No parties|
|9||John (Jehu) Davis||March 29, 1789||June 2, 1789||No parties|
|10||Joshua Clayton||February 1, 1783||October 27, 1786||Federalist|
|11||Gunning Bedford, Sr.||January 19, 1796||September 28, 1797||Federalist|
|12||Daniel Rogers||September 28, 1797||January 15, 1799||Federalist|
|13||Richard Bassett||January 15, 1799||February 20, 1801||Federalist|
|14||James Sykes||March 4, 1801||January 19, 1802||Federalist|
|15||David Hall||January 19, 1802||January 15, 1805||Democratic-Republican|
|16||Nathaniel Mitchell||January 15, 1805||January 19, 1808||Federalist|
|17||George Truitt||January 19, 1808||January 15, 1811||Federalist|
|18||Joseph Haslet||January 15, 1811||January 18, 1814||Democratic-Republican|
|19||Daniel Rodney||January 18, 1814||January 21, 1817||Federalist|
|20||John Clark||January 21, 1817||January 15, 1820||Federalist|
|-||Henry Molleston||Died before taking office||Federalist|
|21||Jacob Stout||January 18, 1820||January 16, 1821||Federalist|
|22||John Collins||January 16, 1821||April 16, 1822||Democratic-Republican|
|23||Caleb Rodney||April 23, 1822||January 21, 1823||Federalist|
|24||Joseph Haslet||January 21, 1823||June 20, 1823||Democratic -Republican|
|25||Charles Thomas||June 24, 1823||January 20, 1824||Democratic-Republican|
|26||Samuel Paynter||January 20, 1824||January 16, 1827||Federalist|
|27||Charles Polk||January 16, 1827||January 19, 1830||Federalist|
|28||David Hazzard||January 19, 1830||January 15, 1833||National Republican|
|29||Caleb Bennett||January 15, 1833||July 11, 1836||Democratic|
|30||Charles Polk||July 11, 1836||January 17, 1837||Whig|
|31||Cornelius P. Comegys||January 17, 1837||January 19, 1841||Whig|
|32||William B. Cooper||January 19, 1841||January 21, 1845||Whig|
|33||Thomas Stockton||January 21, 1845||March 2, 1846||Whig|
|34||Joseph Maull||March 2, 1846||May 3, 1846||Whig|
|35||William Temple||May 6, 1846||January 19, 1847||Whig|
|36||William Tharp||January 19, 1847||January 21, 1851||Democratic|
|37||William H.H. Ross||January 21, 1851||January 16, 1855||Democratic|
|38||Peter F. Causey||January 16, 1855||January 18, 1859||American|
|39||William Burton||January 18, 1859||January 20, 1863||Democratic|
|40||William Cannon||January 20, 1863||March 1, 1865||Republican|
|41||Gove Saulsbury||March 1, 1865||January 17, 1871||Democratic|
|42||James Ponder||January 17, 1871||January 19, 1875||Democratic|
|43||John P. Cochran||January 19, 1875||January 21, 1879||Democratic|
|44||John Hall||January 21, 1879||January 16, 1883||Democratic|
|45||Charles C. Stockley||January 16, 1883||January 18, 1887||Democratic|
|46||Benjamin T. Biggs||January 18, 1887||January 20, 1891||Democratic|
|47||Robert J. Reynolds||January 20, 1891||January 15, 1895||Democratic|
|48||Joshua H. Marvil||January 15, 1895||April 8, 1895||Republican|
|49||William T. Watson||April 8, 1895||January 19, 1897||Democratic|
|50||Ebe W. Tunnell||January 19, 1897||January 15, 1901||Democratic|
|51||John Hunn||January 15, 1901||January 17, 1905||Republican|
|52||Preston Lea||January 17, 1905||January 19, 1909||Republican|
|53||Simon S. Pennewill||January 19, 1909||January 21, 1913||Republican|
|54||Charles R. Miller||January 21, 1913||January 16, 1917||Republican|
|55||John G. Townsend, Jr.||January 16, 1917||January 18, 1921||Republican|
|56||William D. Denney||January 18, 1921||January 20, 1925||Republican|
|57||Robert P. Robinson||January 20, 1925||January 15, 1929||Republican|
|58||C. Douglass Buck, Sr.||January 15, 1929||January 19, 1937||Republican|
|59||Richard C. McMullen||January 19, 1937||January 21, 1941||Democratic|
|60||Walter W. Bacon||January 21, 1941||January 18, 1949||Republican|
|61||Elbert N. Carvel||January 18, 1949||January 20, 1953||Democratic|
|62||J. Caleb Boggs||January 20, 1953||December 30, 1960||Republican|
|63||David P. Buckson||December 30, 1960||January 17, 1961||Republican|
|64||Elbert N. Carvel||January 17, 1961||January 19, 1965||Democratic|
|65||Charles L. Terry, Jr.||January 19, 1965||January 21, 1969||Democratic|
|66||Russell W. Peterson||January 21, 1969||January 16, 1973||Republican|
|67||Sherman W. Tribbitt||January 16, 1973||January 18, 1977||Democratic|
|68||Pierre S. du Pont, IV||January 18, 1977||January 15, 1985||Republican|
|69||Michael N. Castle||January 15, 1985||December 31, 1992||Republican|
|70||Dale E. Wolf||December 31, 1992||January 19, 1993||Republican|
|71||Thomas R. Carper||January 19, 1993||January 3, 2001||Democratic|
|72||Ruth Ann Minner||January 3, 2001||January 20, 2009||Democratic|
|73||Jack Markell||January 20, 2009||Present||Democratic|
Governors of Delaware have an official residence at Woodburn, a two story Georgian brick mansion, built by Charles Hillyard, III in 1790 on land that is now located in the capitol city of Dover.
According to local legend, the home has at least one resident ghost, an older gentleman in colonial-era dress. Woodburn is also popularly believed to have been a safe house on the Underground Railroad.
Woodburn was briefly leased to a sitting governor in the 1820s before reverting to a private residence. In 1965, Governor and First Lady Charles L. Terry, Jr. officially secured Woodburn for the state of Delaware. Following Mrs. Terry's refurbishment of the mansion, it became the official gubernatorial residence in 1966.
Woodburn is open to the public, by appointment only, through admission is free.
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William Penn Street, 2nd Fl.
Dover, DE 19901
Telephone: (302) 744-4101
Fax: (302) 739-2775
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- State of Delaware Office of Management and Budget, "Budget and Accounting Policy Manual: Chapter 3 - Delaware's Accounting Framework," accessed April 14, 2014
- Delaware Office of Management and Budget," Budget Development, Planning and Administration - Fiscal Year 2013 Operating and Capital Budget Information," accessed May 28, 2013
- Council of State Governments, "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries," June 25, 2013
- Russ Pickett, "Delaware Governors," accessed November 20, 2011
State of Delaware
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Secretary of Education | Insurance Commissioner | Secretary of Agriculture | Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control | Secretary of Labor | Delaware Public Service Commission |