Governor of Idaho

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Idaho Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 5
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Butch Otter
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 1, 2007
Compensation:  $115,348
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Idaho Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerControllerSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorDirector of LandsLabor DirectorPublic Utilities Commission
The Governor of the State of Idaho is an elected constitutional officer, the head of the executive branch, and the highest state office in Idaho. The governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms.

As of May 2013, Idaho is one of 24 Republican state government trifectas.

Current officeholder

The 32nd and current governor of Idaho is Republican Butch Otter, first elected in November 2006 and returned to office in 2010. Otter's first term began on January 8, 2007, and his second term started on January 3, 2011. Otter will next come up for re-election in November 2014, and his second term will end on January 5, 2015.

Before becoming governor, Otter served three terms as a U.S. Representative for Idaho's 1st congressional district from 2001 to 2006, before which he served as the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. Prior to entering public service, Otter served on the board of directors of the J.R. Simplot Company, a food processing and agricultural company, where he also worked as director of the food products division. He has also served as president of Simplot Livestock and Simplot International. Otter served in the Idaho Army National Guard from 1968 to 1973; after leaving the military and as he began his career in the private sector, he served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives (1973-1976).[1]


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

Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 5

The supreme executive power of the state is vested in the governor, who shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.


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

Per Article IV, Section 3 of the Idaho Constitution, a candidate for governor is required to be:

  • at least thirty-years old
  • a United States citizen
  • a resident of Idaho at least two years prior to the election

Idaho Constitution, Article IV, Section 3

No person shall be eligible to the office of governor or lieutenant governor unless he shall have attained the age of thirty years at the time of his election; ... In addition to the qualifications above described each of the officers named shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have resided within the state or territory two years next preceding his election.


See also: Gubernatorial election cycles by state
See also: Election of governors

Idaho elects governors to four year terms in federal midterm election years, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. Thus, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. The 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.

If two candidates ever tie in the general election, a joint session of the legislature chooses the winner by a majority vote.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

There are no term limits for this office. Out of all of Idaho's state executives, only the Idaho Controller faces term limits.

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article IV, Sections 12 and 14 of the Idaho Constitution.

The powers of the governor devolve to the Lieutenant Governor of Idaho any time the Governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, or has been removed from the office. In such instances, the lieutenant governor exercises the office of governor either until the latter can resume the office or until the next gubernatorial election.

Additionally, under Section 14, if the offices of both governor and lieutenant governor are vacant, the office of governor passes first to the President Pro Tem of the Idaho Senate and next the Speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives.



The governor is responsible for upholding the Idaho Constitution, executing state law and recommending a state budget to the legislature. He is also the commander of the Idaho militia at all times when the state's military forces have not already been called into service by the federal government.

The governor may fill vacancies in any state executive office, including other constitutional offices, when the law does not otherwise provide the manner for filling a vacancy. If the Senate, whose confirmation is required, is in recess, the appointment stands until the Senate reconvenes.

During special circumstances the governor can call for special sessions of the legislature. The governor has the power to veto bills, including appropriations, but must list his objections. The legislature can override a veto by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. In Idaho the governor also serves as the President of the Board of Examiners and Chairman of the Board of Land Commissioners and appoints department heads and members of boards and commissions.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Granting pardons and reprieves when the legislatively controlled Board of Pardons is not in session, not to be permanent until the Board sits again. Regarding convictions for treason, the Governor may only stay the sentence pending legislative review.
  • Requiring reports, made under oath, from state officials and managers of state institutions, on any aspects of their jobs.
  • Making a 'State of the State' address to the General Assembly at the beginning of each session, including recommendation on prudent courses of action for the state and, somewhat unique among the constitutionally mandated aspect of such addresses, an estimate of the tax revenue the state will require for the coming year.
  • Convening extraordinary sessions of the Senate to conduct specific Executive business.
  • Authorizing and signing all commissions and grants made by the state of Idaho.


  • Idaho Commission on Aging
  • Idaho Commission on the Arts
  • Commission for the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • Idaho Office of Drug Policy
  • Office of Energy Resources
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Idaho Commission on Human Rights
  • Liquor
  • Military
  • Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  • Public Employee Retirement System
  • Serve Idaho, Governor's Commission on Service & Volunteerism
  • Office of Species Conservation[2]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Idaho Governor was paid an estimated $115,348. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Originally, Section 19 of Article IV addressed the compensation of Executive officers, a section that has been since repealed.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, Idaho had Democratic governors in office for the first three years while there were Republican governors in office for the last 19 years. Idaho is one of eight states that were run by a Republican governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Idaho spent the last 19 years under Republican trifectas.

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 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 Idaho, the Idaho State Senate and the Idaho House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Idaho state government(1992-2013).PNG

Contact information

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720

See also

External links

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