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Governor of New York
Standard Governor of New York.svg
Governor's Standard
David Paterson

since March 17, 2008
Style The Honorable
Residence New York State Executive Mansion
Term length Four years, no term limit
Inaugural holder George Clinton
Formation New York State Constitution
Website [1]

The Governor of New York is the head of the executive branch of New York'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 either approve or veto bills passed by the New York legislature, to convene the legislature, and to grant pardons, except in cases of treason and impeachment.[A] The current governor is David Paterson, who became governor on March 17, 2008 upon the resignation of Eliot Spitzer.

Certificate of Election of John Jay as Governor of New York (June 6, 1795)

The office of governor was established by the first New York State Constitution in 1777. The governor was originally for a term of three years[B], though the constitution did not specify when the term began. A 1787 law set the start of the term at July 1.[C]. The New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821 amended the state constitution, reducing the term of office to two years,[D] moving the election to November,[E], and moving the beginning and the end of the term to coincide with the calendar year.[F] An 1874 amendment extended the term of office back to three years,[G], but the 1894 constitution again reduced it to two years.[H]. The most recent constitution of 1938 extended the term to the current four years.[I] There is no limit to the amount of consecutive terms a governor may serve.

The state constitution has provided since 1777 for the election of a lieutenant governor, who also acts as president of the state senate, to the same term (keeping the same term lengths as the governor throughout all the constitutional revisions).[J] Originally, in the event of the death, resignation or impeachment of the governor, the lieutenant governor would become acting governor until the end of the yearly legislative term, the office being filled in a special election, if there was a remainder of the term.[J] Since the 1821 constitution, the lieutenant governor explicitly becomes governor upon such vacancy in the office and serves for the entire remainder of the term.[K] Should the office of lieutenant governor become vacant, the president pro tempore of the state senate[1] performs all the duties of the lieutenant governor until the vacancy is filled either at the next gubernatorial election or by appointment.[2] Likewise, should both offices become vacant at the same time, the president pro tempore acts as governor, with the office of lieutenant governor remaining vacant. Should the presidency pro tempore be vacant too, or the incumbent unable to fulfill the duties, the speaker of the assembly is next in the line of succession.[L] The lieutenant governor is elected on the same ticket as the governor, since 1954 with a single joint vote cast for both offices, but is nominated separately.[M]

Fifty-five individuals have served as governor, four of whom served non-consecutive terms, totaling 59 distinct terms; the official numbering only lists each governor once, so there have officially been fifty-five governors. This numbering includes one acting governor: the lieutenant governor who filled the vacancy after the resignation of the governor, under the 1777 State Constitution.[N] The list does not include people who have acted as governor when the governor was out of state, such as Lt. Gov. Timothy L. Woodruff during Theodore Roosevelt's vice presidential campaign in 1900, or Acting Speaker of the New York State Assembly Moses M. Weinstein, who acted as governor for ten days in 1968 while the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the senate majority leader were out of the state, attending the Republican National Convention in Miami, Florida.[O]

Number of Governors of New York by party affiliation[3]
Party Governors
Democratic 25
Republican 18
Democratic-Republican 9
Whig 5
Federalist 1

The longest-serving governor was the first, George Clinton, who first took office on July 30, 1777, and served seven terms in two different periods, totaling just under 21 years in office. Charles Poletti had the shortest term, serving 29 days following the resignation of the previous governor in 1942.

Four men have become President of the United States after serving as Governor of New York: Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.



George Clinton, first Governor of New York, and 4th Vice President of the United States
John Jay, 2nd Governor of New York, and first Chief Justice of the United States
Martin Van Buren, 9th Governor of New York, and 8th President of the United States
William H. Seward, 12th Governor of New York, and 24th U.S. Secretary of State
Samuel J. Tilden, 25th Governor of New York
Grover Cleveland, 28th Governor of New York, and 22nd and 24th President of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt, 33rd Governor of New York, and 26th President of the United States
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 44th Governor of New York, and 32nd President of the United States
Thomas E. Dewey, 47th Governor of New York
Nelson Rockefeller, 49th Governor of New York, and 41st Vice President of the United States

New York was one of the original thirteen colonies, and was admitted as a state on July 26, 1788. Prior to declaring its independence, New York was a colony of the Kingdom of Great Britain, which it in turn obtained from the Dutch as the colony of New Netherland; see the lists of colonial governors and of directors-general of New Netherland for the pre-statehood period.

