List of Governors of Montana

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The Governor of Montana is the head of the executive branch of Montana's government[1] and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[2] The governor has a duty to enforce state laws,[1] and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Montana State Legislature,[3] to convene the legislature at any time,[4] and to grant pardons and reprieves.[5]

The current Montana Constitution, ratified in 1972, calls for a four-year term for the governor, commencing on the first Monday in the January following an election.[6] The governor is term-limited to 8 years in any 16-year period.[7] The constitution provides for the election of a lieutenant governor for the same term as the governor. The two offices are elected on the same ticket;[6] this provision did not appear in the state's first constitution, ratified in 1889. In the event of a vacancy in the office of governor due to resignation, disqualification, or death, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term. If the governor is unable to perform his duties for any other reason, the lieutenant governor may become acting governor at the discretion of the state legislature.[8] The 1889 constitution made the lieutenant governor president of the state senate,[9] but this provision was removed in the 1972 constitution.

Montana has had 22 governors, consisting of 9 Republicans and 13 Democrats. The longest-serving governor was John Edward Erickson, who was elected three times and served from 1925 to 1933 before resigning to become a U.S. senator, only two months into his third term. The shortest-serving governor was Elmer Holt, who served less than 13 months when the previous governor died. The current governor is Democrat Brian Schweitzer, who took office on January 3, 2005 and is serving his second term.


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