List of Governors of Florida
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List of Governors of Florida
Governor of Florida
Seal of Florida.svg
Gov Ron DeSantis Portrait (cropped).jpg
Ron DeSantis

since January 8, 2019
StyleThe Honorable
ResidenceFlorida Governor's Mansion
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderWilliam Dunn Moseley
FormationJune 25, 1845
DeputyJeanette Núñez,
lieutenant governor
Salary$130,273 (2013)[1]

The governor of Florida is the head of the executive branch of Florida's state government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces.[2] The governor has a duty to enforce state laws and the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Florida Legislature,[3] convene the legislature[4] and grant pardons, except in cases of impeachment.[5]

When Florida was first acquired by the United States, future president Andrew Jackson served as its military governor. Florida Territory was established in 1822 and five people served as governor over 6 distinct terms. The first territorial governor, William Pope Duval, served 12 years, the longest of any Florida governor to date.

Since statehood in 1845, there have been 45 people who have served as governor, one of whom served two distinct terms. Four state governors have served two full four-year terms: William D. Bloxham, in two stints, as well as Reubin Askew, Jeb Bush and Rick Scott who each served their terms consecutively. Bob Graham almost served two terms, as he resigned with only three days left. The shortest term in office belongs to Wayne Mixson, who served three days following the resignation of his predecessor, Bob Graham.

The current officeholder is Ron DeSantis, a member of the Republican Party who took office on January 8, 2019.


Florida had been a French and then a Spanish colony. It came under British control and then returned to Spanish control again after the American Revolution. It had various governors during these colonial periods. The British divided Florida into East Florida and West Florida, each with its own governor.


Federal military commissioner

Spanish Florida was acquired from Spain in the Adams-Onís Treaty, which took effect July 10, 1821.[6] Parts of West Florida had already been assigned to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi; the remainder and East Florida were governed by a military commissioner with the powers of governor until the territory was organized and incorporated.[7]

Federal Military Commissioner of Florida
Commissioner Term in office Appointed by Notes
Andrew Jackson.jpg Andrew Jackson March 10, 1821

December 31, 1821
James Monroe [a][b]

Governors of the Territory of Florida

Florida Territory was organized on March 30, 1822, combining East and West Florida.[12]

Governors of the Territory of Florida
No. Governor Term in office Appointed by
1 2 Duval.jpg William Pope Duval April 17, 1822

April 24, 1834
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
2 John Eaton.jpg John Eaton April 24, 1834

March 16, 1836
3 Richardkeithcall.jpg Richard K. Call March 16, 1836

December 2, 1839
4 Robert Raymond Reid.jpg Robert R. Reid December 2, 1839

March 19, 1841
Martin Van Buren
5 Richardkeithcall.jpg Richard K. Call March 19, 1841

August 11, 1844
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
6 JohnBranch2.jpg John Branch August 11, 1844

June 25, 1845

Governors of the State of Florida

The State of Florida was admitted to the Union on March 3, 1845. It seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861,[13] and joined the Confederate States of America on February 8, 1861,[14] as a founding member. Following the end of the American Civil War, it was part of the Third Military District.[15] Florida was readmitted to the Union on June 25, 1868.[16]

The Florida Constitution of 1838 provided that a governor be elected every 4 years, who was not allowed to serve consecutive terms.[17] The secessionist constitution of 1861 would have reduced this to two years and removed the term limit,[18] but the state fell to the Union before the first election under that constitution. The rejected constitution of 1865 and the ratified constitution of 1868 maintained the four-year term,[19][20] though without the earlier term limit, which was reintroduced in the 1885 constitution.[21] The current constitution of 1968 states that should the governor serve, or would have served had he not resigned, more than six years in two consecutive terms, he cannot be elected to the succeeding term.[22] The start of a term was set in 1885 at the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the January following the election,[21] where it has remained.[23]

Originally, the president of the state senate acted as governor should that office be vacant.[24] The 1865 and 1868 constitutions created the office of lieutenant governor,[25][26] who would similarly act as governor. This office was abolished in 1885, with the president of the senate again taking on that duty.[27] The 1968 constitution recreated the office of lieutenant governor, who now becomes governor in the absence of the governor.[28] The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on the same ticket.[22]

Florida was a strongly Democratic state before the Civil War, electing only one candidate from the Whig party (the Democrat's chief opposition at the time).[29] It elected three Republican governors following Reconstruction, but after the Democratic Party re-established control, 90 years passed before voters chose another Republican.