      Democratic-Republican       Federalist       Democratic       Whig       Republican

# Name Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor Terms[4]
1 George Clinton July 30, 1777 July 1, 1795 Democratic-Republican Pierre Van Cortlandt 6[5][6]
2 John Jay July 1, 1795 July 1, 1801 Federalist Stephen Van Rensselaer III 2
1 George Clinton July 1, 1801 July 1, 1804 Democratic-Republican Jeremiah Van Rensselaer 1
3 Morgan Lewis July 1, 1804 July 1, 1807 Democratic-Republican John Broome 1
4 Daniel D. Tompkins July 1, 1807 February 24, 1817 Democratic-Republican John Broome [7]
John Tayler (Acting)
DeWitt Clinton
John Tayler
5 John Tayler
February 24, 1817 July 1, 1817 Democratic-Republican Philetus Swift (Acting) ½[9]
6 DeWitt Clinton July 1, 1817 December 31, 1822 Democratic-Republican John Tayler 2[10]
7 Joseph C. Yates January 1, 1823 December 31, 1824 Democratic-Republican Erastus Root 1[11]
6 DeWitt Clinton January 1, 1825 February 11, 1828 Clinton Republican James Tallmadge, Jr. [12]
Nathaniel Pitcher
8 Nathaniel Pitcher February 11, 1828 December 31, 1828 Democratic-Republican Peter R. Livingston (Acting) ½[13]
Charles Dayan (Acting)
9 Martin Van Buren January 1, 1829 March 5, 1829 Jacksonian Democratic Enos T. Throop ½[14]
10 Enos T. Throop March 5, 1829 December 31, 1832 Jacksonian Democratic Charles Stebbins (Acting) [15]
William M. Oliver (Acting)
Edward Philip Livingston
11 William L. Marcy January 1, 1833 December 31, 1838 Democratic John Tracy 3
12 William H. Seward January 1, 1839 December 31, 1842 Whig Luther Bradish 2
13 William C. Bouck January 1, 1843 December 31, 1844 Democratic Daniel S. Dickinson 1
14 Silas Wright January 1, 1845 December 31, 1846 Democratic Addison Gardiner 1
15 John Young January 1, 1847 December 31, 1848 Whig Addison Gardiner 1
Albert Lester (Acting)
Hamilton Fish
16 Hamilton Fish January 1, 1849 December 31, 1850 Whig George Washington Patterson 1
17 Washington Hunt January 1, 1851 December 31, 1852 Whig Sanford E. Church 1
18 Horatio Seymour January 1, 1853 December 31, 1854 Democratic Sanford E. Church 1
19 Myron H. Clark January 1, 1855 December 31, 1856 Whig (fusion) Henry Jarvis Raymond 1
20 John Alsop King January 1, 1857 December 31, 1858 Republican Henry R. Selden 1
21 Edwin D. Morgan January 1, 1859 December 31, 1862 Republican Robert Campbell 2
18 Horatio Seymour January 1, 1863 December 31, 1864 Democratic David R. Floyd-Jones 1
22 Reuben Fenton January 1, 1865 December 31, 1868 Union Thomas G. Alvord 2
Stewart L. Woodford
23 John Thompson Hoffman January 1, 1869 December 31, 1872 Democratic Allen C. Beach 2
24 John Adams Dix January 1, 1873 December 31, 1874 Republican John C. Robinson 1
25 Samuel J. Tilden January 1, 1875 December 31, 1876 Democratic William Dorsheimer 1
26 Lucius Robinson January 1, 1877 December 31, 1879 Democratic William Dorsheimer 1[16]
27 Alonzo B. Cornell January 1, 1880 December 31, 1882 Republican George Gilbert Hoskins 1
28 Grover Cleveland January 1, 1883 January 6, 1885 Democratic David B. Hill ½[17]
29 David B. Hill January 6, 1885 December 31, 1891 Democratic Dennis McCarthy (Acting) [15]
Edward F. Jones
30 Roswell P. Flower January 1, 1892 December 31, 1894 Democratic William F. Sheehan 1
31 Levi P. Morton January 1, 1895 December 31, 1896 Republican Charles T. Saxton 1[18]
32 Frank S. Black January 1, 1897 December 31, 1898 Republican Timothy L. Woodruff 1
33 Theodore Roosevelt January 1, 1899 December 31, 1900 Republican Timothy L. Woodruff 1
34 Benjamin Barker Odell, Jr. January 1, 1901 December 31, 1904 Republican Timothy L. Woodruff 2
Frank W. Higgins
35 Frank W. Higgins January 1, 1905 December 31, 1906 Republican M. Linn Bruce 1
John Raines (Acting)
36 Charles Evans Hughes January 1, 1907 October 6, 1910 Republican Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler [19]
Horace White
37 Horace White October 6, 1910 December 31, 1910 Republican George H. Cobb (Acting) ½[13]
38 John Alden Dix January 1, 1911 December 31, 1912 Democratic Thomas F. Conway 1
39 William Sulzer January 1, 1913 October 17, 1913 Democratic Martin H. Glynn ½[20]
40 Martin H. Glynn October 17, 1913 December 31, 1914 Democratic Robert F. Wagner (Acting) ½[13]
41 Charles S. Whitman January 1, 1915 December 31, 1918 Republican Edward Schoeneck 2
42 Al Smith January 1, 1919 December 31, 1920 Democratic Harry C. Walker 1
43 Nathan Lewis Miller January 1, 1921 December 31, 1922 Republican Jeremiah Wood 1
Clayton R. Lusk (Acting)
42 Al Smith January 1, 1923 December 31, 1928 Democratic George R. Lunn 3
Seymour Lowman
Edwin Corning
44 Franklin D. Roosevelt January 1, 1929 December 31, 1932 Democratic Herbert H. Lehman 2
45 Herbert H. Lehman January 1, 1933 December 3, 1942 Democratic M. William Bray [21][22]
Charles Poletti
46 Charles Poletti December 3, 1942 December 31, 1942 Democratic Joe R. Hanley (Acting) ½[13]
47 Thomas Dewey January 1, 1943 December 31, 1954 Republican Thomas W. Wallace 3
Joe R. Hanley
Frank C. Moore
Arthur H. Wicks (Acting)
Walter J. Mahoney (Acting)
48 W. Averell Harriman January 1, 1955 December 31, 1958 Democratic George DeLuca 1
49 Nelson Rockefeller January 1, 1959 December 18, 1973 Republican Malcolm Wilson [23]
50 Malcolm Wilson December 18, 1973 December 31, 1974 Republican Warren M. Anderson (Acting) ½[13]
51 Hugh Carey January 1, 1975 December 31, 1982 Democratic Mary Anne Krupsak 2
Mario Cuomo
52 Mario Cuomo January 1, 1983 December 31, 1994 Democratic Alfred DelBello 3
Warren M. Anderson (Acting)
Stan Lundine
53 George Pataki January 1, 1995 December 31, 2006 Republican Betsy McCaughey Ross 3
Mary O. Donohue
54 Eliot Spitzer January 1, 2007 March 17, 2008 Democratic David Paterson ½[24]
55 David Paterson March 17, 2008 Incumbent Democratic Joseph Bruno (Acting) ½[13][25]
Dean Skelos (Acting)
Malcolm Smith (Acting)
Pedro Espada (Acting)[26]
Richard Ravitch (Contested)[27]
Malcolm Smith (Acting)[28]
Richard Ravitch[29]


