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List of Governors of Pennsylvania: Map


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Number of Governors of Pennsylvania by party affiliation
Party Governors
Republican 25
Democratic 12
Democratic-Republican 6
Whig 2
None 1
Anti-Masonic 1

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the head of the executive branch of Pennsylvaniamarker's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has a duty to enforce state laws, and the power to approve or veto bill passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature and to convene the legislature. The governor may grant pardons except in cases of impeachment, but only when recommended by the Board of Pardons.

The first constitution in 1776 created the Supreme Executive Council as the executive branch, with the President as its head. The president was chosen annually by the council, though with no specific term dates. The 1790 constitution abolished the council and replaced the president with a governor, and established a three-year term for governor commencing on the third Tuesday of the December following the election, with governors not allowed to serve more than nine out of any twelve years. The 1838 constitution moved the start of the term to the third Tuesday of the January following the election, and allowed governors to only serve six out of any nine years. The 1874 constitution lengthened the term to four years, and prohibited governors from succeeding themselves. The current constitution of 1968 changed this to allow governors to serve two consecutive terms. There are no limits on the number of terms a governor may serve in total as long as there is a four year break after a second term.

If the office of governor becomes vacant through death, resignation, or conviction on impeachment, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the term; if the office is only temporarily vacant due to disability of the governor, the lieutenant governor only acts out the duties of governor. Should both offices be vacant, the president pro tempore of the state senate becomes governor. The position of lieutenant governor was created in the 1874 constitution; prior to then, the speaker of the senate would act as governor in cases of vacancy. Originally, the lieutenant governor could only act as governor; it was not until the 1968 constitution that the lieutenant governor could actually become governor in that fashion. Governors and lieutenant governors are elected on the same ticket. The original 1776 constitution created the position of "vice-president", though no provision was made if the office of president became vacant, which occurred four times. Contemporary sources continue to label the chief executive in such times as the vice president, without any notion of succeeding to the presidency. One acting president, George Bryan, has since been recognized as a full-fledged governor, due to his acting as president for over six months. The office of governor has been vacant for an extended period once, a 17-day gap in 1848 between the death of the previous governor and the swearing in of his acting successor.

There have been seven presidents and 45 governors of Pennsylvania, with two governors serving non-consecutive terms, totalling 54 terms in both offices. The longest term was that of the first governor, Thomas Mifflin, who served three full terms as governor in addition to two years as president. The shortest term belonged to John C. Bell, Jr., who served only 19 days as acting governor after his predecessor resigned. The current governor is Ed Rendell, whose second term began on January 16, 2007.


Pennsylvania was one of the original thirteen colonies, and was admitted as a state on December 12, 1787. Prior to declaring its independence, Pennsylvania was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britainmarker; see the list colonial governors for the pre-statehood period.

Presidents of the Supreme Executive Council

Presidents were elected by members of the Supreme Executive Council, and predated established political parties in the United States.

# President Took office Left office Vice President
1 Thomas Wharton Jr. March 5, 1777 May 23, 1778 George Bryan
2 George Bryan May 23, 1778 December 1, 1778 acting as president
3 Joseph Reed December 1, 1778 November 15, 1781 George Bryan
Matthew Smith
William Moore
4 William Moore November 15, 1781 November 7, 1782 James Potter
5 John Dickinson November 7, 1782 October 18, 1785 James Ewing
James Irvine
Charles Biddle
6 Benjamin Franklin October 18, 1785 November 5, 1788 Charles Biddle
Peter Muhlenberg
David Redick
7 Thomas Mifflin November 5, 1788 December 21, 1790 George Ross