Governors of the State of Florida[c]
No. Governor Term in office Party Election Lt. Governor[d][e]
1 8 Moseley.jpg   William Dunn Moseley June 25, 1845

October 1, 1849
(term limited)
Democratic 1845 Office did not exist
2 Florida Governor Thomas Brown.jpg Thomas Brown October 1, 1849

October 3, 1853
(term limited)
Whig 1848
3 Florida Governor James E. Broome.jpg James E. Broome October 3, 1853

October 5, 1857
(term limited)
Democratic 1852
4 Florida Governor Madison S. Perry.jpg Madison S. Perry October 5, 1857

October 7, 1861
(term limited)
Democratic 1856
5 John Milton Florida.jpg John Milton October 7, 1861

April 1, 1865
(died in office)[f]
Democratic 1860
6 Florida Governor Abraham K. Allison.jpg Abraham K. Allison April 1, 1865

May 19, 1865
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
-- Vacant May 19, 1865

July 13, 1865
-- Office vacated
after civil war
7 Florida Governor William Marvin.jpg William Marvin July 13, 1865

December 20, 1865
(provisional term ended)
-- Provisional
appointed by
8 Florida Governor David S. Walker.jpg David S. Walker December 20, 1865

July 4, 1868
Democratic[i] 1865   William W. J. Kelly[j]
9 Governor Harrison Reed of Florida.jpg Harrison Reed July 4, 1868[k]

January 7, 1873
(not candidate for election)
Republican 1868 William Henry Gleason
(removed December 14, 1868)[l]
  Edmund C. Weeks
(appointed January 24, 1870)
(term ended December 27, 1870)[m]
Samuel T. Day
(took office December 27, 1870)
10 Florida Governor Ossian B. Hart.jpg Ossian B. Hart January 7, 1873

March 18, 1874
(died in office)
Republican 1872 Marcellus Stearns
11 Florida Governor Marcellus Stearns.png Marcellus Stearns March 18, 1874

January 2, 1877
(lost election)
Republican Lieutenant
acting as
Acting as Governor
12 Florida Governor George Franklin Drew.jpg George Franklin Drew January 2, 1877

January 4, 1881
(not candidate for election)
Democratic 1876 Noble A. Hull
(resigned March 3, 1879)
13 Florida Governor William Bloxham.jpg William D. Bloxham January 4, 1881

January 7, 1885
(term limited)
Democratic 1880 Livingston W. Bethel
14 Florida Governor Edward A. Perry.jpg Edward A. Perry January 7, 1885

January 8, 1889
(term limited)
Democratic 1884 Milton H. Mabry
15 FPFleming.jpg Francis P. Fleming January 8, 1889

January 3, 1893
(term limited)
Democratic 1888 Office did not exist
16 Henry L Mitchell.jpg Henry L. Mitchell January 3, 1893

January 5, 1897
(term limited)
Democratic 1892
17 Florida Governor William Bloxham.jpg William D. Bloxham January 5, 1897

January 8, 1901
(term limited)
Democratic 1896
18 William Sherman Jennings.jpg William Sherman Jennings January 8, 1901

January 3, 1905
(term limited)
Democratic 1900
19 Napoleon Bonaparte Broward.jpg Napoleon B. Broward January 3, 1905

January 5, 1909
(term limited)
Democratic 1904
20 Florida Governor Albert W. Gilchrist.jpg Albert W. Gilchrist January 5, 1909

January 7, 1913
(term limited)
Democratic 1908
21 Park Trammell.jpg Park Trammell January 7, 1913

January 2, 1917
(term limited)
Democratic 1912
22 Sidney Johnston Catts in 1916 (cropped).jpg Sidney Johnston Catts January 2, 1917

January 4, 1921
(term limited)
Prohibition 1916
23 Cary Hardee portrait.jpg Cary A. Hardee January 4, 1921

January 6, 1925
(term limited)
Democratic 1920
24 Florida Governor John Martin.jpg John W. Martin January 6, 1925

January 8, 1929
(term limited)
Democratic 1924
25 Doyle E. Carlton.jpg Doyle E. Carlton January 8, 1929

January 3, 1933
(term limited)
Democratic 1928
26 33 Sholtz.jpg David Sholtz January 3, 1933

January 5, 1937
(term limited)
Democratic 1932
27 Florida Governor Frederick Cone.jpg Fred P. Cone January 5, 1937

