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Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin

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Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $393,500
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Wisconsin Constitution, Article V, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Rebecca Kleefisch 2.jpg
Name:  Rebecca Kleefisch
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 3, 2011
Compensation:  $76,261
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Wisconsin Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Lieutenant Governor of the State of Wisconsin is an elected constitutional officer, the second ranking officer of the Executive branch, and the first officer in line to succeed the Governor of Wisconsin. The Lieutenant Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit.

Current officer

See also: Current Lieutenant Governors

The 44th and current lieutenant governor is Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican elected in 2010.


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

Under Article V, Section I:

The executive power shall be vested in a governor who shall hold office for 4 years; a lieutenant governor shall be elected at the same time and for the same term.


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

In order to be eligible for the office of lieutenant governor, a candidate must be :

  • a citizen of the United States
  • a qualified elector of Wisconsin

Additionally general requirements to hold office in Wisconsin stipulate that no candidate may:

  • hold any office, honor or profit under any foreign power
  • hold any federal office
  • be a convicted felon
  • be convicted of any misdemeanor involving a violation of the public trust


Details of vacancies are addressed under Article V, Sections 7 and 8.

If the lieutenant governor becomes governor, he or she is required to nominate a new lieutenant governor. However, the successor must be confirmed by the Senate and the Assembly.

If the actual elected lieutenant governor is unable to continue serving or is removed, dies, or resigns, the Governor nominates a replacement, subject to confirmation by the Senate and then the entire Assembly.



Should the governor designate the lieutenant governor to a board or commission the lieutenant governor is given all the authority and responsibility granted by law to the governor.

The Lieutenant Governor becomes the Governor upon the death, resignation, or removal of the elected Governor of Wisconsin. She also become Acting Governor upon the absence, illness, or inability to serve of the elected Governor.

At one time, the Lieutenant Governor was the President of the Senate and could cast a tie breaking vote; however, following the Amendment in 1979, the elected Senators now choose their own presiding officer.


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

Wisconsin elects lieutenant governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Wisconsin, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the lieutenant gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday in the January following an election. Thus, January 3, 2011, and January 5, 2015, are inaugural days.

By law, lieutenant governors are elected on a shared ticket with the gubernatorial candidate in both the primary and the general election.

The lieutenant governor of Wisconsin is elected in a direct election—the candidate with the most votes becomes lieutenant governor. In the event that two candidates receive an equal number of votes which is higher than that received by any other candidate, the members of the state legislature vote between the two at their next session.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

There is no limit to the number of terms a lieutenant governor may hold. However, the lieutenant governor can be removed from office through an impeachment trial or resignation.


1979 Lt. Governor referendum

The voters of Wisconsin approved a referendum in a April 1979 referendum that changed the Lieutenant Governor's Office. Before the changes approved by voters, the Lieutenant Governor served as the President of the Wisconsin State Senate[1]. Also, the 1979 referendum approved a line of succession that is stated in the Wisconsin Constitution which designates the Lieutenant Governor and the Wisconsin Secretary of State as the respective successors of the office in the event of the Governor's registration or death[2].

The proposition that made that change, Wisconsin Question 3, was passed narrowly by the voters of Wisconsin on April 3, 1979 by a margin of 372,734 to 327,008 votes[3].

Full history


See also: Wisconsin Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014

Republican incumbent Rebecca Kleefisch won re-election on November 4, 2014.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch Incumbent 52.3% 1,259,706
     Democrat Mary Burke/John Lehman 46.6% 1,122,913
     Libertarian Robert Burke/Joseph Brost 0.8% 18,720
     Independent Dennis Fehr 0.3% 7,530
     Nonpartisan Scattering 0.1% 1,248
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 200
Total Votes 2,410,317
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.


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 Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin 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

See also: Wisconsin state budget and finances

The budget for the Lieutenant Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $393,500.[4]


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

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 20, Section 923 of the Wisconsin Statutes

The lietuenant governor's annual salary is fixed by law, pursuant to Article IV, Section 26 of the Wisconsin Constitution, which states that "the compensation of a public officer may not be increased or diminished during the term of office."

Since the 2003 approval of Wisconsin Act 33, the lieutenant governor's compensation has been set by the Wisconsin Office of State Employment Relations (OSER), in accordance with Section 20.923 of the Wisconsin Statutes.[5] Under the amended version of §20.923, the director of OSER submits biennial proposals for adjustments to compensation plan to the Wisconsin Legislature. Changes are subject to approval by the legislature's joint committee on employment relations and, if passed by the committee, the governor, although his veto power is limited. Effective for the four-year term beginning January 2015, the lieutenant governor's salary was raised 2 percent over the prior term.[6]


In 2014, the lieutenant governor received a salary of $76,261, according to the Council of State Governments.[7]


In 2013, the lieutenant governor's salary remained at $76,261.[8]


In 2012, the Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor was paid an estimated $76,261. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 44 Lieutenant Governors of Wisconsin since 1848. Of the 44 officeholders, 29 were Republican, 13 were Democrat and 2 were Progressive.[9]

