The Challenges of Electing Governors and Lieutenant Governors Individually – Sabato’s Crystal Ball



— In nearly half the states, governors and lieutenant governors are both nominated individually, or else the official who’s subsequent within the line of succession is elected individually.

in article 1

— This makes it moderately widespread for the governor and lieutenant governor to come back from separate events. At the moment, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Vermont fall into this class. Generally these pairings work easily; different instances, they don’t.

— Even governors and lieutenant governors from the identical social gathering can have relationships that vary from distant to acrimonious. There are current examples of this phenomenon in Idaho and Rhode Island.

— In states the place gubernatorial candidates can not select their working mates, it could be more durable for them to win the governorship within the first place.

Lieutenant governors throughout the nation

In some methods, the lieutenant governor of a state is very similar to the vice chairman on the federal degree: They function a backup in case of loss of life or resignation from workplace, they usually don’t have plenty of different particular duties of their portfolio.

However in nearly half the states, there’s a giant distinction from the vice presidency — lieutenant governors are elected individually from the governor.

In 17 states, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately, quite than working on a joint ticket. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington state.

In 3 different states — Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming — there’s no lieutenant governor, however a individually elected secretary of state takes over if the governor can not serve.

And in 4 different states — Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and West Virginia — the presiding officer within the state Senate, who’s additionally elected individually from the governor, is first within the line of succession.

Generally having a No. 2 elected individually works out simply fantastic for a state and its governor. Different instances, it doesn’t.

Generally the governor and lieutenant governor find yourself being from completely different events and dealing at cross functions. Generally each officers are from the identical social gathering however lack the non-public closeness that comes from having run as ticket-mates. And typically a gubernatorial candidate is hampered of their efforts to win the workplace within the first place as a result of they’d no say in who the candidate for lieutenant governor is.

Proper now, in North Carolina, the Republican lieutenant governor is utilizing his bully pulpit to bash the Democratic governor. In Idaho, a shared Republican Occasion affiliation has accomplished nothing to forge cooperation between a governor and lieutenant governor from completely different wings of the social gathering. And in Virginia, some observers wonder if the lack to nominate a working mate hampered former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) bid to win a brand new time period in 2021.

Then there are the ever-present tensions that stem from profession jealousy. “Usually there are points between governors and lieutenant governors as a result of many lieutenant governors are bold and have eyes on the highest job,” stated Ed Feigenbaum, who was employees director of the Nationwide Convention of Lieutenant Governors from 1983 to 1987 (that group is now known as the Nationwide Lieutenant Governors Affiliation).

For this text, we reached out to political observers in lots of of those states to see how properly, or poorly, their ticket-less system has labored over time.

What do lieutenant governors really do?

In lots of states, lieutenant governors preside over the state Senate, and in some states, that carries important energy. In Mississippi, for example, the governor could have issue shifting laws that’s opposed by the lieutenant governor, stated Stephen Rozman, a Tougaloo Faculty political scientist.

Past that, the duties of the workplace differ broadly by state — if they’ve any specified duties in any respect.

In Pennsylvania, the lieutenant governor is a member of the Board of Pardons. In Louisiana, the lieutenant governor heads the Division of Tradition, Recreation, and Tourism. In California, the workplace’s occupant serves on the boards of the College of California, California State College, and California Group Faculty programs. The lieutenant governor additionally joins the state controller and a gubernatorial appointee on the State Lands Fee, a low-profile however highly effective physique. In different states, lieutenant governors are capable of finding a coverage concern they’ll give attention to, even when it’s not within the official job description. In Arkansas, for example, former Lt. Gov. Invoice Halter, a Democrat, advocated for a state lottery to fund school scholarships, whereas present Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, a Republican, has led a activity pressure on public college requirements reform established by GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has leveraged his workplace to advertise marijuana legalization, which in flip has helped increase his present Senate marketing campaign.

In some states, akin to Vermont, the put up of lieutenant governor is formally part-time. When the legislature was not in session, Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie was an airline pilot, and Democratic Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman operated an natural farm.

States with governors and lieutenant governors from completely different events as we speak

At the moment, 3 states have a governor and lieutenant governor from completely different events. In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards serves with Republican Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. In North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper serves with Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. And in Vermont, Republican Gov. Phil Scott serves with Democratic Lt. Gov. Molly Grey.

These relationships run the gamut from amiable to oppositional.

In Vermont, Scott has maintained his reputation within the blue state by hewing to the political middle. “We definitely don’t agree on every thing, however we’re prepared to come back collectively and work collectively,” Grey advised U.S. Information & World Report earlier this 12 months.

In Louisiana, Edwards, a average Democrat, and Nungesser, a realistic Republican, have a very good working relationship, stated Pearson Cross, a College of Louisiana-Lafayette political scientist. Not like Edwards’ friction-filled relationship with Jeff Landry, the state’s extra aggressively partisan legal professional normal, the governor appears to have one thing of a non-aggression pact with Nungesser, observers stated.

