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The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency. The current Lieutenant Governor is Democrat Daniel Mongiardo.

Changes by 1992 amendment

The role and powers of the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky were greatly altered by a 1992 amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky. Prior to that 1992 amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky the lieutenant governor became acting governor at any time that the governor was outside of the commonwealth. Lieutenant governors Thelma Stovall (1975-1979) and Happy Chandler (1931-1935) engaged in high profile use of their powers as acting governor when the elected governor was out of the commonwealth.

Also prior to the 1992 amendment of the Constitution of Kentucky, the lieutenant governor of Kentucky presided over the Kentucky Senate, casting a vote only in the event of a tie. The 1992 constitutional amendment supplanted the office of President pro tempore of the Kentucky Senate with the new office of President of the Kentucky Senate as presiding officer and abolished the lieutenant governor's duties involving the Senate. As a result, the lieutenant governor has no ongoing constitutional duties, and his or her traditional use of the Old Governor's Mansion as an official residence has been phased out.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Kentucky run together on party slates. This is the result of the same 1992 constitutional amendment; prior to that the candidates for both offices ran separately and, as a result, sometimes the two elected to those offices were not allies and did not work together. This was famously highlighted when then-Lt. Gov. A. B. "Happy" Chandler in 1935 and then-Lt. Gov. Thelma Stovall in 1978 called the Kentucky General Assembly into session to enact legislation that was not advocated by the governors at the time (Ruby Laffoon and Julian Carroll, respectively). In 1967 a Republican, Louie Nunn, was elected governor and a Democrat, Wendell H. Ford, was elected lieutenant governor; they served together in that way for four years.

List of Lieutenant Governors of Kentucky

  1. John Caldwell 1804-06
  2. Thomas Posey 1806-08
  3. Gabriel Slaughter 1808-12
  4. Richard Hickman 1812-16
  5. Gabriel Slaughter 1816
  6. William T. Barry 1820-24
  7. Robert B. McAfee 1824-28
  8. John Breathitt 1828-32
  9. James T. Morehead 1832-34
  10. Charles A. Wickliffe 1836-39
  11. Manlius Valerius Thomson 1840-44
  12. Archibald Dixon 1844-48
  13. John Larue Helm 1848-50
  14. John Burton Thompson 1852-53
  15. James Greene Hardy 1855-56
  16. Linn Boyd 1859
  17. Richard Taylor Jacob 1863-64
  18. John White Stevenson 1867
  19. John G. Carlisle 1871-75
  20. John C. Underwood 1875-79
  21. James E. Cantrill 1879-83
  22. James Robert Hindman 1883-87
  23. James William Bryan 1887-91
  24. Mitchell Cary Alford 1891-95
  25. William Jackson Worthington 1895-99
  26. John Marshall 1899-1900
  27. J. C. W. Beckham 1900
  28. William P. Thorne 1903-07
  29. William H. Cox 1907-11
  30. Edward J. McDermott 1911-15
  31. James D. Black 1915-19
  32. S. Thruston Ballard 1919-23
  33. Henry Denhardt 1923-27
  34. James Breathitt, Jr. 1927-31
  35. Happy Chandler 1931-35
  36. Keen Johnson 1935-39
  37. Rodes K. Myers 1939-43
  38. Kenneth H. Tuggle 1943-47
  39. Lawrence Wetherby 1947-50
  40. Emerson Beauchamp 1951-55
  41. Harry Lee Waterfield 1955-59
  42. Wilson W. Wyatt 1959-63
  43. Harry Lee Waterfield 1963-67
  44. Wendell H. Ford 1967-71
  45. Julian M. Carroll 1971-74
  46. Thelma Stovall 1975-79
  47. Martha Layne Collins 1979-83
  48. Steve Beshear 1983-87
  49. Brereton C. Jones 1987-1991
  50. Paul E. Patton 1991-95
  51. Steve Henry 1995-2003
  52. Steve Pence 2003-2007
  53. Daniel Mongiardo 2007-

Some accounts also indicate that Kentucky's Confederate government had one lieutenant governor, Horatio F. Simrall, who was elected at the Russellville Convention in 1861. Simrall fled to Mississippimarker shortly thereafter.


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