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List of governors of West Virginia (Redirected from Governor of West Virginia)

Governor of West Virginia
Seal of the Governor of West Virginia.svg
Seal of the Governor
Jim Justice in November 2021.jpg
Incumbent
Jim Justice

since January 16, 2017
Style
Status
ResidenceWest Virginia Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once consecutively
Inaugural holderArthur I. Boreman
FormationJune 20, 1863
Salary$150,000 (2013)

The governor of West Virginia is the head of government of West Virginia and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the West Virginia Legislature, to convene the legislature at any time, and, except when prosecution has been carried out by the House of Delegates, to grant pardons and reprieves.

Since West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, during the American Civil War, 34 men have served as governor. Two, Arch A. Moore Jr. (West Virginia's 28th and 30th governors) and Cecil H. Underwood (West Virginia's 25th and 32nd governors), served two nonconsecutive terms in office. The longest-serving governor was Moore, who served for three terms over twelve years. The state's first governor after admission into the Union, Arthur I. Boreman, served the most consecutive terms, resigning a week before the end of his third term. Before the state's admission, Francis H. Pierpont, the, "Father of West Virginia," was elected governor during the Wheeling Convention of 1861. Daniel D.T. Farnsworth was senate president at the time; he filled the last seven days of Boreman's term and remains the shortest-serving governor. Underwood has the unusual distinction of being both the youngest person to be elected as governor (age 34 upon his first term in 1957) and the oldest to both be elected and serve (age 74 upon his second term in 1997; age 78 at the end of his second term in 2001).

The current governor is Republican Jim Justice, who assumed office on January 16, 2017. West Virginia's 36th governor, Justice was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party on August 4 of that year.

To serve as governor, a person must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a citizen of West Virginia for at least five years at the time of inauguration. Under the current Constitution of West Virginia, ratified in 1872, the governor serves a four-year term commencing on the Monday after the second Wednesday in the January following an election. The original constitution of 1863 only called for a two-year term. He may be reelected any number of times, but not more than twice in a row. Any partial term served counts toward the limit of two consecutive terms.

The constitution makes no mention of a lieutenant governor; if the governorship becomes vacant, the senate president acts as governor. If more than one year remains in the governor's term at the time of vacancy, a new election is held; otherwise, the senate president acts as governor for the remainder of the term. A bill passed in 2000 grants the senate president the honorary title of lieutenant governor, but this title is rarely used in practice and the terms of the senate president do not correspond with governorships. The same bill states that the line of succession after the senate president will be the speaker of the House of Delegates, followed by the state attorney general, the state auditor and former governors, in inverse order of term, that are in residence in the state at the time of the vacancy.

Qualifications

Anyone who seeks to be elected Governor of West Virginia must meet the following qualifications:

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

List of governors

The following list is based on that contained in the West Virginia Blue Book, the official guide to West Virginia state government.

Parties

 Democratic (19)  People's Independent (1)  Republican (16)

# Governor Party Term in office Time in office Election
1 Arthur I. Boreman - Brady-Handy.jpg   Arthur I. Boreman
    July 24, 1823 – April 19, 1896   
(aged 72)
Republican June 20, 1863

February 26, 1869
5 years, 8 months 1863
1864
1866
2 Daniel D.T. Farnsworth.png Daniel D. T. Farnsworth
    December 23, 1819 – December 5, 1892   
(aged 72)
Republican February 26, 1869

March 4, 1869
6 days President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
3 GovernorStevenson.gif William E. Stevenson
    March 18, 1820 – November 29, 1883   
(aged 63)
Republican March 4, 1869

March 4, 1871
2 years 1868
4 Governor J. J. Jacob.jpg John J. Jacob
    December 9, 1829 – November 24, 1893   
(aged 63)
Democratic March 4, 1871

March 4, 1877
6 years 1870
Independent 1872
5 Henry M. Mathews - Brady-Handy.jpg Henry M. Mathews
    March 29, 1834 – April 28, 1884   
(aged 50)
Democratic March 4, 1877

