List of Governors of Arkansas

Governor of Arkansas
Seal of Arkansas.svg
Asa Hutchinson 2006 (cropped).jpg
Incumbent
Asa Hutchinson

since January 13, 2015  (2015-01-13)
Style
Status
Residence Arkansas Governor's Mansion
Seat Little Rock, Arkansas
Term length Four years, renewable once (Seventy-third Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution of 1874)
Constituting instrument Arkansas Constitution of 1836
Precursor Governor of Arkansas Territory
Inaugural holder James Sevier Conway
Formation September 13, 1836
(182 years ago)
 (1836-09-13)
Deputy Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas
Salary US$128,000 per year
(2016)[1]
Website governor.arkansas.gov

The Governor of Arkansas is the chief executive of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The governor is the head of the executive branch of the Arkansas government and is charged with enforcing state laws. They have the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Arkansas General Assembly, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.[2]

The state has had 46 elected governors, as well as 11 acting governors who assumed powers and duties following the resignation or death of the governor. Before becoming a state, Arkansas Territory had four governors appointed to it by the President of the United States. Orval Faubus (1955-1967) served the longest term as state governor, being elected six times to serve 12 years. Bill Clinton (1979-1981; 1983-1992), elected five times over two distinct terms, fell only one month short of twelve years and Mike Huckabee (1996-2007) served 10 years for two full four-year terms. The shortest term for an elected governor was the 38 days served by John Sebastian Little before his nervous breakdown; one of the acting successors to his term, Jesse M. Martin, took office only three days before the end of the term, the shortest term overall. The current governor is Republican Asa Hutchinson, who took office on January 13, 2015.

Governors

Governors of the Territory of Arkansas

Arkansaw Territory (renamed Arkansas Territory around 1822)[a] was split from Missouri Territory on July 4, 1819.[4]

As secretary of the territory from 1819 to 1829, Robert Crittenden served as acting governor whenever the appointed governor was not in the state. This meant he was the first person to perform the office of Governor of Arkansas Territory, since James Miller did not arrive in the territory until nine months after his appointment.[5]

Governors of the Territory of Arkansas
No. Governor Term in office Appointed by Notes
1 AR Miller James.jpg James Miller March 3, 1819
–
December 27, 1824
James Monroe [b][c]
2 George Izard.jpg George Izard March 4, 1825
–
November 22, 1828
[d][e]
John Quincy Adams
3 AR Pope John.jpg John Pope March 9, 1829[8]
–
March 9, 1835
Andrew Jackson [f][g]
4 WSFulton.jpg William S. Fulton March 9, 1835
–
September 13, 1836[h]
[i]

Governors of the State of Arkansas

Arkansas was admitted to the Union on June 15, 1836.[12] The state seceded on May 6, 1861,[13] and was admitted to the Confederacy on May 18, 1861.[14] When Little Rock, the state capital, was captured on September 10, 1863, the Confederate state government relocated to Washington, Arkansas, and a Union government was installed in its place, causing an overlap in the terms of Confederate Governor Harris Flanagin and Union Governor Isaac Murphy.[15] Following the end of the American Civil War, it was part of the Fourth Military District. Arkansas was readmitted to the Union on June 22, 1868.[16]

The Arkansas Constitution of 1836 established four-year terms for governors,[17] which was lowered to two years in the 1874, and current, constitution.[18] An amendment in 1984 increased the terms of both governor and lieutenant governor to four years.[19] Governors were originally limited only to serving no more than eight out of every twelve years,[17] but the 1874 constitution removed any term limit. A referendum in 1992 limited governors to two terms.[20]

Until 1864, the constitutions provided that, should the office of governor be rendered vacant, the president of the senate would serve as acting governor until such time as a new governor were elected or the disability removed, or the acting governor's senate term expired.[21][22] This led to some situations where the governorship changed hands in quick succession, due to senate terms ending or new senate presidents being elected. For example, after John Sebastian Little resigned in 1907, three senate presidents acted as governor before the next elected governor took office. Should the president of the senate be similarly incapacitated, the next in line for the governorship was the speaker of the state house of representatives.

The 1864 constitution created the office of lieutenant governor[23] who would also act as president of the senate,[24] and who would serve as acting governor in case of vacancy.[25] The 1868 constitution maintained the position,[26] but the 1874 constitution removed it and returned to the original line of succession.[27] An amendment to the constitution, passed in 1914 but not recognized until 1925,[28] recreated the office of lieutenant governor, who becomes governor in case of vacancy of the governor's office.[29] The governor and lieutenant governor are not elected on the same ticket.

