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Facts About Governors

How many governors have become President?

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni

This article was posted in September 2002.

In all, 16 governors have become president of the United States. Van Buren, Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were from New York; Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler were governors of Virginia.

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  • Of the 11 governors' races this year six incumbents are seeking reelection: Frank O'Bannon (D-Ind.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Michael O. Leavitt (R-Utah), Howard Dean (D-Vt.), Gary Locke (D-Wash.), and Cecil H. Underwood (R-W. Va.).
  • Five governors are leaving office this year, including Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), who is running for the U.S. Senate, Marc Racicot (R-Mont.) and James B. Hunt, Jr. (D-N.C.), who are prohibited from running for another term, and Edward T. Schafer (R-N.D.), who is choosing not to run for reelection. Missouri governor Mel Carnahan was also running for the U.S. Senate this year, until his death in a plane crash on Oct. 17, 2000.
  • Six women candidates are running for governor, including New Hampshire incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. Women candidates are also running in Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. In addition to Gov. Shaheen, only two other women are serving as state governors, Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R-Ariz.) and Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R-N.J.)
  • In all, 16 women have served as governor. The first was Nellie Tayloe Ross, who succeeded her husband after he died in office. She was inaugurated in Jan. 1925. The first woman governor elected in her own right was Ella Grasso of Connecticut, who served from 1975 to 1980.
  • Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. (D-N.C.) is currently the nation's most senior governor, having served a total of four terms. He served two consecutive terms twice, from 1977 to 1985 and from 1993 to 2001.
  • Currently, nearly one half (23) of the nation's governors have law degrees. Two governors, Howard Dean of Vermont and John A. Kitzhaber of Oregon, have medical degrees.
  • There have been only eight independent governors, including the current governors Angus King of Maine and Jesse Ventura of Minnesota.

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
The first traffic light in the United States appeared in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1914.

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