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Governor of Arkansas

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Arkansas Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $5,279,815
Term limits:  2
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, Section 2
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Mike Beebe.png
Name:  Mike Beebe
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 9, 2007
Compensation:  $86,890
Other Arkansas Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture SecretaryInsurance CommissionerCommissioner of State LandsNatural Resources Exec. DirectorLabor DirectorPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Arkansas is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch, and the highest state office in Arkansas. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.

Current officer

The 45th and current governor is Mike Beebe, a Democrat who was first elected in 2006 and took office on January 9, 2007. In November of 2010, he was elected to another term. As Arkansas governors are limited to two terms in office, Beebe's tenure will end when his current term expires on January 13, 2015.

Beebe was Attorney General of Arkansas from 2002 to 2007 and a member of the Arkansas Senate from 1982 to 2002. He was previously a partner for the firm of Lightle, Beebe, Raney, Bell, and Hudgins and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1968 to 1974. Beebe received a B.A. in Political Science from Arkansas State University and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He and his wife, Ginger, have three children.

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


The Constitution of Arkansas establishes the office of the governor in Article VI, the Executive.

Arkansas Constitution, Article 6, Section 2

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


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

Under Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution, the governor may not hold any federal office, any civil or military commission, any office in another state, or any other office in Arkansas concurrently with his gubernatorial term. Per Article VI, Section 5, the governor must be at least 30 years old, an American citizen, and a resident of Arkansas for at least seven years on election day.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 6, Section 11

No member of Congress, or other person holding office under the authority of this State, or of the United States, shall exercise the office of Governor, except as herein provided.

Constitution of Arkansas, Article 6, Section 5

No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor except a citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of thirty years, and shall have been seven years a resident of this State.


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

Arkansas elects governors during federal midterm election years (e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018). The gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the second Tuesday in January following the election. Thus, January 11, 2011 and January 13, 2015 are inaugural days. If two candidates are tied after the general election, then a joint session of the legislature will choose the winner by simple balloting when the General Assembly convenes.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

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

Arkansas Constitution of 1874, Amendment 73

No elected officials of the Executive Department of this State may serve in the same office more than two such four year terms.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article 6, Sections 12 to 14.

If the elected governor resigns, dies, is removed, or is otherwise unable to discharge the office, the president of the Senate is the first to succeed, serving as the governor until an election is held. He also serves as acting governor if the incumbent is temporarily unable to exercise his office. The next in line is the speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Arkansas is unusual in that there is a constitutionally designated lieutenant governor, but he is not the first in the line of succession.

If the next scheduled general election is more than 12 months away when the acting governor assumes office, he must call a special election, with a minimum of 60 days notice, run according to the same rules that administer a regular election.



The governor is the commander-in-chief of all Arkansas' military and naval forces except when either force is already under United States command.

The governor must deliver periodic (traditionally annual) addresses to the legislature. These "State of the State" speeches concern the condition of the state and includes the governor's recommendation for specific policies and steps. He is required to deliver one such address at the end of his official term.

The governor has veto power over all legislative actions, including appropriation bills, concurrent orders and resolutions. In the case of orders and resolutions, the gubernatorial veto does not extend to an order to adjourn the legislature. Lawmakers may override a gubernatorial veto by a simple majority of both houses.

The Arkansas Constitution grants the governor, "power to grant reprieves, commutations of sentence, and pardons, after conviction; and to remit fines and forfeitures, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by law." This power does not extend to cases of treason or impeachment. In cases of treason, the governor may grant reprieves with the advice and consent of the Senate. The governor must inform the legislature each time he grants a pardon, along with his reason for doing so.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • issuing and authorizing all commissions and grants made by the state
  • calling extraordinary sessions of the legislature
  • adjourning either regular or extraordinary sessions of the legislature when the two houses are unable to pass a concurrent resolution to adjourn
  • filling vacancies in the offices of Treasurer of State, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, and Attorney General, as well as any other offices that become vacant without an explicit legal course for filling the vacancy


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 Arkansas 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

The budget for the Office of the Arkansas Governor in Fiscal Year 2012 was $5,279,815.[1]


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


In 2013, the governor's salary was $86,890.[2]


In 2010, the governor of Arkansas was paid $87,352, the 49th highest gubernatorial salary in America. The compensation of all state constitutional officers is set by Amendment 70 to the state constitution. Salaries are adjusted each year to conform with changes in inflation (Consumer Price Index).[3]


The first Arkansas Constitution, ratified in 1836, established four-year terms for governors and the requirement that they be residents of the state for ten years before election. The fifth constitution in 1874, following the American Civil War and Reconstruction, limited the executive's power while , lowering gubernatorial terms to two years and changed the residency requirement to seven years. Amendment 63 to the Arkansas Constitution, passed in 1984, increased the terms of both governor and lieutenant governor to four years. A referendum in 1992 limited a governor to two consecutive four-year terms.

Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for the first 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last year. The Arkansas State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final year of the study depicted a shift in the Arkansas House of Representatives which changed to Republican control for the first time.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 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 have 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 Arkansas, the Arkansas State Senate and the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Arkansas state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arkansas 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. Arkansas has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have two Democratic trifectas, between 1992 and 1996 and also between 2007 and 2011. Arkansas has ranked in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking for each year of the study. Its highest ranking (41st) occurred in the early 1990s under a Democratic trifecta, while its worst ranking (47th) occurred in 1999 and 2000 under divided government. 2013 was the first year in which Arkansas’s divided government included a Democratic governor and Republican legislature. In all other years of divided government, Arkansas had a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 43.18
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 45.30
Chart displaying the partisanship of Arkansas government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

Recent news

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Governor of Arkansas News Feed

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Contact information


State Capitol Room 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

See also

External links