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Governor of Arkansas

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Arkansas Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $5,279,815
Term limits:  2
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, Section 2
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Asa Hutchinson
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 13, 2015
Compensation:  $86,890
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Arkansas Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerCommissioner of State LandsNatural Resources Exec. DirectorLabor DirectorPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Arkansas is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch, and the highest state office in Arkansas. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.

Current officer

The 46th and current governor is Asa Hutchinson (R). He was first elected in 2014 and took office on January 13, 2015. Hutchinson succeeded Mike Beebe (D), who was barred by term limits from running for a third consecutive term in the governor's office in the 2014 elections.[1]


The Constitution of Arkansas establishes the office of the governor in Article VI, the Executive.

Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, Section 2

The supreme executive power of this State shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled "the Governor of the State of Arkansas."


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

Under Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, the governor may not hold any federal office, any civil or military commission, any office in another state, or any other office in Arkansas concurrently with his gubernatorial term. Per Article VI, Section 5, the governor must be at least 30 years old, an American citizen, and a resident of Arkansas for at least seven years on election day.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 6, Section 11

No member of Congress, or other person holding office under the authority of this State, or of the United States, shall exercise the office of Governor, except as herein provided.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 6, Section 5

No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor except a citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of thirty years, and shall have been seven years a resident of this State.


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

Arkansas elects governors during federal midterm election years (e.g. 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034). The gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the second Tuesday in January following the election. If two candidates are tied after the general election, then a joint session of the legislature will choose the winner by simple balloting when the Arkansas State Legislature convenes.


See also: Arkansas gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor of Arkansas, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngAsa Hutchinson 55.4% 470,429
     Democratic Mike Ross 41.5% 352,115
     Libertarian Frank Gilbert 1.9% 16,319
     Green Josh Drake 1.1% 9,729
Total Votes 848,592
Election Results via Arkansas Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

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

Arkansas Constitution of 1874, Amendment 73

No elected officials of the Executive Department of this State may serve in the same office more than two such four-year terms.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article 6, Sections 12 to 14.

If the elected governor resigns, dies, is removed, or is otherwise unable to discharge the office, the lieutenant governor is the first to succeed, serving as the governor until an election is held. He also serves as acting governor if the incumbent is temporarily unable to exercise his office. The next in line is the speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. In Arkansas, the lieutenant governor also serves as the president of the Arkansas State Senate.

If the next scheduled general election is more than 12 months away when the acting governor assumes office, he must call a special election, with a minimum of 60 days notice, run according to the same rules that administer a regular election.



The governor is the commander-in-chief of all the state's military and naval forces except when either force is already under federal command.

The governor must deliver periodic (traditionally annual) addresses to the legislature. These "State of the State" speeches concern the condition of the state and includes the governor's recommendation for specific policies and steps. He is required to deliver one such address at the end of his official term.

The governor has veto power over all legislative actions, including appropriation bills, concurrent orders and resolutions. In the case of orders and resolutions, the gubernatorial veto does not extend to an order to adjourn the legislature. Lawmakers may override a gubernatorial veto by a simple majority of both houses.

The Arkansas Constitution grants the governor, "power to grant reprieves, commutations of sentence, and pardons, after conviction; and to remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law." This power does not extend to cases of treason or impeachment. In cases of treason, the governor may grant reprieves with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governor must inform the legislature each time he grants a pardon, along with his reason for doing so.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • issuing and authorizing all commissions and grants made by the state
  • calling extraordinary sessions of the legislature
  • adjourning either regular or extraordinary sessions of the legislature when the two houses are unable to pass a concurrent resolution to adjourn
  • filling vacancies in the offices of Treasurer of State, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, and Attorney General, as well as any other offices that become vacant without an explicit legal course for filling the vacancy


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 Arkansas 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: Arkansas state budget and finances

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[2][3]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in May of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in July.
  3. Agency hearings are held from August through October.
  4. Public hearings are held from October through December.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in November.
  6. The state legislature debates the budget from January through April. The budget must be passed by a three-fourths majority.
  7. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Arkansas is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[3]

The governor is required by statute to submit a balanced budget. The legislature is not legally required to pass a balanced budget, but the governor is required by statute to sign a balanced budget.[3]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Office of the Arkansas Governor in Fiscal Year 2012 was $5,279,815.[4]


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

The compensation of all state constitutional officers is set by Amendment 70 to the Arkansas Constitution. Salaries can be adjusted each year by the Arkansas State Legislature, though salary increases cannot exceed the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.[5]


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $86,890, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]


In 2013, the governor's salary was $86,890.[7]


In 2010, the governor was paid $87,352, the 49th highest gubernatorial salary in America.


The first Arkansas Constitution, ratified in 1836, established four-year terms for governors and the requirement that they be residents of the state for 10 years before election. The fifth constitution in 1874, following the American Civil War and Reconstruction, limited the executive's power while lowering gubernatorial terms to two years and changing the residency requirement to seven years. Amendment 63 to the Arkansas Constitution, passed in 1984, increased the terms of both governor and lieutenant governor to four years. A referendum in 1992 limited a governor to two consecutive four-year terms.

Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for the first 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last year. The Arkansas State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final year of the study depicted a shift in the Arkansas House of Representatives which changed to Republican control for the first time.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 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 Arkansas, the Arkansas State Senate and the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arkansas 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. Arkansas has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have two Democratic trifectas, between 1992 and 1996 and also between 2007 and 2011. Arkansas has ranked in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking for each year of the study. Its highest ranking (41st) occurred in the early 1990s under a Democratic trifecta, while its worst ranking (47th) occurred in 1999 and 2000 under divided government. 2013 was the first year in which Arkansas’s divided government included a Democratic governor and Republican legislature. In all other years of divided government, Arkansas had a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 43.18
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 45.30
Chart displaying the partisanship of Arkansas government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

There have been 46 governors in the history of Arkansas. Of these governors, eight have been Republican and 38 have been Democratic.[8][9]

# Name Term Party
1 James Sevier Conway September 13, 1836-November 4, 1840 Democratic
2 Archibald Yell November 4, 1840-April 29, 1844 Democratic
Acting Samuel Adams April 29, 1844-November 5, 1844 Democratic
3 Thomas Stevenson Drew November 5, 1844-January 10, 1849 Democratic
4 John Selden Roane January 10, 1849-April 19, 1849 Democratic
Acting Richard C. Byrd April 19, 1849-November 15, 1852 Democratic
5 Elias Nelson Conway November 15, 1852-November 16, 1860 Democratic
6 Henry Massey Rector November 16, 1860-November 4, 1862 Democratic
7 Harris Flanagin November 15, 1862-May 26, 1865 Democratic
8 Isaac Murphy April 18, 1864-July 2, 1868 Republican
9 Powell Clayton July 2, 1868-March 17, 1871 Republican
Acting Ozra A. Hadley March 17, 1871-January 6, 1873 Republican
10 Elisha Baxter January 6, 1873-November 12, 1874 Republican
11 Augustus H. Garland November 12, 1874-January 11, 1877 Democratic
12 William R. Miller January 11, 1877-January 13, 1881 Democratic
13 Thomas J. Churchill January 13, 1881-January 13, 1883 Democratic
14 James H. Berry January 13, 1883-January 15, 1885 Democratic
15 Simon P. Hughes, Jr. January 15, 1885-January 17, 1889 Democratic
16 James P. Eagle January 17, 1889-January 14, 1893 Democratic
17 William M. Fishback January 14, 1893-January 18, 1895 Democratic
18 James P. Clarke January 18, 1895-January 18, 1897 Democratic
19 Daniel W. Jones January 18, 1897-January 18, 1901 Democratic
20 Jeff Davis January 18, 1901-January 18, 1907 Democratic
21 John S. Little January 18, 1907-February 7, 1907 Democratic
Acting John Isaac Moore 1907 Democratic
Acting Xenophon O. Pindall 1907-1909 Democratic
Acting Jesse M. Martin 1909 Democratic
22 George Washington Donaghey January 14, 1909-January 16, 1913 Democratic
23 Joseph T. Robinson January 16, 1913-March 10, 1913 Democratic
Acting William Kavanaugh Oldham 1913 Democratic
Acting Junius Marion Futrell 1913 Democratic
24 George Washington Hays August 16, 1913-January 10, 1917 Democratic
25 Charles H. Brough January 10, 1917-January 12, 1921 Democratic
26 Thomas C. McRae January 12, 1921-January 14, 1925 Democratic
27 Thomas Jefferson Terral January 14, 1925-January 11, 1927 Democratic
28 John E. Martineau January 11, 1927-March 4, 1928 Democratic
29 Harvey Parnell March 4, 1928-January 10, 1933 Democratic
30 Junius Marion Futrell January 10, 1933-January 12, 1937 Democratic
31 Carl E. Bailey January 12, 1937-January 14, 1941 Democratic
32 Homer M. Adkins January 14, 1941-January 9, 1945 Democratic
33 Benjamin T. Laney January 9, 1945-January 11, 1949 Democratic
34 Sid McMath January 11, 1949-January 13, 1953 Democratic
35 Francis A. Cherry January 13, 1953-January 11, 1955 Democratic
36 Orval A. Faubus January 11, 1955-January 10, 1967 Democratic
37 Winthrop Rockefeller January 10, 1967-January 12, 1971 Republican
38 Dale Bumpers January 12, 1971-January 2, 1975 Democratic
39 David H. Pryor January 14, 1975-January 3, 1979 Democratic
40 Bill Clinton January 9, 1979-January 13, 1981 Democratic
41 Frank D. White January 19, 1981-January 11, 1983 Republican
42 Bill Clinton January 11, 1983-December 12, 1992 Democratic
43 Jim Guy Tucker December 12, 1992-July 15, 1996 Democratic
44 Mike Huckabee July 15, 1996-January 9, 2007 Republican
45 Mike Beebe January 9, 2007-January 13, 2015 Democratic
46 Asa Hutchinson January 13, 2015-present Republican

Recent news

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Governor of Arkansas - Google News Feed

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Contact information


State Capitol Room 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

See also

External links

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