  1. ^ The state constitutions refer to this position as the "temporary president of the senate"
  2. ^ On September 22, 2009, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the right of the governor to appoint a lieutenant governor to fill the vacancy.
  3. ^ 55 people have served as governor, four twice; the table includes these non-consecutive terms as well.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ There was no codified start for terms when Clinton took office; the date was set at July 1 in 1787, starting presumably in 1789.
  6. ^ Many sources state the early governors took office on April 1; however, the elections were held lasting three days during the last week of April, with the oath of office being delivered on July 1.[P]
  7. ^ Resigned to be Vice President of the United States.
  8. ^ Under the Constitution of 1777, Tayler was Acting Governor until the end of the legislative year.
  9. ^ As lieutenant governor, acted as governor for unexpired term.
  10. ^ The length and dates of terms were changed in 1821, during DeWitt Clinton's second term, which then ended on December 31, 1822 instead of July 1, 1823.
  11. ^ As per the 1821 constitution, Yates' term was the first to last two years instead of three.
  12. ^ Died in office.
  13. ^ a b c d e f As lieutenant governor, filled unexpired term.
  14. ^ Resigned to be United States Secretary of State.
  15. ^ a b As lieutenant governor, became governor for unexpired term, and was later elected in their own right.
  16. ^ As per an 1874 amendment to the constitution (taking effect January 1, 1875), Robinson's term was the first to last three years instead of two. As Tilden had been elected prior to the amendment taking effect, he served the old two-year term.[Q]
  17. ^ Resigned to be President of the United States.
  18. ^ As per the 1894 constitution, Morton's term was the first to last two years instead of three.
  19. ^ Resigned to take seat as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
  20. ^ Impeached and removed from office for campaign contribution fraud.
  21. ^ As per the 1938 constitution, Lehman's fourth term, commencing January 1, 1939, was the first scheduled to last four years instead of two.
  22. ^ Resigned to be Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation Operations at the U.S. Department of State.
  23. ^ Resigned to devote himself to his Commission on Critical Choices for Americans.
  24. ^ Resigned due to a prostitution scandal.
  25. ^ Governor Paterson's first term expires on December 31, 2010; he is not term limited.
  26. ^ Espada is a Democrat, but combined with the Republicans a change of leadership which triggered the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis.
  27. ^ Ravitch was appointed on July 8, 2009, but the appointment was contested in the courts. On August 20, the Appellate Division rejected the appointment, and Ravitch de facto vacated the office.
  28. ^ Smith succeeded Espada on July 9 as Temporary President of the New York State Senate, and claimed to be Acting Lt. Gov. under the provisions of the New York State Constitution while the appointment of Ravitch was contested. Smith was de facto the sole occupant of the office from August 20 to September 22.
  29. ^ On September 22, the New York Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division's ruling, and thus re-instated Ravitch to the lieutenant governorship, beginning de jure on July 8.