Arkansas was a strongly Democratic state before the Civil War, electing only candidates from the Democratic party. It elected three Republican governors following Reconstruction, but after the Democratic Party re-established control, 92 years passed before voters chose another Republican.

Governors of the State of Arkansas [j]
No.[k] Governor Term in office[l] Party Election Lt. Governor[m][n]
1 AR Conway James Sevier.jpg   James Sevier Conway September 13, 1836[h]
–
November 4, 1840
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1836 Office did not exist
2 Archibald Yell - 2er Gouverneur Arkansas.jpg Archibald Yell November 4, 1840
–
April 29, 1844
(resigned)[o]
Democratic 1840
β€” Samuel Adams (governor).jpg Samuel Adams April 29, 1844
–
November 9, 1844[p]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
3 Thomas Stevenson Drew - Gouverneur von Arkansas.jpg Thomas Stevenson Drew November 5, 1844[p]
–
January 10, 1849
(resigned)[q]
Democratic 1844
1848
β€” Richard C. Byrd January 10, 1849
–
April 19, 1849
(not candidate for election)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
4 AR Roane John.jpg John Selden Roane April 19, 1849
–
November 15, 1852
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1849
(special)[r]
5 Elias Nelson Conway.jpg Elias Nelson Conway November 15, 1852
–
November 15, 1860[s]
(term limited)
Democratic 1852
1856
6 Henry Massey Rector.jpg Henry Massey Rector November 16, 1860[s]
–
November 4, 1862
(resigned)[t]
Democratic 1860[u]
β€” Thomas Fletcher November 4, 1862
–
November 15, 1862
(successor took office)[v]
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
7 Governor Harris Flanigin.jpg Harris Flanagin November 15, 1862
–
May 26, 1865[w]
(government-in-exile
disbanded)
[x]
Democratic 1862[y]
8 Isaac Murphy.jpg Isaac Murphy April 18, 1864
–
July 2, 1868
(not candidate for election)
Unionist 1864[x]   Calvin C. Bliss[46]
9 Powell Clayton.jpg Powell Clayton July 2, 1868
–
March 17, 1871
(resigned)[z]
Republican 1868   James M. Johnson[48]
(resigned March 14, 1871)[z]
Vacant
β€” O. A. Hadley (Arkansas Governor) 2.jpg Ozra Amander Hadley[aa] March 17, 1871
–
January 6, 1873
(not candidate for election)
Republican President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[z]
10 Elisha Baxter.png Elisha Baxter January 6, 1873
–
November 12, 1874
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1872[ab][ac] Volney V. Smith[50]
11 Augustus Hill Garland - Brady-Handy.jpg Augustus Hill Garland November 12, 1874
–
January 11, 1877
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1874 Office did not exist
12 WRMiller.jpg William Read Miller January 11, 1877
–
January 13, 1881
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1876
1878
13 Thomas James Churchill (2).jpg Thomas James Churchill January 13, 1881
–
January 13, 1883
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1880
14 AR James Berry.jpg James Henderson Berry January 13, 1883
–
January 15, 1885[ad]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1882
15 Simon Pollard Hughes, Jr - Gouverneur von Arkansas.jpg Simon Pollard Hughes Jr. January 15, 1885[ad]
–
January 17, 1889[54]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1884
1886
16 James Philip Eagle.jpg James Philip Eagle January 17, 1889[54]
–
January 14, 1893[55]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1888
1890
17 William Meade Fishback.jpg William Meade Fishback January 14, 1893[55]
–
January 18, 1895[56]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1892
18 AR Clarke John.jpg James Paul Clarke January 18, 1895[56]
–
January 18, 1897
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1894
19 Daniel Webster Jones (governor).jpg Daniel Webster Jones January 18, 1897
–
January 18, 1901[57]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1896
1898
20 Jeff Davis.jpg Jeff Davis January 18, 1901[57]
–
January 18, 1907
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1900
1902
1904
21 AR Little John.jpg John Sebastian Little January 18, 1907
–
February 11, 1907[ae]
(resigned)[af]
Democratic 1906
β€” John Isaac Moore.jpg John Isaac Moore February 11, 1907[ae]
–
May 14, 1907
(legislature adjourned)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[ag]
β€” PindallXO f.jpg Xenophon Overton Pindall May 14, 1907
–
January 11, 1909
(senate term expired)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[ag]
