Governor of Alabama

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Alabama Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $1,522,187
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 113
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Bentley r.jpeg
Name:  Robert J. Bentley
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 17, 2011
Compensation:  $119,950 (Accepted $0)
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Alabama Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Alabama is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Alabama. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a simple majority and is limited to two terms. Alabama's original Constitution, from 1819, made the gubernatorial term of office two years. The 1901 Constitution extended the term to four years and, after Amendment 282 was passed in 1968, allowed a Governor to succeed himself once.

As of April 2015, Alabama is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

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

Current officeholder

The 53rd and current governor of Alabama is Robert J. Bentley, a Republican. Bentley took office in January 2011, after winning the seat in the November 2010 midterms.

Before becoming governor, Bentley served in the Alabama House of Representatives and as a founding partner and president of Alabama Dermatological Associates. He also served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971. Bentley earned a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Alabama and an M.D. from the Medical College of Alabama. His wife, Dianne Bentley, is the First Lady of Alabama.[1]


The state constitution establishes the office of the governor in Article V, the Executive Department.

Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 113

The supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled "The Governor of the State of Alabama.


Current Governors
Gubernatorial Elections
Current Lt. Governors
Lt. Governor Elections
Breaking news
The governor may not hold any federal or state office in Alabama concurrently with his gubernatorial term. Additionally, the governor must be at least 30 years old, an American citizen for at least ten years on the date of the election, and a resident of Alabama for at least seven years.

Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 116

The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney-general, state auditor, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of education, commissioner of agriculture and industries, elected after the ratification of this Constitution, shall hold their respective offices for the term of four years from the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January next succeeding their election, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified.

Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 117

The governor and lieutenant governor shall each be at least thirty years of age when elected, and shall have been citizens of the United States ten years and resident citizens of this state at least seven years next before the date of their election.


Click here to view a large-scale image of the Alabama state government organizational chart, as of 9/11/12.
See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Per Section 114 of the state constitution, Alabama elects its governors during federal midterm election years (e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018). Section 116 sets the governor's inauguration for the first Monday after the second Tuesday in the January following an election. Thus, January 17, 2011 and January 19, 2015 are inaugural days.

Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 114

The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney-general, state auditor, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of education, and commissioner of agriculture and industries shall be elected by the qualified electors of the state at the same time and places appointed for the election of members of the legislature in the year nineteen hundred and two, and in every fourth year thereafter.

Constitution of Alabama, Article V, Section 116

The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney-general, state auditor, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of education, commissioner of agriculture and industries, elected after the ratification of this Constitution, shall hold their respective offices for the term of four years from the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January next succeeding their election, and until their successors shall be elected and qualified.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Alabama governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.

Alabama Constitution of 1901, Amendment 282 (to Section 116)

[The Governor] shall be eligible to succeed himself in office, but no person shall be eligible to succeed himself for more than one additional term.

Partisan composition

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

Full History


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Sections 127 and 128 of the state constitution.

In the event that the elected governor is unable to complete his term, the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama succeeds him. The lieutenant governor also becomes acting governor at any time when the elected governor is unable to discharge the office for 20 consecutive days. Because Alabama elects her governor and lieutenant governor on separate tickets, it is theoretically possible for the governorship of the state to change parties without an election occurring.

Any two other constitutional officers, excluding the individual who would succeed the governor, may also file a affidavit with the state Supreme Court declaring that the sitting governor is of unsound mind, in which case the determines whether the governor is mentally competent to exercise his office.



The governor is responsible for upholding the Alabama Constitution and executing state law. The governor also is commander-in-chief of the state's military forces (the Alabama Army National Guard and Alabama Air National Guard, which are part of the National Guard of the United States, and the Alabama State Defense Force, which is the State Defense Forces). As commander-in-chief the governor may call out the state's military forces preserve the public peace when it is not in active service of the United States.

