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Governor of Iowa

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This state official-related article is in the process of being updated.

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

Terry Branstad.jpg
Name:  Terry Branstad
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  1983, January 14, 2011
Compensation:  $130,000
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Iowa Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of AgricultureDirector of EducationInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor CommissionerUtilities Board
The Governor of the State of Iowa is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Iowa. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and has no term limit. Prior to a Constitutional Amendment passed in 1972, the Governor's term had been two years.

Current officeholder

The 42nd and current governor of Iowa is Republican Terry E. Branstad, elected in November 2010. Having previously held the office from 1983 to 1999, Branstad is also Iowa's 39th Governor and the state's longest serving Governor.[1]


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

Under Article IV, Section I:

The supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall be styled the governor of the state of Iowa.


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

A candidate for governor is required to be:

  • at least 30 years old by the time of election
  • a United States citizen
  • a resident of Iowa for at least two years before the election

Additionally, under Article IV, Section 15, no governor may hold any other federal or state office while serving.


Iowa elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For Iowa, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Tuesday after the second Monday in the January following an election. Thus, January 18, 2011 and January 13, 2015 are inaugural days.

If two candidates are tied, the General Assembly casts ballots to choose the winner.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Iowa governors do not face any term limits.

Partisan composition

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

Filling vacancies

See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article IV, Section IV.

Power devolves to the Lieutenant Governor at any time when the Governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, under Article IV, Section 4.

Section 17, also referenced statutorily in §7.14 of the Code, grants the powers and duties of the Governor to the Lieutenant Governor for the remaining portion of the term.

Section 19 governs vacancy procedure when both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are unable to serve. Power first devolves to the President Pro Tem of the Senate and then to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. After that, the Iowa Supreme Court must call an extraordinary session of the General Assembly to choose an Acting Governor.



As chief administrator of Iowa's government, the governor is responsible for the effective and efficient workings of the various state departments and agencies. The governor appoints department and agency heads and other state officials not elected by the people. The governor's appointments are generally subject to approval by the Senate.

The governor takes final action on all bills passed by the Iowa General Assembly. The governor may approve bills by signing them or disapprove bills by vetoing them. Each year, the governor reports on the financial condition of the state and makes recommendations on the state's budget. The Governor has the power to call a special session of the General Assembly.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Requiring written information from other officers of the executive branch on any aspect of their duties (§ 8).
  • Making appointments to fill all vacancies when the law does not otherwise prescribe the method for doing so (§ 10).
  • Convening, by proclamation, extraordinary sessions of the General Assembly (§ 11).
  • Periodically giving the 'State of the State' address (§ 12).
  • Adjourning the General Assembly when they cannot agree to do so themselves (§ 13).
  • Granting pardons, reprieves, and commutations, excluding convictions for treason and impeachment (§ 16).
  • Officially using the Seal of the Great State of Iowa (§ 20).
  • Signing all official commissions and grant given by the state, which are officially made in the name of the people of Iowa (§ 21).


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

Under Article IV, Section 15, the Governor's compensation is set by law.


In 2012, the Governor of Iowa was paid an estimated $130,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


As of 2010, the Governor of Iowa is paid $130,000 a year, the 24th highest gubernatorial salary in America.


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

In May 2013 Ballotpedia conducted a study of the partisan control of state government from 1992-2013. During those 22 years, in Iowa there were Democratic governors in office for 12 years while there were Republican governors in office for 10 years, including the last three.

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

Contact information

Office of The Governor and Lt. Governor
State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319

See also

External links