Governor of South Carolina

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South Carolina Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012-2013 FY Budget:  $1,910,705
Term limits:  Two consecutive terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   South Carolina Constitution, Article IV, Section I
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Nikki Haley
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  January 12, 2011
Compensation:  $106,078
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other South Carolina Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateComptrollerAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorAdjutant GeneralInspector GeneralSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of South Carolina is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in South Carolina. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.

As of May 2015, South Carolina is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: South Carolina State Legislature, South Carolina House of Representatives, South Carolina State Senate

Current officer

The 116th and current governor is Nikki Haley, a Republican elected in 2010.[1]


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

Under Article IV, Section I:

The supreme executive authority of this State shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate, who shall be styled "The Governor of the State of South Carolina."


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

A candidate for the governor must be:

  • at least 30 years old
  • a citizen of the United States
  • a resident of South Carolina for at least five years
  • believe in the existence of the "Supreme Being"

Additionally, the Governor may not hold office or a commission under any other power, excepting that of a militia.


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article IV, Sections 6 and 7 and under Article IV, Section 11 and 12

If a Governor-elect dies or declines to take office, the Lieutenant Governor-elect shall take office as the Governor and serve the full term. If the Governor-elect is temporarily unable to take the oath, the Lieutenant Governor-elect takes office as Acting Governor only until the Governor-elect is able to take the oath.

If both the Governor-elect and the Lieutenant Governor-elect are both unable to take office, the gubernatorial powers devolve through the line of succession, subject to the dual-office holding provision of the Constitution.

The Lieutenant Governor is Acting Governor and has the powers to act in an emergency in the event of the temporary absence or disability of the Governor. The Governor declares her temporary or permanent disability to discharge the office in writing to the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. In the case of a temporary disability, she also declares her ability to resume the office in the same manner.

If a majority of the officers serving as Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Comptroller General and the State Treasurer transmit, in writing, a declaration to the Senate President Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House, that the Governor is unfit the serve, the Lieutenant Governor shall immediately become the Acting Governor.

The Governor then may declare his declaration to the General Assembly that no such inability exists and will resume the office unless a majority of the members of the Assembly transmit their written declaration to the contrary to the President Pro Tem and the Senate. In that case, the Assembly has 21 days, excluding Sundays, to convene and vote on the issue, requiring a two-thirds vote to remove the Governor.

The Lieutenant Governor also becomes the Acting Governor in the event of the death, resignation, or removal of the Governor, and act as Governor during an impeachment until a judgment is rendered in the impeachment trial.


South Carolina state government organizational chart

South Carolina elects governors in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not Presidential election years. For South Carolina, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Wednesday following the second Tuesday in the January following an election. Thus, January 12, 2011 and January 14, 2015 are inaugural days.

If there is a tie, a joint session of the legislature shall cast ballots to choose the governor from the two highest vote-getters.

Beginning in 2018, the governor and lieutenant governor will be elected on a joint ticket. The change is the result of a ballot measure passed by voters in 2012.[2]

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

South Carolina governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.

South Carolina Constitution, Article IV, Section 3

No person shall be elected Governor for more than two successive terms.

Partisan composition

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

Full History


Under the South Carolina Constitution, the Governor is also the head of government, serving as the chief executive of the South Carolina executive branch. The governor is the ex officio Commander-in-Chief of the state National Guard when not called into federal use and of the state's unorganized militia (§ 13).

The governor's responsibilities include making yearly "State of the State" addresses to the South Carolina General Assembly, submitting an executive state budget and ensuring that state laws are enforced (§ 15).

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Commuting death sentences to life imprisonment (§ 14); all other clemency matters are regulated by statute
  • Requiring written reports from the officers of any agency or institute in the executive branch on any aspect of their duties (§ 17)
  • Periodically addressing the General Assembly on the state of the state and making recommendations concerning legislation (§ 18)
  • Convening special session of the legislation and, when the legislature is five days without a quorum, adjourning them (§ 19)
  • Residing at the official Governor's Residence, the South Carolina Executive Mansion, except in cases of epidemic, natural disaster, or war (§ 20)
  • Vetoing bills and joint resolutions, subject to a two-thirds legislative override (§ 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 South Carolina 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: South Carolina state budget

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

  1. In July and August of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
  2. In September, agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
  3. Budget hearings are held with state agencies in September and October.
  4. In January the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature.
  5. Both the House and the Senate pass a budget. If these versions do not match, a conference committee consisting of both House and Senate members is assembled to reconcile the differences.
  6. The legislature must pass a budget with a simple majority by the beginning of the fiscal year, which is July 1. The governor may exercise line item veto power on the enacted budget.

The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget, and any budget signed into law by the governor must be balanced.[4]

A rainy day fund, the General Reserve Fund, must maintain a balance equaling three percent of General Fund revenue. Rainy day funds may be withdrawn only for the purpose of covering operating deficits.[5]

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

Governor's office budget

The budget for the Governor's Office (Executive Control of State only) in Fiscal Year 2012-2013 was $1,910,705.[6]


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


In 2013, the governor's salary remained at $106,078.[7]


In 2010, the Governor of South Carolina was paid $106,078 a year, the 38th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

There have been 91 governors of South Carolina since 1776. Of the 91 officeholders, 56 were Democrats, 16 were Democratic-Republicans, 8 were Republican, 5 had no party affiliation, 5 were Federalists, and 1 was Conservative.[8]


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in South Carolina there were Democratic governors in office for four years while there were Republican governors in office for 18 years, including the last 11. South Carolina is one of eight states that were run by a Republican governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. South Carolina was under Republican trifectas for the final 11 years of the study.

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

SQLI and partisanship

South Carolina was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period. South Carolina was Republican-dominated during the years of the study but experienced a shift toward much stronger Republican control, resulting in Republican trifectas from 2003-2013.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the South Carolina 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. South Carolina ranked in the bottom-10 during every year of the study except the most recent. In 2012 it improved, finishing at 38th. The state's worst ranking, finishing 47th, occurred during both divided government and Republican trifectas.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 44.30
  • SQLI average with divided government: 45.00
Chart displaying the partisanship of the South Carolina government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "South Carolina" + Governor

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

"South+Carolina"+Governor&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss Governor of South Carolina News Feed

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Contact information

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12267
Columbia, SC 29211

See also

External links

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