Probably the most antagonistic relationship of the three is in North Carolina, the place Cooper is a average Democrat however Robinson repeatedly stakes out positions on the correct flank of the GOP, together with remarks important of the LGBT group. He’s anticipated to run for governor in 2024 (Cooper is term-limited).

“Robinson has used this bully pulpit masterfully,” stated Chris Cooper, a Western Carolina College political scientist. “Though he can not move coverage, he has been in a position to attract consideration to himself and his points like no lieutenant governor in current historical past.”

These 3 states have seen such partisan splits often. In Vermont, 10 governors have served since 1962, and eight of them have had a lieutenant governor of the opposing social gathering for no less than one in every of their phrases, stated Chris Graff, a longtime political observer within the state. “Vermonters take a look at the places of work individually when voting,” Graff stated. “They don’t thoughts splitting tickets for the highest two jobs.”

In Louisiana, Edwards’s predecessor, Republican Bobby Jindal, served with 3 lieutenant governors, 2 of whom have been Democrats (though one switched events). And North Carolina has seen 4 such examples, together with Cooper with Republican Dan Forest previous to Robinson. Forest unsuccessfully challenged Cooper in 2020.

How states have beforehand handled break up partisan management of the highest two places of work

Many states have navigated such partisan splits with out producing dramatic breaks.

“Factually and anecdotally, of the a whole lot of pairs of management groups in states by means of historical past, these groups have labored in almost all instances, to be productive and obtain varied priorities,” stated Julia Brossart, government director of the Nationwide Lieutenant Governors Affiliation.

In Vermont, for example, the relationships have tended to be cordial {and professional}, stated former GOP Gov. Jim Douglas. Throughout Tropical Storm Irene, which battered Vermont in 2011, the governor and lieutenant governor have been of various events, however they cooperated successfully in reduction efforts, Douglas stated.

Vermont even survived a tough transition in 1991, when Republican Gov. Richard Snelling died in workplace and was succeeded by Democratic Lt. Gov. Howard Dean. Dean immediately inherited the insurance policies and personnel of the Republican administration.

In the meantime, in Rhode Island, Democratic Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts served key advisory roles within the administrations of Republican Gov. Donald Carcieri and Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Impartial, particularly on well being care coverage, stated Valerie Endress, an affiliate professor of political communication at Rhode Island Faculty.

However in a number of states, divided management of the highest 2 seats has turned rocky certainly — most manifestly so in states the place the lieutenant governor serves as performing governor within the governor’s absence.

Tales abound about governors leaving Missouri “secretly” so a lieutenant governor of the alternative social gathering couldn’t act as governor of their stead, stated Saint Louis College political scientist Ken Warren.

Maybe probably the most celebrated instance of this phenomenon got here within the Seventies, when Republican Mike Curb served as lieutenant governor beneath California Gov. Jerry Brown. Curb, a musician and music producer, “would seize onto energy each time Brown vacationed along with his then-girlfriend, Linda Ronstadt, or depart to marketing campaign out of state,” stated Marcia Godwin, a professor of public administration on the College of La Verne. Different cross-partisan lineups in California labored higher, akin to Democrat Leo McCarthy’s tenure beneath Republican Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson. Godwin speculates that McCarthy’s lengthy service as a state legislative chief had left him extra levers of energy than different occupants of the workplace.

In North Carolina, concern of Robinson assuming gubernatorial powers has stored Cooper caught within the Tar Heel State. Actually, seeking to the 2022 Senate cycle, Cooper was, at a time, thought-about Democrats’ strongest potential candidate. However Robinson’s election successfully took Cooper out of rivalry — if he ran for Senate and gained, that will imply handing the governorship over to Robinson in the midst of the time period.

One widespread irritant is that the lieutenant governor could also be utilizing their workplace to spice up their very own electoral problem to the sitting governor. Douglas remembers engaged on Snelling’s employees throughout a interval when Democrat Madeleine Kunin was serving as lieutenant governor. “It was apparent that she was eying the highest job,” Douglas stated. He recalled asking Snelling if he was involved that Kunin would do one thing to undercut him. “‘No,’ he replied. ‘To her credit score, she does all her mischief once I’m round.’”

Even governors and lieutenant governors of the identical social gathering might be at odds

In some states, governors and lieutenant governors generate friction as a result of they arrive from completely different wings of the identical social gathering.

Within the Nineteen Eighties, there have been tensions between Gov. Gerald Baliles and Lt. Gov. Doug Wilder, stated Robert D. Holsworth, a founding director of Virginia Commonwealth College’s Middle for Public Coverage who’s now managing accomplice of the consulting agency DecideSmart. Each have been Democrats, however Wilder didn’t help Baliles’ tax bundle that was supposed to fund transportation.

At the moment, in Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann are each Republican, however Hosemann is taken into account extra of a pragmatist. The 2 have break up over such points as Medicaid growth, medical marijuana legalization, and management of COVID-19 emergency funds, Rozman stated.

Traditionally, social gathering splits in Idaho haven’t been problematic, such because the one between Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus and Republican Lt. Gov. Butch Otter, stated Randy Stapilus, a longtime political observer within the state. However the present relationship between Republican Gov. (and former Lt. Gov.) Brad Little and Republican Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has devolved into open warfare.

