Governor of Missouri

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Missouri Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $2,617,906
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Missouri Constitution, Article IV, Section I the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Jay Nixon.jpg
Name:  Jay Nixon
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 12, 2009
Compensation:  $133,821
Next election:  November 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Missouri Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources DirectorLabor DirectorPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Missouri is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch and the highest state office in Missouri. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.

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

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

Current officer

The 55th and current governor is Jay Nixon, a Democrat elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2012.[1]


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

Under Article IV, Section I:

The supreme executive power shall be vested in a governor.


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

A candidate for governor must be:

  • at least thirty years old
  • a citizen of the United States for at least fifteen years
  • a resident of Missouri for at least ten years


Missouri state government organizational chart

Missouri elects governors in the presidential elections, that is, in leap years. For Missouri, 2016, 2020, 2024 and 2028 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the second Monday in the January following an election.


  • 2012 General Election for Governor of Missouri

On November 6, 2012, incumbent Jay Nixon defeated Dave Spence (R) and Jim Higgins (L) to win a second term as governor.

Governor of Missouri General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJay Nixon Incumbent 54.8% 1,494,056
     Republican Dave Spence 42.5% 1,160,265
     Libertarian Jim Higgins 2.7% 73,509
Total Votes 2,727,830
Election Results via Missouri Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

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

Missouri Constitution, Article IV, Section 17

No person shall be elected governor...more than twice, and no person who has held the office of governor..., or acted as governor..., for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected to the office of governor or treasurer shall be elected to the office of governor...more than once.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article IV, Sections 11(a), (b), and (c).

Should a Governor-elect die before taking office, the Lieutenant Governor-elect shall be sworn in as the Governor. At any time that the sitting governor dies, resign, or is convicted or impeached, the [Lieutenant Governor of Missouri|Lieutenant Governor]] shall take over the office. Similarly in the case of a temporary or permanent disability, the Lieutenant Governor is first in the line of succession.

Regardless of the reason for the vacancy, the line of succession after the Lieutenant Governor is the same:

  • the President Pro Tem of the Senate

Whoever serves as Acting Governor shall have the full powers and emoluments of the office.

The Governor may state his temporary disability in writing to the Senate President Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House, at which point the governorship shall be vacant until the Governor indicates in writing to the same two officers that he is ready to resume the office.

A disability board made up of the same individuals in the line of succession as well as the Majority Floor Leaders in each chamber may convene to challenge a governor's declaration that is fit to resume office or initiate a hearing into the governor's fitness for office. If that board chooses to recommend the governor not discharge his office, they will deliver that decision to the President Pro Tem and the Speaker, who will in turn inform the Missouri Supreme Court.

The Court then convenes and has 21 days to reach a decision.

Any state officer who serves as Acting Governor is not considered to have vacated his office; that officer's chief administrative staffer shall discharge the office until the elected officer returns.



Missouri's governor is commander-in-chief of the state military forces in the state of Missouri. (§ 6) The governor appoints department heads and members of boards and commissions, including issuing, signing, and sealing the commission. (§ 5)

Additionally, the governor has power the to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, after conviction, for all offenses except treason and cases of impeachment. (§ 7) Specifically, the governor's pardon power does not include a power to parole.

Excepting bills to convene or adjourn and proposed Constitutional Amendments, all bills requiring the concurrence of both chambers must be presented to the Governor. (§ 8) In extraordinary circumstances, he may convene special sessions of the legislature. (§ 9)

At the start of each regular legislative session, at the end of the governor's term, and at other time she deems prudent, the governor shall address the legislature on the state of the state and make recommendations. (§ 9)

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Making all appointments not otherwise provided for by law (§ 4)
  • Submitting a budget to the legislature within 30 days of the start of each session (§ 24)
  • Exercising a line item veto on appropriations bills (§ 26) and reducing state expenditures in line with revenue (§ 27)


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 Missouri 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: Missouri state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual 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 July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in October.
  3. Agency hearings are held from January through April. Public hearings are held in January and February.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in April or May. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Missouri 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. The legislature is not required to pass a balanced budget, but the governor is required to sign one.[3]

Governor's office budget

The Governor's budget for 2012-2013 was $2,617,906.[4]


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

Under Section 21 of the Missouri Constitution, the governor's salary is fixed by law and, if changed, does not take effect during the current term. Former office holders are constitutionally barred from making claims.

Section 3, Article XIII of the Missouri Constitution created a Citizens’ Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials, which sets the compensation of elected government officials. The 21-member commission meets every two years, and is not to be comprised of employees of the state or any of its institutions nor immediate family members of any person ineligible to serve on the council.[5]


In 2014, the governor earned a salary of $133,821, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $133,821.[7]


In 2010, the Governor of Missouri was paid $133,821 a year, the 26th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

Since 1820, Missouri has had 55 governors. There have been 38 Democrats, 9 Republicans, 3 Jeffersonian Republicans, 2 Union, 2 Radical Republicans and 1 Liberal Republican.[8]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in Missouri there were Democratic governors in office for 17 years, including the last five, while there were Republican governors in office for five years.

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 Missouri, the Missouri State Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

SQLI and partisanship

Missouri was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Missouri 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. Missouri had Democratic trifectas from 1993-2000 and Republican trifectas from 2005-2008. Of the 22 years studied, Missouri never finished in the top-10 or bottom-10. It received its highest ranking of 13th overall in 2000, the most recent year of a Democratic trifecta. Its lowest ranking of 23rd overall occurred in 1993 and 2008, both years of which had government trifectas. In 1993 it was a Democratic trifecta, and in 2008 it was a Republican trifecta.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 18.75
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 20.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 18.33
Chart displaying the partisanship of Missouri government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

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

Governor of Missouri News Feed

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Contact information

Office of the Governor, Missouri
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(573) 751-3222   

See also

External links

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