January 7, 1941
(term limited)
Democratic 1936
28 Sen Spessard Holland.jpg Spessard Holland January 7, 1941

January 2, 1945
(term limited)
Democratic 1940
29 Millard F. Caldwell.jpg Millard Caldwell January 2, 1945

January 4, 1949
(term limited)
Democratic 1944
30 37 Warren.jpg Fuller Warren January 4, 1949

January 6, 1953
(term limited)
Democratic 1948
31 Daniel T. McCarty.jpg Daniel T. McCarty January 6, 1953

September 28, 1953
(died in office)
Democratic 1952
32 Charley Eugene Johns 1963.jpg Charley Eugene Johns September 28, 1953

January 4, 1955
(lost election)
Democratic President of
the Senate
acting as
33 LeRoy Collins.jpg LeRoy Collins January 4, 1955

January 3, 1961
(term limited)
Democratic 1954
34 C. Farris Bryant.jpg C. Farris Bryant January 3, 1961

January 5, 1965
(term limited)
Democratic 1960
35 W Haydon Burns.jpg W. Haydon Burns January 5, 1965

January 3, 1967
(lost election)
Democratic 1964[o]
36 Governor Claude R Kirk.jpg Claude R. Kirk Jr. January 3, 1967

January 5, 1971
(lost election)
Republican 1966
Ray C. Osborne
(office created January 7, 1969)
37 Florida Governor Reubin Askew.jpg Reubin Askew January 5, 1971

January 2, 1979
(term limited)
Democratic 1970 Thomas Burton Adams Jr.
1974 Jim Williams
38 Bob Graham, official Senate photo portrait, color.jpg Bob Graham January 2, 1979

January 3, 1987
Democratic 1978 Wayne Mixson
39 John Wayne Mixson.jpg Wayne Mixson January 3, 1987

January 6, 1987
(successor took office)
Democratic Succeeded from
40 Portrait of Florida Governor Robert Martinez.jpg Bob Martinez January 6, 1987

January 8, 1991
(lost election)
Republican 1986 Bobby Brantley
41 Lawton Chiles Governor portrait.jpg Lawton Chiles January 8, 1991

December 12, 1998
(died in office)
Democratic 1990 Buddy MacKay
42 Buddy MacKay (official portrait).jpg Buddy MacKay December 12, 1998

January 5, 1999
(successor took office)[q]
Democratic Succeeded from
43 Gov Jeb Bush.jpg Jeb Bush January 5, 1999

January 2, 2007
(term limited)
Republican 1998 Frank Brogan
(resigned March 3, 2003)
Toni Jennings
44 Charlie Crist official portrait crop.jpg Charlie Crist January 2, 2007

January 4, 2011
(not candidate for election)
Republican[r] 2006 Jeff Kottkamp
45 Rick Scott (cropped).jpg Rick Scott January 4, 2011

January 7, 2019[s]
(term limited)
Republican 2010 Jennifer Carroll
(resigned March 12, 2013)
Carlos Lopez-Cantera
(appointed February 3, 2014)
46 Gov Ron DeSantis Portrait (cropped).jpg Ron DeSantis January 8, 2019

Republican 2018 Jeanette Núñez

Living former governors of Florida

There are six living former governors of Florida, the oldest being Buddy MacKay (served 1998-1999, born 1933). The most recent death of a former governor was that of Wayne Mixson (served 1987, born 1922), on July 8, 2020. The most recently serving governor to die was Lawton Chiles (served 1991-1998, born 1930), who died in office on December 12, 1998.

The living former governors, in order of service, are:

Governor Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Bob Graham 1979-1987 (1936-11-09) November 9, 1936 (age 84)
Bob Martinez 1987-1991 (1934-12-25) December 25, 1934 (age 86)
Buddy MacKay 1998-1999 (1933-03-22) March 22, 1933 (age 87)
Jeb Bush 1999-2007 (1953-02-11) February 11, 1953 (age 68)
Charlie Crist 2007-2011 (1956-07-24) July 24, 1956 (age 64)
Rick Scott 2011-2019 (1952-12-01) December 1, 1952 (age 68)

Line of succession

Since 2003, the line of succession to the office of governor has been as follows:[42]

  1. Lieutenant Governor, currently Jeanette Núñez
  2. Attorney General, currently Ashley Moody
  3. Chief Financial Officer, currently Jimmy Patronis
  4. Commissioner of Agriculture, currently Nikki Fried

Whenever the governor is unable or unwilling to discharge the office, either temporarily or permanently, the lieutenant governor takes over all the duties of the governorship either until the governor is able to resume the office or until the next election. At any time that the governor is on trial for impeachment, the lieutenant governor becomes the acting governor. Additionally, at any time that three members of the cabinet and the chief justice of the Supreme Court agree on the governor's mental or physical unfitness for office, they may suspend and reinstate the governor, pursuant to Article IV, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution.

