Governor of Idaho

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Idaho Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $128,831,800
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 5
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Butch Otter
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 1, 2007
Compensation:  $119,000
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Idaho Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerControllerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorDirector of LandsLabor DirectorPublic Utilities Commission
The Governor of the State of Idaho is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Idaho. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and faces no term limits.

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

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

Current officeholder

The 32nd and current governor of Idaho is Republican Butch Otter, first elected in November 2006 assumed office January 1, 2007. Otter was re-elected twice, in 2010 and 2014.

Before becoming governor, Otter served three terms as a U.S. Representative for Idaho's 1st Congressional District from 2001 to 2006, before which he served as the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. Prior to entering public service, Otter served on the board of directors of the J.R. Simplot Company, a food processing and agricultural company, where he also worked as director of the food products division. He has also served as president of Simplot Livestock and Simplot International. Otter served in the Idaho Army National Guard from 1968 to 1973; after leaving the military and as he began his career in the private sector, he served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives (1973 to 1976).[1]


The state constitution establishes the office of the governor in Article IV, the Executive Department.

Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 5

The supreme executive power of the state is vested in the governor, who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.


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

Per Article IV, Section 3 of the Idaho Constitution, a candidate for governor is required to be:

  • at least thirty-years old
  • a United States citizen
  • a resident of Idaho at least two years prior to the election

Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 3

No person shall be eligible to the office of governor or lieutenant governor unless he shall have attained the age of thirty years at the time of his election; ... In addition to the qualifications above described each of the officers named shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have resided within the state or territory two years next preceding his election.


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

Idaho elects governors to four-year terms in federal midterm election years, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. Thus, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. The gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday in the January following an election.

If two candidates ever tie in the general election, a joint session of the legislature chooses the winner by a majority vote.


See also: Idaho Gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor of Idaho, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngButch Otter Incumbent 53.5% 235,405
     Democratic A.J. Balukoff 38.6% 169,556
     Libertarian John T. Bujak 4.1% 17,884
     Independent Jill Humble 2% 8,801
     Constitution Steve Pankey 1.2% 5,219
     Independent Pro-Life 0.7% 2,870
     N/A Write-ins 0% 95
Total Votes 439,830
Election Results via Idaho Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

There are no term limits for this office. Out of all of Idaho's state executives, only the Idaho Controller faces term limits.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article IV, Sections 12 and 14 of the Idaho Constitution.

The powers of the governor devolve to the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho any time the Governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, or has been removed from the office. In such instances, the lieutenant governor exercises the office of governor either until the latter can resume the office or until the next gubernatorial election.

Additionally, under Section 14, if the offices of both governor and lieutenant governor are vacant, the office of governor passes first to the President Pro Tem of the Idaho Senate and next the Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.



The governor is responsible for upholding the Idaho Constitution, executing state law and recommending a state budget to the legislature. He is also the commander of the Idaho militia at all times when the state's military forces have not already been called into service by the federal government.

The governor may fill vacancies in any state executive office, including other constitutional offices, when the law does not otherwise provide the manner for filling a vacancy. If the Senate, whose confirmation is required, is in recess, the appointment stands until the Senate reconvenes.

During special circumstances the governor can call for special sessions of the legislature. The governor has the power to veto bills, including appropriations, but must list his objections. The legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. In Idaho the governor also serves as the President of the Board of Examiners and Chairman of the Board of Land Commissioners and appoints department heads and members of boards and commissions.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Granting pardons and reprieves when the legislatively controlled Board of Pardons is not in session, not to be permanent until the Board sits again. Regarding convictions for treason, the Governor may only stay the sentence pending legislative review.
  • Requiring reports, made under oath, from state officials and managers of state institutions, on any aspects of their jobs.
  • Making a 'State of the State' address to the General Assembly at the beginning of each session, including recommendation on prudent courses of action for the state and, somewhat unique among the constitutionally mandated aspect of such addresses, an estimate of the tax revenue the state will require for the coming year.
  • Convening extraordinary sessions of the Senate to conduct specific Executive business.
  • Authorizing and signing all commissions and grants made by the state of Idaho.