# Name Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Terms
1 Thomas Mifflin December 21, 1790 December 17, 1799 None None 3
2 Thomas McKean December 17, 1799 December 20, 1808 Democratic-Republican None 3
3 Simon Snyder December 20, 1808 December 16, 1817 Democratic-Republican None 3
4 William Findlay December 16, 1817 December 19, 1820 Democratic-Republican None 1
5 Joseph Hiester December 19, 1820 December 16, 1823 Democratic-Republican None 1
6 John Andrew Shulze December 16, 1823 December 15, 1829 Democratic-Republican None 2
7 George Wolf December 15, 1829 December 15, 1835 Democratic-Republican None 2
8 Joseph Ritner December 15, 1835 January 15, 1839 Anti-Masonic None 1
9 David R. Porter January 15, 1839 January 21, 1845 Democratic None 2
10 Francis R. Shunk January 21, 1845 July 9, 1848 Democratic None
Office vacant July 9, 1848 July 26, 1848
11 William F. Johnston July 26, 1848 January 20, 1852 Whig None
12 William Bigler January 20, 1852 January 16, 1855 Democratic None 1
13 James Pollock January 16, 1855 January 19, 1858 Whig None 1
14 William F. Packer January 19, 1858 January 15, 1861 Democratic None 1
15 Andrew Gregg Curtin January 15, 1861 January 15, 1867 Republican None 2
16 John W. Geary January 15, 1867 January 21, 1873 Republican None 2
17 John F. Hartranft January 21, 1873 January 21, 1879 Republican None 2
John Latta
18 Henry M. Hoyt January 21, 1879 January 16, 1883 Republican Charles Warren Stone 1
19 Robert E. Pattison January 16, 1883 January 18, 1887 Democratic Chauncey Forward Black 1
20 James A. Beaver January 18, 1887 January 20, 1891 Republican William T. Davies 1
19 Robert E. Pattison January 20, 1891 January 15, 1895 Democratic Louis Arthur Watres 1
21 Daniel H. Hastings January 15, 1895 January 17, 1899 Republican Walter Lyon 1
22 William A. Stone January 17, 1899 January 20, 1903 Republican John P. S. Gobin 1
23 Samuel W. Pennypacker January 20, 1903 January 15, 1907 Republican William M. Brown 1
24 Edwin Sydney Stuart January 15, 1907 January 17, 1911 Republican Robert S. Murphy 1
25 John K. Tener January 17, 1911 January 19, 1915 Republican John Merriman Reynolds 1
26 Martin Grove Brumbaugh January 19, 1915 January 21, 1919 Republican Frank B. McClain 1
27 William Cameron Sproul January 21, 1919 January 16, 1923 Republican Edward E. Beidleman 1
28 Gifford Pinchot January 16, 1923 January 18, 1927 Republican David J. Davis 1
29 John Stuchell Fisher January 18, 1927 January 20, 1931 Republican Arthur James 1
28 Gifford Pinchot January 20, 1931 January 15, 1935 Republican Edward C. Shannon 1
30 George Howard Earle III January 15, 1935 January 17, 1939 Democratic Thomas Kennedy 1
31 Arthur James January 17, 1939 January 19, 1943 Republican Samuel S. Lewis 1
32 Edward Martin January 19, 1943 January 2, 1947 Republican John C. Bell, Jr. ½
33 John C. Bell, Jr. January 2, 1947 January 21, 1947 Republican vacant ½
34 James H. Duff January 21, 1947 January 16, 1951 Republican Daniel B. Strickler 1
35 John S. Fine January 16, 1951 January 18, 1955 Republican Lloyd H. Wood 1
36 George M. Leader January 18, 1955 January 20, 1959 Democratic Roy E. Furman 1
37 David L. Lawrence January 20, 1959 January 15, 1963 Democratic John Morgan Davis 1
38 William Scranton January 15, 1963 January 17, 1967 Republican Raymond P. Shafer 1
39 Raymond P. Shafer January 17, 1967 January 19, 1971 Republican Raymond J. Broderick 1
40 Milton Shapp January 19, 1971 January 16, 1979 Democratic Ernest P. Kline 2
41 Dick Thornburgh January 16, 1979 January 20, 1987 Republican William Scranton, III 2
42 Robert P. Casey January 20, 1987 January 17, 1995 Democratic Mark Singel 2
43 Tom Ridge January 17, 1995 October 5, 2001 Republican Mark S. Schweiker
44 Mark S. Schweiker October 5, 2001 January 21, 2003 Republican Robert Jubelirer ½
45 Ed Rendell January 21, 2003 incumbent Democratic Catherine Baker Knoll 2
Joe Scarnati


