Governor of West Virginia

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West Virginia Governor
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $5,547,731
Term limits:  2 consecutive terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  West Virginia Constitution, Article VII, Section 5
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Name:  Earl Ray Tomblin
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  November 15, 2010
Compensation:  $150,000
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other West Virginia Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerSecretary of CommerceCommissioner of LaborPublic Service Commission
The Governor of the State of West Virginia is an elected Constitutional officer, the head of the Executive branch, and the highest state office in West Virginia. The Governor is popularly elected every four years by a plurality and is limited to two consecutive terms.[1]

As of May 2013, West Virginia is one of 13 Democratic state government trifectas.

Current officeholder

The 35th and current governor is Earl Ray Tomblin a Democrat who succeeded to the office when Joe Manchin won a U.S. Senate seat in 2010. He then won the October 4, 2011 West Virginia special gubernatorial election.[2]


The state Constitution addresses the office of the governor in Article VII, West Virginia Constitution.

Under Article VII, Section 5:

The chief executive power shall be vested in the governor...


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

A candidate for governor must be:

  • a citizen of the United States
  • a resident of West Virginia for at least give years preceding the election
  • a duly qualified elector of West Virgina
  • at least 30 years old

Additionally, the Governor may hold no federal office and no state office aide from the governorship.

Under Article IV, Section 10, which governors Elections and Officers, no individual who has fought a duel with deadly weapons, sent a challenge for such a duel, or knowingly acted as a second in such a duel in West Virginia or in any other state may hold any office in West Virginia.


See also: West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2012

West Virginia elects governors in the Presidential election years. For West Virginia, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020 are all gubernatorial election years. Legally, the gubernatorial inauguration is always set for the first Monday after the second Wednesday in January following the election. Thus, January 14, 2013 and January 16, 2017 are inaugural days.


See also: West Virginia gubernatorial election, 2012

Incumbent Earl Ray Tomblin (D) defeated challengers Bill Maloney (R), Jesse Johnson (M), David Moran (L) and several write-in candidates in the November 6, 2012 general election.

Governor of West Virginia General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEarl Ray Tomblin Incumbent 50.4% 284,758
     Republican Bill Maloney 45.7% 258,376
     Mountain Jesse Johnson 2.6% 14,614
     Libertarian David Moran 1.4% 7,653
Total Votes 565,401
Election Results via West Virginia Secretary of State Election Results Center.

Term limits

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits

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

West Virginia Constitution, Article VII, Section 4

A person who has been elected or who has served as governor during all or any part of two consecutive terms shall be ineligible for the office of governor during any part of the term immediately following the second of the two consecutive terms.

Partisan composition

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of West Virginia from 1992-2013.

Governor of West Virginia Partisanship.PNG


See also: How gubernatorial vacancies are filled

Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article VII, Section 16.

If a sitting Governor dies, resigns, is removed or impeached, is absent, or is unable to discharge the office, temporarily or permanently, the President of the Senate shall succeed to the office as Acting Governor.

After the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates is the next in line. If the governorship if vacant and neither of the two aforementioned officers are able to serve, a joint session of the legislature shall vote on an Acting Governor.

The Acting Governor only completes the term when less than one year remains; otherwise a special election is held at the next general election.


West Virginia

The Governor is the chief executive of West Virginia. She is the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces (§ 12) and is charged by the West Virginia Constitution with carrying out the state's laws (§ 5).

Other duties and privileges of the office include:

  • Addressing the General Assembly at the commencement of each regular legislative session on the state of the state, making recommendation for legislation, and giving an accounting of the budget to the legislature (§ 6)
  • Convening the legislature in extraordinary session by proclamation (§ 7)
  • Nominating and, with the advice and the consent of the Senate, appointing all officers not otherwise provided for (§ 8)
  • Making recess appointments to fill vacancies for all non-elective offices when the Senate is not meeting (§ 9)
  • Removing any appointed officer for "...incompetency, neglect of duty, gross immorality, or malfeasance in office..." (§ 10)
  • Remitting fines and forfeitures, remitting capital sentences unless the conviction was made by the House of Delegates, and granting pardons and commutations (§ 11)
  • Requiring additional security from state officers required to execute bonds at her discretion and declaring the office vacant if the officeholder does not make the additional security (§ 13)
  • Vetoing bills (§ 14), including appropriations (§ 15), subject to a majority override of the legislature
  • Requiring a semiannual report, under oath or affirmation, from the subordinate officers of all executive departments and public institutions, concerning each office's collection and disbursement of public moneys (§ 17)
  • Requiring reports from the heads of each executive department and state institution concerning each office's "condition, management, and expenses", not to be made less than ten days before the start of the regular legislative session. The governor shall communicate the findings of such reports to the legislature in her address (§ 18)

State budget

The budget for the Governor's Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $5,547,731.[3]


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

The governor's salary is set by law and may not be raised or diminished effective during the current term. Constitutionally, no Governor, after leaving office, may receive any additional compensation or reimbursement.


In 2012, the governor was paid an estimated $150,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


As of 2010, the Governor of West Virginia is paid $95,000 a year, the 46th highest gubernatorial salary in America.

Historical officeholders

There have been 36 governors of West Virginia since 1863. Of the 36 officeholders, 15 were Republican, 19 were Democrats, 1 was a Democrat/Independent, and 1 was a Unionist.[4]

Contact information

West Virginia

1900 Kanawha Boulevard, E.
Charleston, WV 25305
Toll-Free: 1-888-438-2731


Partisan balance 1992-2013

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

From 1992-2013, in West Virginia there were Democratic governors in office for 18 years, including the last 13, while there were Republican governors in office for four years. West Virginia is one of seven states that were run by a Democratic governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. West Virginia was under Democratic trifectas for the final 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 West Virginia, the West Virginia State Senate and the West Virginia House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of West Virginia state government(1992-2013).PNG

See also

External links

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