McGeachin, who has acquired President Donald Trump’s endorsement in a 2022 main problem to Little, has taken positions on the right-most fringe of her social gathering, whereas Little has been extra of a pragmatist, particularly on coronavirus coverage.

“On multiple event when the governor has been outdoors Idaho, McGeachin has taken to issuing government orders as performing governor,” Resolution Desk HQ reported. “Little has rescinded the orders, and apparently didn’t inform McGeachin he was going out of the state earlier this month.”

Stapilus described the two as being “ferociously at odds nearly all 12 months, and neither has been, no less than in current months, making any actual effort to cover or soft-pedal it.”

One other current instance comes from Rhode Island, the place Democrat Dan McKee was elevated from lieutenant governor to governor in early 2021 following the affirmation of fellow Democrat Gina Raimondo as President Joe Biden’s secretary of commerce.

Previous to McKee’s elevation, the 2 reportedly didn’t see one another in particular person for greater than a 12 months; to speak, he needed to ask capitol cops to hand-deliver letters to her workplace. At one press availability, Raimondo was requested whether or not she’d had any substantive discussions along with her lieutenant governor. “Not usually,” she acknowledged.

Endress describes the Raimondo-McKee relationship as “actually dysfunctional,” noting that Raimondo didn’t attend her successor’s inauguration, nor was McKee invited to her farewell deal with.

“Raimondo garnered nationwide media consideration as state treasurer along with her overhaul of the state pension system, and he or she relished the limelight as her nationwide profile continued to rise,” Endress stated. “McKee, who served as a city councilman and mayor of a city of 35,000, adopted a way more low-key method to governing. The 2 additionally differed vastly on their method to financial growth, arguably the central focus of policymaking in Rhode Island for the reason that 2008 recession.”

One consequence of the poor relationship: A number of state legislators and officeholders in Rhode Island have begun floating modifications to the way in which the state’s 2 high officeholders are elected, Endress stated.

Gubernatorial candidates might be hobbled by not with the ability to select a working mate

A number of states use a barely completely different system, through which the governor and lieutenant governor are chosen individually, both by means of a conference or a main. The nominees then run collectively within the normal election.

In Pennsylvania, this hasn’t labored too properly lately, with “groups” which have differed in each type and substance. Gov. Ed Rendell repeatedly clashed with fellow Democrat Catherine Baker Knoll, whereas Gov. Tom Wolf ended up with a disastrous pairing with Mike Stack in 2014. Stack and his spouse have been accused of mistreating their employees and the state troopers who have been offering their safety. Wolf ended up eradicating Stack’s police safety and lowering his employees.

In Virginia — one of many aforementioned states the place the lieutenant governor is elected fully individually from the governor — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe could have been destined to lose to Republican Glenn Youngkin final November. However the margin was lower than 2 factors, and it’s doable to marvel how a lot of an influence the state’s separate elections for governor and lieutenant governor performed into that outcome.

McAuliffe gained the first over, amongst others, 2 Black ladies, former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy from Northern Virginia and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan from the Richmond space. However quite than with the ability to choose both of the runners-up, McAuliffe was restricted to working alongside the winner of the first for lieutenant governor.

Because it turned out, the Democratic nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and legal professional normal all got here from Northern Virginia. And never having both a Black candidate or one from outdoors of Northern Virginia “actually harm Democratic turnout in different main inhabitants facilities of the state, together with Hampton Roads and the Richmond space,” stated Stephen J. Farnsworth, a College of Mary Washington political scientist.

Invoice Bolling, who served as a Republican lieutenant governor beneath each Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and Republican Bob McDonnell, stated that it’s par for the course for lieutenant governors to be distant.

In Virginia, Bolling stated, “most governors haven’t concerned the lieutenant governor actively of their administrations. Frankly, that has been the case no matter political social gathering. They haven’t traditionally been actively concerned within the day-to-day operation of the governor’s administration.”

Bolling stated that he and Kaine have been pleasant, having reduce their enamel in Richmond-area politics, however as a result of the governor was from a special social gathering, “he was clearly not going to contain me within the day-to-day operation of his administration.” Throughout McDonnell’s tenure, nevertheless, the 2 “ruled collectively as a staff,” together with a key function for Bolling on financial growth points.

Given his experiences as lieutenant governor, Bolling stated, “I’ve lengthy been an advocate for altering the way in which we elect the lieutenant governor and altering the function of the lieutenant governor. I would favor a system the place the governor and lieutenant governor ran collectively on a ticket, similar to the president and the vice chairman. If this occurred, I believe governors could be extra inclined to let their lieutenant governor play a extra energetic function of their administration. This could make the workplace far more significant and higher put together the Lieutenant Governor to turn into governor ought to the necessity ever come up.”

Louis Jacobson is a Senior Columnist for Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He’s additionally the senior correspondent on the fact-checking web site PolitiFact and is senior creator of the Almanac of American Politics 2022. He was senior creator of the Almanac’s 2016, 2018, and 2020 editions and a contributing author for the 2000 and 2004 editions.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here