Governor of Iowa

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Iowa Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $2,288,025
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 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
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.[1]

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

See also: Iowa State Legislature, Iowa House of Representatives, Iowa State Senate

Current officeholder

The 42nd and current Governor of Iowa is Republican Terry E. Branstad. He was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Branstad previously held the office from 1983-1999, and is both the state's and nation's longest serving governor.[2]


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

According to Article IV, Section 6, 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 state government organizational chart

Iowa elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Iowa, 2018, 2022, 2026, 2030 and 2034 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. If two candidates are tied, the General Assembly casts ballots to choose the winner.[1]


See also: Iowa Gubernatorial election, 2014
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTerry Branstad/Kim Reynolds Incumbent 59% 666,023
     Democratic Jack Hatch/Monica Vernon 37.3% 420,778
     Libertarian Lee Hieb/Tim Watson 1.8% 20,319
     New Independent Party Jim Hennager/Mary Krieg 0.9% 10,582
     Iowa Party Jonathan Narcisse/Michael Richards 0.9% 10,239
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,093
Total Votes 1,129,034
Election Results via Iowa Secretary of State.

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


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.

Under (Article IV of the Iowa Constitution, 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).


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 Iowa 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

Role in state budget

See also: Iowa state budget and finances

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[3][4]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in June or July.
  2. Agency requests are submitted to the governor by October 1.
  3. Agency hearings are held in November and December.
  4. Public hearings are held in December.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the Iowa State Legislature by February 1.
  6. The legislature adopts a budget in April or May.
  7. The fiscal year begins in July.

Iowa is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[4]

The governor is constitutionally and statutorily required to submit a balanced budget. In turn, the legislature is statutorily required to adopt a balanced budget.[4]

Governor's office budget

The combined Governor and Lieutenant Governor budget for 2012 was $2,288,025.[5]


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

The salaries of elected and appointed executives in Iowa are determined by the Iowa State Legislature.[6] Article IV, Section 15 of the Iowa Constitution states the following:

Text of Section 15:


The official terms of the governor and lieutenant governor shall commence on the Tuesday after the second Monday of January next after their election and shall continue until their successors are elected and qualify. The governor and lieutenant governor shall be paid compensation and expenses as provided by law. The lieutenant governor, while acting as governor, shall be paid the compensation and expenses prescribed for the governor.[7]


In 2014, the governor received a salary of $130,000, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $130,000.[9]


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


As of 2010, the governor 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

From 1992 to 2013, Iowa had 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 percent) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27 percent) 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 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 Iowa, the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Partisan composition of Iowa state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Iowa 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. Iowa enjoyed a nine-year period in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking between 2003 and 2012, under both divided government and a Democratic trifecta. During the period of the study, Iowa was in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking for twelve out of twenty years. Iowa claimed the top spot in the SQLI ranking twice, once in 2009 and again in 2012. The state’s lowest SQLI ranking came in 1995 (14th) under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 3.50
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 12.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 8.87
Chart displaying the partisanship of Iowa government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Historical officeholders

There have been 42 Governors of Iowa since 1846. Of the 42 officeholders, 31 were Republican, 10 were Democrat and one was Whig.[10]

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Governor of Iowa News Feed

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Contact information

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

See also

External links