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Other than this primary constitutional duty, most state constitutions do not prescribe the duties of the lieutenant governor in detail.
In Alaska, Hawaii, New Jersey and Utah, the position of lieutenant governor is equivalent to that of secretary of state. In Tennessee and West Virginia, the President of the Senate also serves as lieutenant governor.
The chart below is a breakdown of the political parties pertaining to the state executive office of lieutenant governor. For other state executive offices, click here.
|Counts current as of April 2015. If you see an error, please email us|
List of Current Lieutenant Governors
Elected or appointed
Only two states do not have direct elections for lieutenant governor - Tennessee and West Virginia. In both states, whomever is elected the President of the State Senate is the de facto lieutenant governor. In Tennessee, the full title of this individual is, "Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate." In West Virginia, recent legislation allows the Senate President to use the title, "lieutenant governor." Prior to that change, West Virginia did not have a lieutenant governor.
Of the 43 states that elect lieutenant governors, there are three methods by which officeholders are chosen:
- on a single ticket in both the primary and general elections (21 states)
- separately in the primary election; for the general election each party's ticket for Governor and Lt. Governor is made up of the highest vote getters in the separate primary elections (5 states)
- entirely separate elections for governor and lt. governor (17 states)
|Quick facts about Lieutenant Governors|
- See also: State executive official elections, 2015
- Main article: See also: State executive official elections, 2014
Thirty states held regularly scheduled lieutenant gubernatorial elections in the 2014 electoral cycle:
- Main article: State executive official elections, 2013
Two states held regularly scheduled lieutenant gubernatorial elections in the 2013 electoral cycle: New Jersey and Virginia. The general election took place November 5, 2013. There was no partisan switch in New Jersey, with Republican incumbent Kim Guadagno easily winning re-election on a ticket with Gov. Chris Christie. In Virginia, however, the seat switched from Republican to Democrat - Ralph Northam (D) was elected to succeed incumbent Bill Bolling (R), who declined to run for re-election.
- Main article: State executive official elections, 2012
Nine states held lieutenant gubernatorial elections in 2012: Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Washington. Of these nine states, the lieutenant governor and governor are elected on a single ticket in four - Indiana, Montana, North Dakota and Utah.
Two seats switched parties in 2012 - in Montana, John E. Walsh (D) succeeded John Bohlinger (R) who was term-limited, and in an extremely close race in North Carolina, Dan Forest (R) defeated Linda Coleman (D). Following the 2012 elections, Republicans held 30 seats while Democrats held 14.
- Main article: Lieutenant Governor elections, 2011
Additionally, West Virginia held a special election following a court order. However, as the Lieutenant Governor of West Virginia is a title accorded to the legislator elected as Senate President, their 2011 election did not actually include a ballot line for the lieutenant governor.
- Main article: Lieutenant Governor elections, 2010
Thirty-one states elected lieutenant governors in November 2010, a lower number than the record 37 gubernatorial races held that year due to the fact that six U.S. states at the time did not have an office of the lieutenant governor and that one state, Tennessee, automatically makes its Senate President Pro Tem into the lieutenant governor.
Ultimately, 21 of those 31 races would go to the GOP in what turned in to a wave election for the party. Fifteen races were on a shared ticket with the governor, five were on a semi-shared ticket - that is, the candidates ran separately in the primary and jointly in the general, and 11 were entirely separate elections.
Because 11 of the 17 states that conduct entirely separate elections for the governor and the lieutenant governor were on the 2010 slate, the possibility existed for increasing the number of split tickets. In the end, that happened in both Arkansas, where voters elected a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor, and in Rhode Island, with the election of an independent governor and a Democratic lieutenant governor. After the 2010 election, Arkansas and Rhode Island joined Missouri and Montana as being governed by two parties in the executive.
Success running for governor
An April 2013 article in Governing looked at how successful lieutenant governors were in their bids for the governorship. Their research showed that since the early 1990s they made 55 attempts for the top post, of which 17 won and 38 lost - a winning percentage of 31 percent.
Democratic lieutenant governors ran 37 times, Republicans 17, with one independent. Democrats did slightly better overall, winning 35 percent of their contests, versus Republicans 24 percent. However, it is noted that those who did win did not necessarily achieve much success in the office and most never won high office again.
Virginia stood out among the states, where incumbent lieutenant governors won four of the nine races for governor since 1977. State term-limits allow governors only one term in office and provide lieutenant governors with an advantage. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato explained the situation, stating, "It's a part-time, poorly paid post whose occupants mainly spend their time running for governor." And due to Virginia's system, he added, "being seen as in the wings is a big plus."
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Lieutenant Governor State."
- Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.
- State executive offices
- State executive official elections, 2012
- State executive official elections, 2013
- State executive official elections, 2014
- State executive official elections, 2015