Other high offices held

This is a table of congressional and other federal offices, and ranking diplomatic positions to foreign countries held by New York governors.[R] All representatives and senators mentioned represented New York. * denotes offices which to take the governor resigned the governorship. † denotes offices from which the governor-elect resigned to take office as governor.

Name Gubernatorial term U.S. Congress Other offices held
House Senate
George Clinton 1777–1795, 1801–1804 Delegate to the Continental Congress, Vice President of the United States
John Jay 1795–1801 President of the Continental Congress, U.S. Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Minister to Spain, Chief Justice of the United States[S]
Daniel D. Tompkins 1807–1817 H Vice President of the United States*
DeWitt Clinton 1817–1822, 1825–1828 S
Nathaniel Pitcher 1828 H
Martin Van Buren 1829 S†[T] U.S. Secretary of State*, Minister to the United Kingdom, Vice President of the United States, President of the United States
Enos T. Throop 1829–1832 H
William L. Marcy 1833–1838 S†[U] U.S. Secretary of War, U.S. Secretary of State
William H. Seward 1839–1842 S U.S. Secretary of State
Silas Wright 1845–1845 H S†[V]
John Young 1847–1848 H
Hamilton Fish 1849–1850 H S U.S. Secretary of State
Washington Hunt 1851–1852 H
John Alsop King 1857–1858 H
Edwin D. Morgan 1859–1862 S
Reuben Fenton 1865–1868 H†[W] S
John Adams Dix 1873–1874 S Minister to France, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Grover Cleveland 1883–1884 President of the United States*
David B. Hill 1885–1891 S
Roswell P. Flower 1892–1894 H
Levi P. Morton 1895–1896 H Minister to France, Vice President of the United States
Frank S. Black 1897–1898 H†[X]
Theodore Roosevelt 1899–1900 Vice President of the United States, President of the United States
Benjamin B. Odell, Jr. 1901–1904 H
Charles Evans Hughes 1907–1910 U.S. Secretary of State, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court*, Chief Justice of the United States.
William Sulzer 1913 H†[Y]
Martin H. Glynn 1913–1914 H
Franklin D. Roosevelt 1929–1932 President of the United States
Herbert H. Lehman 1933–1942 S
W. Averell Harriman 1955–1958 U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ambassador to the Soviet Union
Nelson Rockefeller 1959–1973 Vice President of the United States
Hugh Carey 1975–1982 H†[Z]

Living former governors

As of December 2009, four former governors were alive, the oldest being Hugh Carey (1975–1982, born 1919). The most recent governor to die was Charles Poletti (1942), on August 8, 2002. The most recently-serving governor to die was Malcolm Wilson (1973–1974), on March 13, 2000.

Name Gubernatorial term Date of birth
Hugh Carey 1975–1982 April 11, 1919 (1919-04-11) (age 90)
Mario Cuomo 1983–1994 June 15, 1932 (1932-06-15) (age 77)
George Pataki 1995–2006 June 24, 1945 (1945-06-24) (age 64)
Eliot Spitzer 2007–2008 June 10, 1959 (1959-06-10) (age 50)

See also




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