Governor of Iowa

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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 officer

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

His wife, Chris Branstad, is the First Lady of Iowa.


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

Under Article IV, Section II:

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.


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.

Filling vacancies

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.


Contact information

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

See also

External links

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