  1. Table only includes governors; presidents were non-partisan. 45 people have served as governor, two twice; the table includes these non-consecutive terms as well.
  2. Died in office.
  3. As Vice President of the Supreme Executive Council, acted as president. Four vice presidents acted as president at various times; however, Bryan's lengthy term has caused his term to since be recognized as being equivalent to president. Contemporary sources listed him only as vice president, acting out the duties of president.
  4. Resigned; no reason was recorded by the Supreme Executive Council.
  5. The office of lieutenant governor was not created until the 1873 Constitution, first being filled in 1875.
  6. The fractional terms of some governors are not to be understood absolutely literally; rather, they are meant to show single terms during which multiple governors served, due to resignations, deaths and the like.
  7. The Federalist Party nominated Mifflin, but he himself carried no party label.
  8. Mifflin was elected governor three times under the 1790 Constitution, having previously been elected once as President of the Supreme Executive Council.
  9. Ritner was the last to serve before the 1838 constitution limited governors to serving six years out of any nine years; that constitution also changed the term to commence the next January from the election, extending Ritner's term by a month.
  10. First governor to serve under the 1838 constitution.
  11. Resigned due to illness; he died of tuberculosis only 11 days later.
  12. Following Francis R. Shunk's resignation, an interregnum of 17 days occurred before the speaker of the state senate, William F. Johnston, was sworn in.
  13. As speaker of the state senate, filled unexpired term; was later elected governor in his own right.
  14. First governor under the 1874 constitution, which prevented governors from succeeding themselves and lengthened terms to four years. Since Hartranft was originally elected under the previous constitution, he was allowed to succeed himself. Hartranft's first term was shortened from three to two years to fit the electoral schedule of the new constitution.
  15. Resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.
  16. While official sources state Martin resigned on January 3, most contemporary sources reported his resignation as occurring on January 2.
  17. As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  18. First governor under the 1968 constitution, and thus eligible to succeed himself.
  19. On June 14, 1993, Casey transferred executive authority to Lieutenant Governor Singel, and later that day underwent a heart-liver transplant operation. Singel acted as governor until Casey resumed the powers and duties of the office six months later on December 13, 1993. Because Casey never officially resigned, Singel was only an acting governor.
  20. Resigned to be Director of the Office of Homeland Security.
  21. Since September 13, 2001, Ridge had been aiding in national homeland security efforts following the September 11, 2001 attacks, temporarily transferring his powers to Lieutenant Governor Schweiker.
  22. As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  23. Governor Rendell's second term expires on January 18, 2011; he is term limited.

Other high offices held

This is a table of other governorships, congressional and other federal offices, and ranking diplomatic positions in foreign countries held by Pennsylvania governors. All representatives and senators mentioned represented Pennsylvania except where noted. * denotes those offices which the governor resigned to take. † denotes those offices from which the governor resigned to take the governorship.

Name Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
Joseph Reed 1778–1781 Delegate to the Continental Congress; elected to the U.S. House but declined his seat.
John Dickinson 1782–1785 President of Delaware, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Delaware, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin 1785–1788 Minister to France, Minister to Sweden
Thomas Mifflin 1790–1799 President of the Continental Congress
Thomas McKean 1799–1808 President of Delaware, President of the Continental Congress
Simon Snyder 1808–1817 Some records say he was elected to the U.S. Senate, but some only say state senate.
The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress has no record of a U.S.

Senate term.
William Findlay 1817–1820 S
Joseph Hiester 1820–1823 H†
George Wolf 1829–1835 H†
William Bigler 1852–1855 S
James Pollock 1855–1858 H
Andrew Gregg Curtin 1861–1867 H Ambassador to Russia
John W. Geary 1867–1876 Governor of Kansas Territory
William A. Stone 1899–1903 H†
John K. Tener 1911–1915 H†
George Howard Earle III 1935–1939 Ambassador to Austria
Edward Martin 1943–1947 S
James H. Duff 1947–1951 S
William Scranton 1963–1967 H Ambassador to the United Nations
Dick Thornburgh 1979–1987 U.S. Attorney General
Tom Ridge 1995–2001 H U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security

Living former governors

, five former governors were alive, the oldest being William Scranton (1963–1967, born 1917). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Raymond P. Shafer (1967–1971), on December 12, 2006. The most recently-serving governor to die was Robert P. Casey (1987–1995), on May 30, 2000.

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
George M. Leader 1955–1959 January 17, 1918
William Scranton 1963–1967 July 19, 1917
Dick Thornburgh 1979–1987 July 16, 1932
Tom Ridge 1995–2001 August 27, 1945
Mark S. Schweiker 2001–2003 January 31, 1953

See also




  • [A] PA Const. art. IV.
  • [B] PA Const. art. IV, § 9, cl. a.
  • [C] 1776 Const. § 3.
  • [D] 1776 Const. § 19.
  • [E] 1790 Const. art. II, § 1.
  • [F] 1790 Const. art. IV, § 3.
  • [G] 1838 Const. art. II, § 3.
  • [H] 1874 Const. art. IV, § 3.
  • [I] PA Const. art. IV, § 3.
  • [J]
  • [K]
  • [L]
  • [M]
  • [N]
  • [O]
  • [P]
  • [Q]
  • [R]
  • [S]
  • [T]
  • [U]

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