  • Idaho Commission on Aging
  • Idaho Commission on the Arts
  • Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • Idaho Office of Drug Policy
  • Office of Energy Resources
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Idaho Commission on Human Rights
  • Liquor
  • Military
  • Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  • Public Employee Retirement System
  • Serve Idaho, Governor's Commission on Service & Volunteerism
  • Office of Species Conservation[2]

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Idaho state budget and finances

Idaho operates on an annual budget cycle with each fiscal year beginning in July. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[3][4]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in June of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor by September.
  3. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Idaho State Legislature five days after the session convenes.
  4. In March the legislature adopts the budget. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.

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

The legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget; however, the budget does not have to be balanced in order for the governor to sign it into law.[4]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Office of the Governor in Fiscal Year 2013 was $128,831,800.[5]


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

The salaries of elected executives in Idaho are determined by the Idaho State Legislature. Salaries cannot be increased or decreased during the current terms of affected officers. In 2014, state legislators passed a bill authorizing annual salaries for executives from 2015 through 2018.[6]


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $119,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[7]


In 2013, the governor's salary was $117,000.[8]


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $115,348. This figure comes from 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, Idaho
Partisan breakdown of the Idaho governorship from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, Idaho had Democratic governors in office for the first three years while there were Republican governors in office for the last 19 years. Idaho is one of eight states that were run by a Republican governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Idaho spent the last 19 years under Republican 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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Idaho, the Idaho State Senate and the Idaho House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Idaho 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. Idaho never had a Democratic trifecta during the period of the study, but the state has had a Republican trifecta from 1995 to 2013, and before that divided government between 1992 and 1994. The Idaho state legislature has been in Republican hands since 1992. The state’s lowest SQLI ranking came near the bottom-10 class (40th) in 1999 and 2000 under a Republican trifecta, while its highest ranking (17th) also occurred under a Republican trifecta in 2007. Idaho made its largest leap in the SQLI ranking between the years 2011 and 2012, jumping nine spots in the SQLI ranking in a single year.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 28.50
  • SQLI average with divided government: 31.00
Chart displaying the partisanship of Idaho government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

There have been 32 Governor of Idaho since 1890. Of the 32 officeholders, 20 were Republican and 12 were Democrat.[9]

# Name Term Party
1 George W. Shoup 1890 Republican
2 Norman B. Willey 1890-1893 Republican
3 William J. McConnell 1893-1897 Republican
4 Frank R. Steunenberg 1897-1901 Democratic
5 Frank W. Hunt 1901-1903 Democratic
6 John T. Morrison 1903-1905 Republican
7 Frank R. Gooding 1905-1909 Republican
8 James H. Brady 1909-1911 Republican
9 James H. Hawley 1911-1913 Democratic
10 John M. Haines 1913-1915 Republican
11 Moses Alexander 1915-1919 Democratic
12 David W. Davis 1919-1923 Republican
13 Charles C. Moore 1923-1927 Republican
14 H. Clarence Baldridge 1927-1931 Republican
15 Charles B. Ross 1931-1937 Democratic
16 Barzilla W. Clark 1937-1939 Democratic
17 Clarence A. Bottolfsen 1939-1941 Republican
18 Chase A. Clark 1941-1943 Democratic
19 Clarence A. Bottolfsen 1943-1945 Republican
20 Charles C. Gossett 1945 Democratic
21 Arnold Williams 1945-1947 Democratic
22 Charles A. Robins 1947-1951 Republican
23 Leonard B. Jordan 1951-1955 Republican
24 Robert E. Smylie 1955-1967 Republican
25 Don Samuelson 1967-1971 Republican
26 Cecil D. Andrus 1971-1977 Democratic
27 John V. Evans 1977-1987 Democratic
28 Cecil D. Andrus 1987-1995 Democratic
29 Phil Batt 1995-1999 Republican
30 Dirk Kempthorne 1999-2006 Republican
31 Jim Risch 2006-2007 Republican
32 Butch Otter 2007- Republican

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Idaho + Governor

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Idaho Governor News Feed

  • Loading...

Contact information

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720

See also

External links

Suggest a link