Governor of Michigan
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Term limits:||2 terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Michigan Constitution, Article V, Section I|
|Assumed office:||January 1, 2011|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|Other Michigan Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Superintendent of Public Instruction • Director of Agriculture and Rural Development • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Director • Labor Director • Public Service Commission|
From statehood until the election of 1966, governors were elected to two-year terms. Elections are held in November and the governor assumes office the following January, except in the case of death or resignation. From statehood until 1851, elections were held in odd-numbered years. A new state constitution was drafted in 1850 and took effect in 1851. As part of the process bringing the constitution into effect, there was a single one-year term of governor in 1851. Thereafter elections were held on even years.
The constitution adopted in 1963 changed the governor's term to four years, starting in 1967. Since then, gubernatorial elections have been offset by two years from U.S. Presidential elections (e.g., Presidential elections were in 2000 and 2004, gubernatorial elections were in 1998 and 2002). The winner of the gubernatorial election takes office at noon on January 1 of the year following the election.
In 1992, an amendment to the Michigan constitution imposed a lifetime term limit of two four-year terms for the office of governor. Prior to this, they were not limited as to how many terms they could serve; John Engler, the governor at the time, was exempt from the rule and served three terms, re-elected in 1994 and 1998 before retiring in 2003.
Under Article V, Section I:
The executive power is vested in the governor.
| 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010 |
Lists of candidates
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
A candidate for governor is required, under Section 22, to be:
- at least 30 years old
- a registered voter in the state of Michigan for at least four years preceding the election
Michigan elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Michigan, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first day of the New Year following an election. Thus, January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2015 are inaugural days.
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Michigan governors are restricted to two terms in office during their lifetime.
|No person shall be elected more than two times to each office of the executive branch of government: governor ... Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the office of governor ... for a period greater than one half of a term of such office, shall be considered to have been elected to serve one time in that office for purposes of this section. This limitation on the number of times a person shall be elected to office shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993.|
- See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Section 26.
In the event of the governor's death, resignation, impeachment and conviction, or removal from office, the line of succession begins with the Lieutenant Governor, the elected Secretary of State, and then the elected Attorney General.
The same line of succession applies if a Governor-elect dies, which the caveat that it is the elected, or re-elected, individuals who would have taken office in the New Year.
For the temporary absence or inability of the governor, the same individuals will take over the office, but only until the governor returns or recovers. Determining a permanent inability of the governor is at the discretion of the Supreme Court of Michigan, which shall take up the matter only after receiving a joint petition from the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If a majority of the Court rules that the governor is indeed unfit for office, that determination shall be final and may only be reversed by the same Court.
Michigan's governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's militia (§ 12), upholds and executes all laws (§ 8), and is the final supervisor of all principle departments of the government. She may initiate court proceedings in the name of the state to enforce all laws, except she may not initiate such proceeding against the legislature. (§ 8)
Respecting the Constitutional upper bound of 20 departments, the governor may reorganize offices of the state government and reallocate functions among those offices. (§ 2) The single officers and the boards and commissions that head each department are gubernatorial appointees, unless their election or appointment by another method is explicitly prescribed in law.(§ 3).
Under § 7, all appointments that legally require Senatorial advice and consent shall be put forth by the governor. Any nominee who is rejected by the Senate is ineligible for an interim appointment to the same office.
The governor may request information and reports from any department and any executive officer, and may remove or suspend such officers for corruption, neglect, and incompetence. Such privileges to remove and suspend officer does not extend to the legislature or the judiciary. (§ 10). In such cases, the governor may make an interim appointment until the suspension is removed or until a vacancy election is held. (§ 11) Concerning legislative vacancies, the governor issues a writ calling a special election to replace both Representatives and Senators who vacate their office. (§ 13).
Other duties and privileges of the office include:
- Granting reprieves, pardons, and commutations except in cases of impeachment. Once a year, the governor must address the legislature stating his reasons for each pardon (§ 14)
- Convening extraordinary sessions of the legislature (§ 15) and moving the meeting place of the legislature when the seat of government is in danger (§ 16)
- Addressing the legislature at the start of each regular session and at other times she deems prudent on the condition of the state and delivering her recommendations (§ 17)
- Submitting a budget once a year that covers the next fiscal period, in which proposed expenditures may not exceed proposed revenues. The governor may also proposes amendments to any appropriation bill under consideration in either chamber (§ 18) If expenditures are later predicted to exceed revenue, the governor shall work with the appropriations committees of both houses to bring spending back into balance (§ 20)
Article V, Section 23 of the Michigan Constitution defines the method by which the Governor's compensation is set:
The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general shall each receive the compensation provided by law in full payment for all services performed and expenses incurred during his term of office. Such compensation shall not be changed during the term of office except as otherwise provided in this constitution.
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, in Michigan there were Democratic governors in office for eight years while there were Republican governors in office for 14 years, including the last three. Michigan was under Republican trifectas for the last three years of the study period.
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 have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
Historical officeholders (1835-Present)
|List of Former Officeholders from 1835-Present|
|1||Stevens T. Mason||1835-1840||Democratic|
|2||William Woodbridge *||1840-1841||Whig|
|3||James Wright Gordon||1841||Whig|
|4||John S. Barry||1842-1846||Democratic|
|5||Alpheus Felch **||1846-1847||Democratic|
|6||Whigilliam L. Greenly||1847||Democratic|
|8||John S. Barry||1850-1851||Democratic|
|11||Kinsley S. Bingham||1855-1858||Republican|
|14||Henry H. Crapo||1865-1868||Republican|
|15||Henry P. Baldwin||1869-1872||Republican|
|16||John J. Bagley||1873-1876||Republican|
|17||Charles M. Croswell||1877-1880||Republican|
|18||David H. Jerome||1881-1882||Republican|
|19||Josiah W. Begole||1883-1884||Democratic (Fusionist)|
|20||Russell A. Alger||1885-1886||Republican|
|21||Cyrus G. Luce||1887-1890||Republican|
|22||Edwin B. Winans||1891-1892||Democratic|
|23||John T. Rich||1893-1896||Republican|
|24||Hazen S. Pingree||1897-1900||Republican|
|25||Aaron T. Bliss||1901-1904||Republican|
|26||Fred M. Warner||1905-1910||Republican|
|27||Chase S. Osborn||1911-1912||Republican|
|28||Woodbridge N. Ferris||1913-1916||Democratic|
|29||Albert E. Sleeper||1917-1920||Republican|
|30||Alexander J. Groesbeck||1921-1926||Republican|
|31||Fred W. Green||1927-1930||Republican|
|32||Wilber M. Brucker||1931-1932||Republican|
|33||William A. Comstock||1933-1934||Democratic|
|34||Frank D. Fitzgerald||1935-1936||Republican|
|36||Frank D. Fitzgerald ***||1939||Republican|
|37||Luren D. Dickinson||1939-1940||Republican|
|38||Murray D. Van Wagoner||1941-1942||Democratic|
|39||Harry F. Kelly||1943-1946||Republican|
|41||G. Mennen Williams||1949-1960||Democratic|
|42||John B. Swainson||1961-1962||Democratic|
|44||William G. Milliken||1969-1982||Republican|
|45||James J. Blanchard||1983-1990||Democratic|
|46||John M. Engler||1991-2002||Republican|
|47||Jennifer M. Granholm||2003-2010||Democratic|
|* Resigned February 24, 1841, to become a U.S. senator
** Resigned March 3, 1847, to become a U.S. senator
Governor Rick Snyder
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
- Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
- Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
- Michigan Attorney General
- Michigan Secretary of State
State of Michigan
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