If a vacancy occurs in the office of governor and a successor within the above-stated line of succession can not fill the vacancy, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and the president of the Senate must convene the Legislature by joint proclamation within 15 days for the purpose of choosing a person to serve as governor for the remainder of the term. A successor can only be chosen by a majority vote in a joint session of both houses.[43]

If, after the appointment of a lieutenant governor, a vacancy occurs in the office of governor with more than 28 months remaining in the term and the appointed lieutenant governor becomes governor, voters must choose a governor and lieutenant governor to serve out the remainder of the terms at the next general election.[43]

Acting Governor

Florida has had a number of people serve as "Acting Governor". The state's first three Constitutions provided that the succession in office became operative whenever the Governor was out of the state. Thus, in 1853 when Governor Thomas Brown attended an event in Boston--the Senate President who would normally succeed the Governor at the time was also out of state. Therefore, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, A.K. Allison, became "Acting Governor" on September 16, 1853. He served for 17 days.[44]

Only seven weeks after his inauguration, Governor McCarty suffered a heart attack. He died in September 1953. The President of the Senate, Charley E. Johns, took over as "Acting Governor" until an election could be held in November 1954 to till out Governor McCarty's term.[45]

Article IV Section 3 (b) of the Florida Constitution now calls for the Lieutenant Governor to "act as Governor" during the Governor's physical or mental incapacity. This provision has been invoked one time. On June 18, 2008 Governor Charlie Crist filed a Proclamation with the Secretary of State transferring power of the Office of Governor to Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp pursuant to the Constitutional provision while he underwent knee surgery.[46]

See also


  1. ^ Jackson's official titles were "Commissioner of the United States" and "Governor of East and West Florida".[8]
  2. ^ Jackson left Florida on October 8, 1821.[9] His resignation was submitted on November 13, 1821,[10] and the president accepted it on December 31, 1821.[11]
  3. ^ Data is sourced from the National Governors Association, unless supplemental references are required.
  4. ^ The office of lieutenant governor was created in 1868,[25] abolished in 1885,[27] and recreated in 1968.[28]
  5. ^ Lieutenant governors represented the same party as their governor unless noted.
  6. ^ Milton committed suicide due to the pending defeat of the Confederate States of America, stating in his final address to the legislature that "death would be preferable to reunion."[30]
  7. ^ Allison resigned to go into hiding from approaching Union troops, and was captured by them on June 19, 1865.[31]
  8. ^ Marvin was appointed provisional governor by the Union occupation.[32]
  9. ^ Most sources state Walker was a Democrat; the state archives say he was "Conservative".[33]
  10. ^ Represented the Republican Party
  11. ^ Reed was popularly elected under the terms of the 1868 constitution, and took the oath of office on June 8, 1868; it was not until July 4, 1868, however, that the federal commander of Florida, still under Reconstruction, recognized the validity of the state constitution and the election.[34]
  12. ^ During an attempted impeachment of Reed, Gleason proclaimed himself governor. The Supreme Court eventually sided with Reed, and Gleason was removed from office.[35]
  13. ^ Appointed as temporary lieutenant governor to replace William Henry Gleason. However, the state comptroller did not believe the governor could appoint a replacement to an elected office and refused to pay Weeks, and the Senate refused to accept his presidency over them, even proposing a motion to arrest him. Governor Reed called for a special election to replace him, and though Weeks fought it, the Florida Supreme Court declared his term to have ended when the new election results were certified.[36]
  14. ^ Special election to fill the remainder of McCarty's term[37]
  15. ^ This term was only two years as the election schedule was changed so that it would not coincide with presidential elections.[38]
  16. ^ Graham resigned to take an elected seat in the United States Senate.[39]
  17. ^ MacKay was a candidate in the 1998 election but lost; he succeeded Lawton Chiles after the election but before his successor took office.
  18. ^ Crist was elected as a member of the Republican Party, and switched to independent in April 2010.[40]
  19. ^ Due to Ron DeSantis and Jeannette Núñez taking their oath of office ahead of time, they became governor and lieutenant governor at midnight on January 8, rather than waiting for an inauguration ceremony. Thus, Scott and Lopez-Cantera's terms ended at the end of January 7.[41]
  20. ^ DeSantis' current term expires on January 2, 2023.