At least once every legislative session, the governor is required to deliver an address to the state legislature, referred to as the "State of the State Address," regarding the condition and operation of the state government and to suggest new legislation.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • seeing that all laws of the state are faithfully executed.
  • overseeing other state executive officers and agencies.
  • convening extraordinary sessions of the legislature.
  • presenting a budget for the state to the legislature.
  • remitting fines and forfeitures and granting reprieves, paroles, commutations of sentence and pardons
  • exercising a veto over bills


The governor's office includes a number of individual divisions:[2]

  • Executive Office
  • Chief of Staff
  • Appointments
  • Communications
  • Legal
  • Legislative
  • Constituent Services
  • Policy
  • Administration
  • Mansion

State budget

Role in state budget

See also: Alabama state budget

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. Alabama's fiscal year runs from October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[3][4]

  1. In September of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, budget instructions are sent to state agencies.
  2. In November, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
  3. Budget hearings are held with state agencies in January.
  4. By the second legislative day of each regular session of the legislature, the governor must submit his or her proposed budget to the state legislature. These dates vary from session to session, occurring as early as January and as late as March.
  5. The legislature must pass a budget with a simple majority. The fiscal year begins in October.

The governor is required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget.[4]

Alabama is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[4][5][4]

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 was $1,522,187.[6]


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


In 2013, the governor's salary was $119,950. However, Gov. Robert Bentley refused to accept his salary until the state's unemployment rate decreases.[7]


The governor's pay is fixed and may be raised by the Alabama legislature. In 2012, the Governor of Alabama's salary was $120,936. Article V, Section 118 of the state constitution requires that changes in compensation take effect in the term after they were passed.

Alabama Constitution, Article V, Section 118

The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney-general, state auditor, secretary of state, state treasurer, superintendent of education, and commissioner of agriculture and industries, shall receive compensation to be fixed by law, which shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which they shall have been elected, and shall, except the lieutenant governor, reside at the state capital during the time they continue in office, except during epidemics.

Historical officeholders

There have been 63 Governors of Alabama since 1819. Of the 63 officeholders, 5 were Republican, 55 were Democrat, 1 was Democratic/Wig, and 1 was Pre-War Whig.[8][9]