List of Former Officeholders from 1848-Present
# Name Tenure Party
1 John E. Holmes 1848-1850 Electiondot.png Democratic
2 Samuel W. Beall 1850-1852 Electiondot.png Democratic
3 Timothy Burns 1852-1854 Electiondot.png Democratic
4 James T. Lewis 1854-1856 Ends.png Republican
5 Arthur McArthur 1856-1858 Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Erasmus D. Campbell 1858-1860 Electiondot.png Democratic
7 Butler G. Noble 1860-1862 Ends.png Republican
8 Edward Salomon 1862-1864 Ends.png Republican
9 Wyman Spooner 1864-1870 Ends.png Republican
10 Thaddeus C. Pound 1870-1872 Ends.png Republican
11 Milton H. Pettit 1872-1873 Ends.png Republican
12 Charles D. Parker 1874-1878 Electiondot.png Democratic
13 James M. Bingham 1878-1882 Ends.png Republican
14 Sam S. Fifield 1882-1887 Ends.png Republican
15 George W. Ryland 1887-1891 Ends.png Republican
16 Charles Jonas 1891-1895 Electiondot.png Democratic
17 Emil Baensch 1895-1899 Ends.png Republican
18 Jesse Stone 1899-1903 Ends.png Republican
19 James O. Davidson 1903-1907 Ends.png Republican
20 William D. Connor 1907-1909 Ends.png Republican
21 John Strange 1909-1911 Ends.png Republican
22 Thomas Morris 1911-1915 Ends.png Republican
23 Edward F. Dithmar 1915-1921 Ends.png Republican
24 George F. Comings 1921-1925 Ends.png Republican
25 Henry A. Huber 1925-1933 Ends.png Republican
26 Thomas J. O’Malley 1933-1937 Electiondot.png Democratic
27 Henry A. Gunderson 1937 Progressive
28 Herman L. Ekern 1938-1939 Progressive
29 Walter S. Goodland 1939-1945 Ends.png Republican
30 Oscar Rennebohm 1945-1949 Ends.png Republican
31 George M. Smith 1949-1955 Ends.png Republican
32 Warren P. Knowles 1955-1959 Ends.png Republican
33 Philleo Nash 1959-1961 Electiondot.png Democratic
34 Warren P. Knowles 1961-1963 Ends.png Republican
35 Jack Olson 1963-1965 Ends.png Republican
36 Patrick J. Lucey 1965-1967 Electiondot.png Democratic
37 Jack Olson 1967-1971 Ends.png Republican
38 Martin J. Schreiber 1971-1979 Electiondot.png Democratic
39 Russell A. Olson 1979-1983 Ends.png Republican
40 James T. Flynn 1983-1987 Electiondot.png Democratic
41 Scott McCallum 1987-2001 Ends.png Republican
42 Margaret A. Farrow 2001-2003 Ends.png Republican
43 Barbara Lawton 2003-2011 Electiondot.png Democratic
44 Rebecca Kleefisch 2011 - Ends.png Republican

State profile

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713.

Wisconsin's population in 2013 was 5,742,713 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 1 percent change from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 105 in 2010, exceeding the national average of 87.4. Wisconsin experienced a 1.5 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below a 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[10]


Wisconsin fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 26.8 percent of Wisconsin residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level. The median household income in Wisconsin was $52,413 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 13.5 percent poverty rate in Wisconsin during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2013[10]
Race Wisconsin (%) United States (%)
White 88.1 77.7
Black or African American 6.5 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.1 1.2
Asian 2.5 5.3
Two or More Races 1.7 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 6.3 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[11][12]
Year Democratic vote in Wisconsin (%) Republican vote in Wisconsin (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 52.8 45.9 51.1 47.2
2008 56.2 42.3 52.9 45.7
2004 49.7 49.3 48.3 50.7
2000 47.8 47.6 48.4 47.9

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[13][14]

Recent news

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Contact information

Office of the Lieutenant Governor
19 East, State Capitol
P.O. Box 2043
Madison, WI 53702

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. The Wheeler Report, "Obituary of former Wisconsin Lt. Governor Russell Olson," April 19, 2010(See April 19, 2010 Summary)
  2. State of Wisconsin, "Wisconsin Constitution"(See Article V, Sections 7 and 8)
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison Library, "Digital Library-Blue Book Collection(See Pages 888 to 890)
  4. Wisconsin Department of Administration, "2013-15 Executive Budget - Office of the Lt. Governor," accessed April 3, 2013
  5. Wisconsin State Legislature, "Wisconsin Statutes: 20.923(2)(a)," accessed February 25, 2015
  6. Wisconsin Legislature, "Wisconsin Briefs from the Legislative Reference Bureau: SALARIES OF STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2015," updated January 2015
  7. Council of State Governments, "SELECTED STATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS: ANNUAL SALARIES," accessed December 8, 2014
  8. Council of State Governments, Table 4.11 Selected State Administrative Officials: Annual Salaries," accessed January 31, 2014
  9. Wisconsin Blue Book 2007-2008, "Statistical Information on Wisconsin: History," accessed August 5, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  11. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Wisconsin Election Results," accessed March 24, 2015
  12. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  13. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  14. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.