  • "Former Florida Governors". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  • "A Guide to Florida Governors and the Florida Cabinet". State Library and Archives of Florida. Retrieved 2015.
  • Buccellato, Robert (2015). Florida Governors Lasting Legacies (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1467113694.
  • Sobel, Robert (1978). Biographical directory of the governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. I. Meckler Books. ISBN 9780930466015. Retrieved 2019.
  1. ^ "CSG Releases 2013 Governor Salaries". The Council of State Governments. June 25, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ FL Const. art. IV, § 1a
  3. ^ FL Const. art. III, § 8
  4. ^ FL Const. art. III, § 3c
  5. ^ FL Const. art. IV, § 8
  6. ^ "Adams-Onís Treaty". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on July 31, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ "Andrew Jackson, Commissioner of the United States". Florida Department of State. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Andrew Jackson". State Library and Archives of Florida. Archived from the original on February 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ Morris, Allen; Joan Perry Morris (1999). The Florida Handbook, 1999-2000. Peninsular Books. ISBN 978-0-9616000-7-5. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ Harold D. Moser; David R. Hoth; George H. Hoemann, eds. (1996). The Papers of Andrew Jackson: 1821-1824. University of Tennessee Press. p. 513. ISBN 0-87049-897-5. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed. (1902). The Writings of James Monroe. G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 207. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ Peters, Virginia Bergman (1979). The Florida Wars. Hamden: The Shoestring Press. pp. 63-74. ISBN 0-208-01719-4.
  13. ^ "Florida and the Civil War" A Short History". Florida Memory. State Library & Archives of Florida. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ "February 1861-1865". This Day in History. Florida Historical Society. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  15. ^ Cox, Merlin (January 1968). "Military Reconstruction in Florida". Florida Historical Quarterly. 46 (3): 219.
  16. ^ "June in Florida History". This Day in History. Florida Historical Society. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  17. ^ 1838 Const. art III, § 2
  18. ^ 1861 Const. art. III, § 2
  19. ^ 1865 Const. art. III, § 2
  20. ^ 1868 Const. art. V, § 2
  21. ^ a b 1885 Const. art. IV, § 2
  22. ^ a b FL Const. art. IV, § 5
  23. ^ FL Const. art. IV, § 2
  24. ^ 1838 Const. art III, § 18
  25. ^ a b 1865 Const. art. III, § 19
  26. ^ 1868 Const. art. V, § 15
  27. ^ a b 1885 Const. art. IV, § 19
  28. ^ a b FL Const. art. IV, § 3
  29. ^ "Whig Party | History, Beliefs, Significance, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "John Milton". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  31. ^ "Abraham Kurkindolle Allison". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  32. ^ "William Marvin". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  33. ^ "David Shelby Walker". State Library and Archives of Florida. Archived from the original on January 23, 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  34. ^ "Florida Governors' Portraits - Harrison Reed". Museum of Florida History. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved 2010.
  35. ^ Davis, William Watson (1913). The Civil War and Reconstruction in Florida, Volume 53. Columbia University. pp. 550-555. Retrieved 2010.
  36. ^ Cases argued and adjudged in the Supreme Court of Florida. XIII. State of Florida. 1871. Retrieved 2010.
  37. ^ "Thomas Leroy Collins". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  38. ^ "Haydon Burns". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  39. ^ "Daniel Robert Graham". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2019.
  40. ^ "Can Crist Win in Florida as an Independent?". Time. May 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  41. ^ "DeSantis already governor when ceremony begins". Tampa Bay Times. January 5, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  42. ^ "States' Lines of Succession of Gubernatorial Powers" (PDF). National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). May 2011. Retrieved 2015.
  43. ^ a b "Succession to office of Governor". The Florida Legislature. Retrieved 2015.
  44. ^ Allen Morris & Joan Perry Morris, "The Florida Handbook" 2007-2008.
  45. ^ Charlton W. Tebeau, "A History of Florida" (Revised Edition 1980).
  46. ^

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