List of Former

Officeholders from 1819-Present

# Name Tenure Party
1 William Wyatt Bibb 1819-1820 Electiondot.png Democratic
2 Thomas Bibb 1820-1821 Electiondot.png Democratic
3 Israel Pickens 1821-1825 Democratic-Republican
4 John Murphy 1825-1829 Electiondot.png Democratic
5 Gabriel Moore 1829-1831 Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Samuel B. Moore 1831 Electiondot.png Democratic
7 John Gayle 1831-1835 Electiondot.png Democratic/Whig
8 Clement Comer Clay 1835-1837 Electiondot.png Democratic
9 Hugh McVay 1837 Electiondot.png Democratic
10 Arthur Pendleton Baby 1837-1841 Electiondot.png Democratic
11 Benjamin Fitzpatrick 1841-1845 Electiondot.png Democratic
12 Joshua Lanier Martin 1845-1847 Electiondot.png Democratic
13 Reuben Champman 1847-1849 Electiondot.png Democratic
14 Henry Watkins Collier 1849-1853 Electiondot.png Democratic
15 John Anthony Winston 1853-1857 Electiondot.png Democratic
16 Andrew Barry Moore 1857-1861 Electiondot.png Democratic
17 John Gill Shorter 1861-1863 Electiondot.png Democratic
18 Thomas Hill Watts 1863-1865 Electiondot.png Democratic
19 Lewis Eliphalet Parsons 1865 Electiondot.png Democratic
20 Robert Miller Patton 1865-1867 Pre-War Whig
21 Wager Swayne 1867-1868 N/A
22 William Hugh Smith 1868-1870 Ends.png Republican
23 Robert Burns Lindsay 1870-1872 Electiondot.png Democratic
24 David Peter Lewis 1872-1874 Ends.png Republican
25 George Smith Houton 1874-1878 Electiondot.png Democratic
26 Rufus Wills Cobb 1878-1882 Electiondot.png Democratic
27 Edward Asbury O'Neal 1882-1886 Electiondot.png Democratic
28 Thomas Seay 1886-1890 Electiondot.png Democratic
29 Thomas Goode Jones 1890-1894 Electiondot.png Democratic
30 William Calvin Oates 1894-1896 Electiondot.png Democratic
31 Joseph Forney Johnston 1896-1900 Electiondot.png Democratic
32 William Dorsey Jelks 1900 Electiondot.png Democratic
33 William James Samford 1900-1901 Electiondot.png Democratic
34 William Dorsey Jelks 1901-1907 Electiondot.png Democratic
35 Russell McWhorter Cunningham 1904-1905 Electiondot.png Democratic
36 Braxton Bragg Comer 1907-1911 Electiondot.png Democratic
37 Emmet O'Neal 1911-1915 Electiondot.png Democratic
38 Charles Henderson 1915-1919 Electiondot.png Democratic
39 Thomas Erby Kilby 1919-1923 Electiondot.png Democratic
40 William Woodward Brandon 1923-1927 Electiondot.png Democratic
41 Charles Samuel Mcdowell, Jr. 1924 Electiondot.png Democratic
42 David Bibb Graves 1927-1931 Electiondot.png Democratic
43 Benjamin Meek Miller 1931-1935 Electiondot.png Democratic
44 David Bibb Graves 1935-1939 Electiondot.png Democratic
45 Frank Murray Dixon 1939-1943 Electiondot.png Democratic
46 Chauncey Sparks 1943-1947 Electiondot.png Democratic
47 James Elisha Folsom, Sr. 1947-1951 Electiondot.png Democratic
48 Seth Gordon Persons 1951-1955 Electiondot.png Democratic
49 James Elisha Folsom, Sr. 1955-1959 Electiondot.png Democratic
50 John Malcolm Patterson 1959-1963 Electiondot.png Democratic
51 George Corley Wallace 1963-1967 Electiondot.png Democratic
52 Lurleen Burns Wallace 1967-1968 Electiondot.png Democratic
53 Albert Preston Brewer 1968-1971 Electiondot.png Democratic
54 Geroge Corley Wallace 1971-1979 Electiondot.png Democratic
55 Jere Beasley 1972 Electiondot.png Democratic
56 Forrest Hood (Fob) James, Jr. 1979-1983 Electiondot.png Democratic
57 George Corley Wallace 1983-1987 Electiondot.png Democratic
58 Harold Guy Hunt 1987-1993 Ends.png Republican
59 James Elisha Folsom, Jr. 1993-1995 Electiondot.png Democratic
60 Forrest Hood (Fob) James, Jr. 1995-1999 Electiondot.png Democratic
61 Don Siegelman 1999-2003 Electiondot.png Democratic
62 Robert Renfroe "Bob" Riley 2003-2011 Ends.png Republican
63 Robert J. Bentley 2011-present Ends.png Republican

Recent news

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Contact Information


Physical address:
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Phone: (334) 242-7100
Fax: (334) 353-0004


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, Alabama had Democratic governors in office for 6 years while there were Republican governors in office for 16 years, including the last 11. Alabama 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 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 Alabama, the Alabama State Senate and the Alabama House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Alabama state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Alabama 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. Between the years 1993-1994 and 1999-2002, Alabama had Democratic trifectas, and since 2011, Alabama has had a Republican trifecta. In every remaining year between 1992 and 2012, Alabama had a Republican governor with a Democratic legislature. In every year of the study, Alabama ranked in the bottom-10 on the SQLI ranking. Its lowest ranking occurred during the Democratic trifectas of 1999 and 2000 (46th), while the state’s highest ranking occurred during the divided government years of 2005 and 2006 (41st).

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 44.33
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 43.50
  • SQLI average with divided government: 42.83
Chart displaying the partisanship of Alabama government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links

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