Governor of Minnesota

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Minnesota Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013-2014 FY Budget:  $3,353,000
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   Four years
Authority:  Minnesota Constitution, Article V, Section I the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Mark Dayton.jpg
Name:  Mark Dayton
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 3, 2011
Compensation:  $119,850
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Minnesota Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture CommissionerCommerce CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Utilities Commission
The Governor of the State of Minnesota is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Minnesota. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

As of April 2015, Minnesota is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

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

Current officer

The 40th and current governor is Mark Dayton, a member of the Democratic Farm Labor Party. Dayton was first elected in 2010 and took office in January 2011. He was re-elected in 2014.[1]


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in Article V, the Executive Department.

Under Article V, Section I:

The executive department consists of a governor...


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

Under Article V, Section 2 of the state constitution, the term of office of the governor of Minnesota is four years. Candidates must:

  • be at least 25 years old
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • have been a Minnesota resident for one year before the election


Minnesota state government organizational chart

Minnesota elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Minnesota, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday in the January following an election.



See also: Minnesota gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngMark Dayton/Tina Smith Incumbent 50.1% 989,113
     Republican Jeff Johnson/Bill Kuisle 44.5% 879,257
     Independence Hannah Nicollet/Tim Gieseke 2.9% 56,900
     Grassroots Party Chris Wright/David Daniels 1.6% 31,259
     Libertarian Chris Holbrook/Chris Dock 0.9% 18,082
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,134
Total Votes 1,975,745
Election Results via Minnesota Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Minnesota governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Section 5.

At any time that the governor is unable to discharge the office, the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota succeeds to the office. In the event of a vacancy in the lieutenant governorship, the least elected presiding officer of the Senate, which is to say, the Senate President Pro Tem shall succeed to that office.



The Constitutionally prescribed duties and powers of the governor are quite lean compared to some other states. Minnesota's governor is the commander-in-chief of the state's militia and naval forces and is charged with upholding and seeing to the faithful execution of all laws.

Along with the Attorney General of Minnesota and the Chief Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court, the governor sits on the Board of Pardons. However, the power of pardon does not extend to cases of impeachment. (§ 7)

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Requesting written opinions from any executive officer on any matter relating to that officer's duties
  • Making appointments, with the advice and consent of the Senate, when the offices of the Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, and other state and district offices not otherwise provided for by law become vacant
  • Appointing Commissioners
  • Appointing notaries public


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 Minnesota 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: Minnesota 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 instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in May and June of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held from September through December.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature on the fourth Tuesday in January (this deadline is extended to the third Tuesday in February for a newly elected governor).
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The biennium begins on July 1 of odd-numbered years.

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

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget proposal. Likewise, the legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[3]

Governor's office budget

The Office of Governor and Lieutenant Governor's budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 is $3,353,000.[4]


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

Salaries for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are mandated in the Minnesota Constitution and established by the state legislature. The legislature created a 16-member compensation council, appointed every other January, to put forth compensation recommendations for constitutional officers by April 15th of the designated year.[5]

Article V, Section 4 of the Minnesota Constitution addresses compensation:

...The duties and salaries of the executive officers shall be prescribed by law.


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $119,850, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $120,303.[7]


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $120,303. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the governor was paid $120,303 a year, the 29th highest gubernatorial salary in America.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in Minnesota there were Democratic governors in office for the last three years while there were Republican governors in office for 15 years. For the final year of the study Minnesota was under a Democratic trifecta.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82 percent) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27 percent) 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 Minnesota, the Minnesota State Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Minnesota 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. Minnesota has been under divided government for the entirety of the study (1992-2012) until the state elected a Democratic trifecta in 2012. Minnesota also ranked in the top-5 of the SQLI ranking for the entirety of the study, reaching its lowest ranking (5th) in four separate years. The state hit the top spot twice, in 2011 and 2012, under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 3.14
Chart displaying the partisanship of Minnesota government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

There have been 40 Governors of Minnesota since 1858. Of the 40 officeholders, 26 were Republican, six were Democrat, three were Farmer-Labor, four were Democratic-Farmer-Labor and one was Minnesota Independence Party.[8]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Minnesota + Governor

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

Governor of Minnesota News Feed

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Contact information

Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Toll Free:800-657-3717

See also

External links