December 7, 2010
The Significance of This Day
Compiled by Rick Collin
Communications and Education Director
State Historical Society of North Dakota
As North Dakota’s 31st governor, John Hoeven is the second longest serving governor in state history. He has been in office since December 15, 2000, eight days short of 10 years. Only William Guy has been governor longer, serving two days short of 12 years when he left office January 2, 1973.
As North Dakota’s 36th lieutenant governor, Jack Dalrymple is the longest serving lieutenant governor in state history, taking office with Governor Hoeven.
As he moves into the governorship, Jack Dalrymple is the first lieutenant governor to appoint his successor, Drew Wrigley.
His appointment of Drew Wrigley is only the second time in state history that a governor has appointed a lieutenant governor. The first time was in 1987, when Governor George Sinner appointed Lloyd Omdahl to replace the state’s first female lieutenant governor, Ruth Meiers, who died in office from cancer March 19, 1987.
Today marks the first time since 1935 in North Dakota history that a lieutenant governor has succeeded the governor, and the fifth time since statehood in 1889.
It is also the first time this transition has occurred naturally, without the governor’s death or forced removal from office.
The other four times when the lieutenant governor has succeeded the governor are:
With Moodie’s resignation and Welford’s succession, North Dakota had four governors in seven months.
All five lieutenant governors who have replaced the previous governor have been Republican.
Of the five governors they have replaced, four have been Republican (Briggs, Sorlie, Langer and Hoeven) and one has been Democrat (Moodie).
During the first four times, the office of lieutenant governor was left vacant until another person was elected to the position.
From statehood in 1889 until 1974, the lieutenant governor was elected on a separate ballot from the governor. Often this meant the two offices were held by a governor and lieutenant governor of different political parties.
Since 1974, the governor and lieutenant have been elected on a joint ballot from the same political party. The first election this was in effect was in 1976, when Governor Arthur Link and Lieutenant Governor Wayne Sanstead were re-elected to second terms.
The last election when these offices were filled by candidates from different parties was 1968, when Governor William Guy, a Democrat, was re-elected to his fourth and final term. Richard Larsen, a Republican, was elected as lieutenant governor.
From statehood in 1889 until 1962, the governor and lieutenant governor were elected to two-year terms. The terms were expanded to four years beginning with the 1964 election.
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