β€” Jesse M. Martin January 11, 1909
–
January 14, 1909
(successor took office)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[ag]
22 Portrait of George Washington Donaghey.jpg George Washington Donaghey January 14, 1909
–
January 16, 1913
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1908
1910
23 Joseph T. Robinson cropped.jpg Joseph Taylor Robinson January 16, 1913
–
March 8, 1913[63]
(resigned)[ah]
Democratic 1912
β€” William Kavanaugh Oldham March 8, 1913[63]
–
March 13, 1913
(new president of
the senate elected)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[ai]
β€” Junius Marion Futrell March 13, 1913
–
August 6, 1913[aj]
(successor took office)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
Governor
[ai]
24 George Washington Hays August 6, 1913[aj]
–
January 10, 1917[ak]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1913
(special)[ai]
1914
25 Charles Hillman Brough in 1916.jpg Charles Hillman Brough January 10, 1917[ak]
–
January 11, 1921[al]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1916
1918
26 AR McRae Thomas.jpg Thomas Chipman McRae January 11, 1921[al]
–
January 13, 1925[72]
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1920
1922
27 Tom Terral January 13, 1925[72]
–
January 11, 1927
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1924
28 JohnEllisMartineau.jpg John Ellis Martineau January 11, 1927
–
March 14, 1928[am]
(resigned)[an]
Democratic 1926 Harvey Parnell
29 Harvey Parnell March 14, 1928[am]
–
January 10, 1933
(not candidate for election)
Democratic Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
1928 Lee Cazort
1930 Lawrence Elery Wilson
30 Junius Marion Futrell January 10, 1933
–
January 12, 1937
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1932 Lee Cazort
1934
31 Carl Edward Bailey January 12, 1937
–
January 14, 1941
(lost election)
Democratic 1936 Robert L. Bailey
1938
32 Homer Martin Adkins January 14, 1941
–
January 9, 1945
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1940
1942 James L. Shaver
33 Benjamin Travis Laney January 9, 1945
–
January 11, 1949
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1944
1946 Nathan Green Gordon
34 Sid mcmath1.JPG Sid McMath January 11, 1949
–
January 13, 1953
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1948
1950
35 Francis Cherry January 13, 1953
–
January 11, 1955
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1952
36 Orval Faubus speaking, 20 August 1959.jpg Orval Faubus January 11, 1955
–
January 10, 1967
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1954
1956
1958
1960
1962
1964
37 Winthrop Rockefeller.jpg Winthrop Rockefeller January 10, 1967
–
January 12, 1971
(lost election)
Republican 1966 Maurice Britt
1968
38 Dale Bumpers.jpg Dale Bumpers January 12, 1971
–
January 3, 1975[76]
(resigned)[ao]
Democratic 1970 Bob C. Riley
1972
β€” Bob C. Riley January 3, 1975[76]
–
January 14, 1975
(successor took office)
Democratic Lieutenant
Governor
acting as
Governor
[ap]
Acting as Governor
39 AR Pryor David (cropped).jpg David Pryor January 14, 1975
–
January 3, 1979
(resigned)[aq]
Democratic 1974 Joe Purcell
1976
β€” Joe Purcell January 3, 1979
–
January 9, 1979
(successor took office)
Democratic Lieutenant
Governor
acting as
Governor[ap]
Acting as Governor
40 Bill Clinton (37899881792) (cropped2).jpg Bill Clinton January 9, 1979
–
January 19, 1981
(lost election)
Democratic 1978 Joe Purcell
41 Frank D. White 1995.jpg Frank D. White January 19, 1981
–
January 11, 1983
(lost election)
Republican 1980 Winston Bryant[ar]
42 Bill Clinton.jpg Bill Clinton January 11, 1983
–
December 12, 1992
(resigned)[as]
Democratic 1982
1984
1986[at]
1990 Jim Guy Tucker
43 Jim Guy Tucker.jpg Jim Guy Tucker December 12, 1992
–
July 15, 1996
(resigned)[au]
Democratic Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
Mike Huckabee[av]
(elected November 20, 1993)[78]
1994
44 Huckabee-SF-CC-024.jpg Mike Huckabee July 15, 1996
–
January 9, 2007
(term limited)
Republican Succeeded from
Lieutenant
Governor
Vacant
Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
(elected November 19, 1996)[79]
(died July 16, 2006)
1998
2002
Vacant
45 MikeBeebe2009 (cropped).jpg Mike Beebe January 9, 2007
–
January 13, 2015
(term limited)
Democratic 2006 Bill Halter
2010 Mark Darr[av]
(resigned February 1, 2014)
Vacant
46 Asa Hutchinson.jpg Asa Hutchinson January 13, 2015
–
present[aw]
Republican 2014 Tim Griffin
2018