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 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
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 ratified in 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 May 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 (R). Bentley took office in January 2011, after winning the seat in the November 2010 midterms. He was re-elected on November 4, 2014.

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.


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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 10 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. 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034). Section 116 sets the governor's inauguration for the first Monday after the second Tuesday in the January following an election.

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.


See also: Alabama Gubernatorial election, 2014

Republican incumbent Robert Bentley won re-election on November 4, 2014.

Governor of Alabama, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRobert Bentley Incumbent 63.6% 750,231
     Democrat Parker Griffith 36.2% 427,787
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.2% 2,395
Total Votes 1,180,413
Election Results via Alabama Secretary of State.

Full history

Partisan composition

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


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 this situation, the court 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 including 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 to 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 and finances

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

The salary of the governor is established by the Alabama State Legislature, as required by constitutional provision.[7] 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.


In 2014, the governor's salary was $119,950. However, Gov. Robert Bentley refused to accept his salary until the state's unemployment rate decreases, according to the Council of State Governments. [8]


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.[9]


In 2012, the governor's salary was $120,936.

Historical officeholders

There have been 63 governors since 1819. Of the 63 officeholders, 55 were Democrat, five were Republicans, three were Democratic-Republican and one was Pre-War Whig.[10][11]

# Name Term Party
1 William Wyatt Bibb December 14, 1819-July 10, 1820 Democratic-Republican
2 Thomas Bibb July 10, 1820-November 9, 1821 Democratic-Republican
3 Israel Pickens November 9, 1821-November 25, 1825 Democratic-Republican
4 John Murphy November 25, 1825-November 25, 1829 Jackson Democrat
5 Gabriel Moore November 25, 1829-March 3, 1831 Jackson Democrat
6 Samuel B. Moore March 3, 1831-November 26, 1831 Democratic
7 John Gayle November 26, 1831-November 21, 1835 Democratic
8 Clement Comer Clay November 21, 1835-July 17, 1837 Democratic
9 Hugh McVay July 17, 1837-November 30. 1837 Democratic
10 Arthur P. Bagby November 30, 1837-November 22, 1841 Democratic
11 Benjamin Fitzpatrick November 22, 1841-December 10, 1845 Democratic
12 Joshua L. Martin December 10, 1845-December 16, 1847 Independent
13 Reuben Champman December 16, 1847-December 17, 1849 Democratic
14 Henry W. Collier December 17, 1849-December 20, 1853 Democratic
15 John A. Winston December 20, 1853-December 1, 1857 Democratic
16 Andrew B. Moore December 1, 1857-December 2, 1861 Democratic
17 John G. Shorter December 2, 1861-December 1, 1863 Democratic
18 Thomas H. Watts December 1, 1863-May 1, 1865 Democratic
19 Lewis E. Parsons June 21, 1865-December 13, 1865 Democratic
20 Robert M. Patton December 13, 1865-July 24, 1868 Pre-War Whig
Military Wager Swayne March 2, 1867-July 14, 1868 None
21 William Hugh Smith July 24, 1868-November 26, 1870 Republican
22 Robert B. Lindsay November 26. 1870-November 17, 1872 Democratic
23 David P. Lewis November 17, 1872-November 24, 1874 Republican
24 George S. Houston November 24, 1874-November 28. 1878 Democratic
25 Rufus W. Cobb November 28, 1878-December 1, 1882 Democratic
26 Edward A. O'Neal December 1, 1882-December 1, 1886 Democratic
27 Thomas Seay December 1, 1886-December 1, 1890 Democratic
28 Thomas G. Jones December 1, 1890-Decmeber 1, 1894 Democratic
29 William C. Oates December 1, 1894-December 1, 1896 Democratic
30 Joseph F. Johnston December 1, 1896-December 1, 1900 Democratic
Acting William D. Jelks December 1, 1900-December 26, 1900 Democratic
31 William J. Samford December 1, 1900-June 11, 1901 Democratic
32 William Dorsey Jelks June 11, 1901-January 14, 1907 Democratic
Acting Russell M. Cunningham April 25, 1904-March 5, 1905 Democratic
33 Braxton B. Comer January 14, 1907-January 17, 1911 Democratic
34 Emmet O'Neal January 17, 1911-January 18, 1915 Democratic
35 Charles Henderson January 18, 1915-January 20, 1919 Democratic
36 Thomas E. Kilby January 20, 1919-January 15, 1923 Democratic
37 William W. Brandon January 15, 1923-January 17. 1927 Democratic
Acting Charles S. McDowell, Jr. July 10, 1924-July 11, 1924 Democratic
38 David Bibb Graves January 17, 1927-January 19, 1931 Democratic
39 Benjamin Meek Miller January 19, 1931-January 14, 1935 Democratic
40 David Bibb Graves January 14, 1935-January 17, 1939 Democratic
41 Frank M. Dixon January 17, 1939-January 19, 1943 Democratic
42 Chauncey Sparks January 19, 1943-January 20, 1947 Democratic
43 Jim Folsom, Sr. January 20, 1947-January 15, 1951 Democratic
44 Seth Gordon Persons January 15, 1951-January 17, 1955 Democratic
45 Jim Folsom, Sr. January 17, 1955-January 19, 1959 Democratic
46 John M. Patterson January 19, 1959-January 14, 1963 Democratic
47 George Wallace January 14, 1963-January 16, 1967 Democratic
48 Lurleen B. Wallace January 16, 1967-May 7, 1968 Democratic
49 Albert P. Brewer May 7, 1968-January 18, 1971 Democratic
50 George Wallace January 18, 1971-January 15, 1979 Democratic
Acting Jere Beasley June 5, 1972-July 7. 1972 Democratic
51 Fob James January 15, 1979-January 17, 1983 Democratic
52 George Wallace January 17, 1983-January 19, 1987 Democratic
53 H. Guy Hunt January 19, 1987-April 22, 1993 Republican
54 Jim Folsom, Jr. April 22, 1993-January 16, 1995 Democratic
55 Fob James January 16, 1995-January 18, 1999 Republican
56 Don Siegelman January 18, 1999-January 20, 2003 Democratic
57 Bob Riley January 20, 2003-January 17, 2011 Republican
58 Robert J. Bentley January 17, 2011- Republican


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 six years while there were Republican governors in office for 16 years, including the previous 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).

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Alabama Governor."

Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.

Governor of Alabama - Google News Feed

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Contact Information


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

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

See also

External links

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