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Governor of Montana

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Montana Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
Term limits:  Two terms during any 16 year period
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Montana Constitution, Article VI, Section IV the Executive Department
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Steve Bullock.jpg
Name:  Steve Bullock
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 7, 2013
Compensation:  $108,167
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other Montana Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of Public InstructionAgriculture DirectorInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of Montana is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in Montana. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two terms in any 16 year span.

Current officeholder

The 24th and current governor of Montana is Steve Bullock (D). Bullock previously served as Montana Attorney General from 2009 to 2012. He was sworn-in as governor on January 7, 2013.[1]


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

Under Article VI, Section I:

The executive branch includes a governor...

Additionally, under Article VI, Section IV:

The executive power 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

A candidate for governor must be:

  • at least 25 years of age or older at the time of election
  • a citizen of the United States
  • have resided within the state at least two years at his election


See also: Montana gubernatorial election, 2012

Montana elects governors in the Presidential elections, that is, in leap years. For Montana, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday in the January following an election. Thus, January 7, 2013 and January 2, 2017 are inaugural days.


See also: Montana gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, 2012

Incumbent Brian Schweitzer (D) was prevented from running for re-election due to term limits. Steve Bullock (D), running on a ticket with John E. Walsh, defeated Rick Hill (R), Ron Vandevender (L), and Bill Coate (I) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

Governor/Lieutenant Governor of Montana General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Bullock and John E. Walsh 48.9% 236,450
     Republican Rick Hill and Jon Sonju 47.3% 228,879
     Libertarian Ron Vandevender and Marc Mulcahy 3.8% 18,160
Total Votes 483,489
Election Results via Montana Secretary of State.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

Montana governors are restricted to 8 years in office during any 16 year period.

Montana Constitution, Article IV, Section 8

(1) The secretary of state or other authorized official shall not certify a candidate's nomination or election to, or print or cause to be printed on any ballot the name of a candidate for, one of the following offices if, at the end of the current term of that office, the candidate will have served in that office or had he not resigned or been recalled would have served in that office:
(a) 8 or more years in any 16-year period as governor...

Partisan composition

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


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancies are addressed under Article VI, Section 14.

If a Governor-elect dies, is disqualified, or declines to take office, the Lieutenant Governor-elect takes offices and serves as Governor. If the Governor-elect is unable to take office on inauguration day, the Lieutenant Governor-elect served as Acting Governor only until the elected Governor is able to take office.

The Lieutenant Governor also becomes Acting Governor when the Governor so requests in writing, when the Governor's illness or disability renders him unable to make that request, and automatically whenever the Governor has been absent from office for 45 days.

The Lieutenant Governor and the Attorney General may together recommend that the Governor be found unfit to serve and convene the legislature to consider the question.

Under such circumstances, the legislature has 21 days to consider the motion and may declare the Governor until by a two-thirds vote. The Lieutenant Governor then becomes the Acting Governor and the elected Governor retains the prerogative to attest that he is able to resume the office. If the Governor takes this step, the legislature has 15 days to contest the declaration.

Lastly, the Lieutenant Governor assumes the governorship and serves the remainder of the term if the Governor dies, resigns, or is disqualified while in office.



The governor has the duty to see see that the Montana Constitution and the laws of the state are faithfully executed. The governor has the power to appoint and supervise the directors of each executive department. Additionally, the governor, as mandated by the state constitution, will give information to the state legislature and recommend measures considered necessary and suitable (§ 9). This includes submitting a budget recommendation detailing expenditures and revenue. The governor has the responsibility to carry out the duties of commander-in-chief of the militia forces of the state.

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Delegating powers to the Lieutenant Governor, excepting those that are Constitutionally vested in the Governor (§ 4)
  • Filling vacancies in all other Executive offices (§ 6)
  • Making all appointments not otherwise provided for by law, filling vacancies with the consent of the Senate, and making recess appointments (§ 8)
  • Vetoing bills, "except bills proposing amendments to the Montana constitution, bills ratifying proposed amendments to the United States constitution, resolutions, and initiative and referendum measures," subject to a legislative override. The Governor may also recommend amendments to bills (§ 10)
  • Convening special sessions of the legislature (§ 11)
  • Granting pardons and reprieves, remitting fines and forfeitures, and restoring citizenship (§ 12)
  • Requiring reports from any executive office and appointing committees to investigate the same (§ 15)


Under Article VI, Section 5, the governor's salary is fixed by law and the Governor may not receive any other governmental compensation while in office

As of 2010, the Governor of Montana is paid $100,121 a year, the 42nd highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

Since 1889, Montana has had 24 governors. Of the 24, 14 have been Democrats, 9 have been Republicans, and 1 was a Democratic-Populist.[2]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in Montana there were Democratic governors in office for the last nine years while there were Republican governors in office for the first 13 years.

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

Contact information

Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801

See also

External links

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