March 4, 1881
4 years 1876
6 Jacob Beeson Jackson.gif Jacob B. Jackson
    April 6, 1829 – December 11, 1893   
(aged 64)
Democratic March 4, 1881

March 4, 1885
4 years 1880
7 GovernorWilson.gif Emanuel Willis Wilson
    August 11, 1844 – May 28, 1905   
(aged 60)
Democratic March 4, 1885

February 6, 1890
4 years, 11 months 1884
8 ABFleming.gif Aretas B. Fleming
    October 15, 1839 – October 13, 1923   
(aged 83)
Democratic February 6, 1890

March 4, 1893
3 years, 1 months 1888
9 GovernorMaccorkle.gif William A. MacCorkle
    May 7, 1857 – September 24, 1930   
(aged 73)
Democratic March 4, 1893

March 4, 1897
4 years 1892
10 George W. Atkinson.gif George W. Atkinson
    June 29, 1845 – April 4, 1925   
(aged 79)
Republican March 4, 1897

March 4, 1901
4 years 1896
11 Albert Blakeslee White wmm.jpg Albert B. White
    September 22, 1856 – July 3, 1941   
(aged 85)
Republican March 4, 1901

March 4, 1905
4 years 1900
12 William Dawson.gif William M. O. Dawson
    May 21, 1853 – March 12, 1916   
(aged 62)
Republican March 4, 1905

March 4, 1909
4 years 1904
13 GovernorGlasscock.gif William E. Glasscock
    December 13, 1862 – April 12, 1925   
(aged 62)
Republican March 4, 1909

March 14, 1913
4 years 1908
14 Henry Hatfield.jpg Henry D. Hatfield
    September 15, 1875 – October 23, 1962   
(aged 87)
Republican March 14, 1913

March 5, 1917
4 years 1912
15 John J. Cornwell.jpg John J. Cornwell
    July 11, 1867 – September 8, 1953   
(aged 86)
Democratic March 5, 1917

March 4, 1921
4 years 1916
16 Ephraim F. Morgan.jpg Ephraim F. Morgan
    January 16, 1869 – January 15, 1950   
(aged 80)
Republican March 4, 1921

March 4, 1925
4 years 1920
17 Howard Mason Gore.jpg Howard Mason Gore
    October 12, 1877 – June 20, 1947   
(aged 69)
Republican March 4, 1925

March 4, 1929
4 years 1924
18 WilliamGConley.jpg William G. Conley
    January 8, 1866 – October 21, 1940   
(aged 74)
Republican March 4, 1929

March 4, 1933
4 years 1928
19 H. Guy Kump (West Virginia Governor).jpg Herman G. Kump
    October 31, 1877 – February 14, 1962   
(aged 84)
Democratic March 4, 1933

January 18, 1937
3 years, 10 months 1932
20 Homer A. Holt.jpg Homer A. Holt
    March 1, 1898 – January 16, 1975   
(aged 76)
Democratic January 18, 1937

January 13, 1941
4 years 1936
21 Matthewneely.jpg Matthew M. Neely
    November 9, 1874 – January 18, 1958   
(aged 83)
Democratic January 13, 1941

January 15, 1945
4 years 1940
22 Clarence W. Meadows.jpg Clarence W. Meadows
    February 11, 1904 – September 12, 1961   
(aged 57)
Democratic January 15, 1945

January 17, 1949
4 years 1944
23 Okey Patteson.jpg Okey Patteson
    September 14, 1898 – July 3, 1989   
(aged 90)
Democratic January 17, 1949

January 19, 1953
4 years 1948
24 William C. Marland.jpg William C. Marland
    March 26, 1918 – November 26, 1965   
(aged 47)
Democratic January 19, 1953

January 14, 1957
4 years 1952
25 Cecil H. Underwood.jpg Cecil H. Underwood
    November 5, 1922 – November 24, 2008   
(aged 86)
Republican January 14, 1957

