Governor of Kentucky
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Term limits:||2 consecutive terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Kentucky Constitution, Article 6, the Executive Department|
|Assumed office:||December 11, 2007|
|Next election:||November 2015|
|Last election:||November 8, 2011|
|Other Kentucky Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Commissioner of Education • Agriculture Commissioner • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Commissioner • Labor Cabinet Secretary • Public Service Commission|
Under Article IV, Section 69:
The supreme executive power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled the "Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
| 2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010 |
Lists of candidates
|Current Lt. Governors|
|Lt. Governor Elections|
|2013 • 2012 • 2011 • 2010|
A candidate for governor is required to be:
- at least thirty years old
- have resided in the state for at least six years preceding the general election
Kentucky belongs to the handful of states that hold off-year elections, that is, elections in off-numbered years that are neither Presidential nor midterm years. In Kentucky's case, elections are held in the year after a midterm and before a Presidential; thus, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the inauguration is always held the fifth Tuesday after an election. Thus, December 13, 2011 and December 15, 2015 are inaugural days.
In the event of a tie, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots, as set out in § 90.
- See also: States with gubernatorial term limits
Kentucky governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait four years before being eligible to run again.
|The Governor shall be ineligible for the succeeding four years after the expiration of any second consecutive term for which he shall have been elected.|
- See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled
Details of vacancies are addressed under Article 6, Section 84.
Whatever the circumstances, if the elected governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, the duties pass to the lieutenant governor. If the governor is on trial for any reason, the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court must be the presiding officer.
Regarding physical or mental unfitness for office, the Attorney General of Kentucky may petition the Supreme Court for a judgment that the governor must be removed either temporarily or permanently.
Substantial power is granted to the governor of Kentucky. Historically, the office has been regarded as one of the most powerful executive positions in the United States.
With regards to the legislature
The governor exercises traditional veto power, which can be overridden by a majority of both houses of the General Assembly. He or she is also granted the privilege of a line-item veto. As with the U.S. President, the governor has the option of a pocket veto. Unlike the federal pocket veto, however, in the event that the legislature dismisses, preventing the return of the bill by the governor, the bill becomes law after ten days unless the governor explicitly vetoes it. (With the federal pocket veto, the bill is considered vetoed after ten days if the legislature dismisses.)
The governor may, in exceptional circumstances, call the General Assembly into special session. This is done by issuing a proclamation that includes the issue or issues to be addressed in the special session. Consideration of any other issues during the session is forbidden. Special sessions are to take place in the state capital except in cases of danger from enemies or disease; in such cases, the governor specifies the location of the session.
The governor is required to give a "State of the Commonwealth" address periodically to the General Assembly. Traditionally, this is an annual address. The governor is also charged with presenting a budget to the General Assembly every other year.
With regards to the judiciary
He or she is granted the traditional executive power of pardon except in cases of impeachment or treason.
With regards to appointments
The governor is given broad appointment power, and names many state commissioners and department heads without the need for legislative approval. The governor is also empowered to reorganize the state government or reduce it in size.
Other duties and privileges of the office include:
- Serving as commander-in-chief of Kentucky's military forces, unless those forces have already been federalized (§ 75)
- Filling all vacancies when the manner is not otherwise prescribed (§ 76)
- Remitting fines and forfeitures, commuting sentences, and granting reprieves, in addition to the judicial pardon (§ 77)
- Requiring written reports from any other member of the Executive on any aspect of that individual's job (§ 78)
- See also: Compensation of state executive officers
The governor's pay is set by law, under § 74, and must be paid as a salary and in no other way, under § 96.
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, in Kentucky there were Democratic governors in office for 18 years, including the last six, while there were Republican governors in office for four years. Kentucky is one of seven states that were run by a Democratic governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.
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.
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear
- Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
- Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mondiardo
- Kentucky Attorney General
- Kentucky Secretary of State
State of Kentucky
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