January 16, 1961
4 years 1956
26 William Wallace Barron.jpg William Wallace Barron
    December 8, 1911 – November 12, 2002   
(aged 90)
Democratic January 16, 1961

January 18, 1965
4 years 1960
27 Hulett C. Smith.jpg Hulett C. Smith
    October 21, 1918 – January 15, 2012   
(aged 93)
Democratic January 18, 1965

January 13, 1969
4 years 1964
28 Arch Moore 1976.jpg Arch A. Moore Jr.
    April 16, 1923 – January 7, 2015   
(aged 91)
Republican January 13, 1969

January 17, 1977
8 years 1968
1972
29 Jay Rockefeller 1977 crop.png Jay Rockefeller
(1937-06-18) June 18, 1937 (age 85)
Democratic January 17, 1977

January 14, 1985
8 years 1976
1980
30 Arch Moore.jpg Arch A. Moore Jr.
    April 16, 1923 – January 7, 2015   
(aged 91)
Republican January 14, 1985

January 16, 1989
4 years 1984
31 Gaston Caperton crop.jpg Gaston Caperton
(1940-02-21) February 21, 1940 (age 82)
Democratic January 16, 1989

January 13, 1997
8 years 1988
1992
32 Cecil Underwood 1998 (cropped).jpg   Cecil H. Underwood
    November 5, 1922 – November 24, 2008   
(aged 86)
Republican January 13, 1997

January 15, 2001
4 years 1996
33 Bob Wise.jpg Bob Wise
(1948-01-06) January 6, 1948 (age 74)
Democratic January 15, 2001

January 17, 2005
4 years 2000
34 Joe Manchin, Official Senate Portrait.jpg Joe Manchin
(1947-08-24) August 24, 1947 (age 75)
Democratic January 17, 2005

November 15, 2010
5 years, 10 months 2004
2008
35 Earl Ray Tomblin 2 (cropped).jpg Earl Ray Tomblin
(1952-03-15) March 15, 1952 (age 70)
Democratic November 15, 2010

November 13, 2011
1 year President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
November 13, 2011

January 16, 2017
5 years, 2 months 2011§
2012
36 COVID-19 Update 9-6-21 (cropped).jpg Jim Justice
(1951-04-27) April 27, 1951 (age 71)
Democratic
January 16, 2017

Incumbent
5 years, 308 days 2016
Republican
2020

Succession

Other high offices held

This is a table of congressional offices held by governors. All representatives and senators listed represented West Virginia. No governor of West Virginia has held any other federal office.

Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to take.
† Denotes those offices that the governor resigned to be governor.
Governor Gubernatorial term U.S. House U.S. Senate Source
Arthur I. Boreman 1863–1869 S*
George W. Atkinson 1897–1901 H
Henry D. Hatfield 1913–1917 S
Matthew M. Neely 1941–1945 H S†
Arch A. Moore Jr. 1969–1977
1985–1989
H
Jay Rockefeller 1977–1985 S
Bob Wise 2001–2005 H
Joe Manchin 2005–2010 S*

Living former governors of West Virginia

As of January 2017, there are five former governors of West Virginia who are currently living at this time, the oldest of whom is Jay Rockefeller (served 1977–1985, born 1937). The most recent governor to die was Arch A. Moore Jr. (served 1969–1977 and 1985–1989, born 1923), who died on January 7, 2015. The most recently serving governor to die was Cecil H. Underwood (served 1957–1961 and 1997–2001, born 1922), who died on November 24, 2008.

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Jay Rockefeller 1977–1985 (1937-06-18) June 18, 1937 (age 85)
Gaston Caperton 1989–1997 (1940-02-21) February 21, 1940 (age 82)
Joe Manchin 2005–2010 (1947-08-24) August 24, 1947 (age 75)
Bob Wise 2001–2005 (1948-01-06) January 6, 1948 (age 74)
Earl Ray Tomblin 2010–2011(acting),
2011–2017
(1952-03-15) March 15, 1952 (age 70)

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