Perry Exits #10 in All-Time Gubernatorial Tenure

The Texan lands in the Top 10 for all-time service among statehood governors and #4 for consecutive service

rickperry10.jpgOn Tuesday Texas will have a new governor for the first time in more than 14 years.

Former state Attorney General Greg Abbott takes the reins from Rick Perry, who landed the post on December 21, 2000 after the resignation of George W. Bush to become president.

While Perry was not necessarily one of the most popular governors of the 21st Century, he never had a truly close call at the ballot box and was able to amass one of the longest gubernatorial tenures in the nation’s history.

All told, Perry served 14 years and one month, or 5,144 days, good for 10th place on the all-time list of statehood governors since 1787.

This weekend Perry eclipsed former Wisconsin Republican Governor Tommy Thompson, who ran the Badger State for 14 years and 28 days (5,142 days) from 1987 to 2001.

Over the last month Perry also passed by Iowa Republican Robert Ray (1969-1983; 5,112 days), Illinois Republican James Thompson (1977-1991; 5,118 days), New Hampshire Federalist John Gilman (1794-1805, 1813-1816; 5,119 days), and Idaho Democrat Cecil Andrus (1971-1977, 1987-1995; 5,133 days).

Perry would have needed to serve another 11 months to reach ninth place – held by New York Republican Nelson Rockefeller who logged in 14 years, 11 months, 18 days from 1959 to 1973.

Of course, topping the all-time list for statehood gubernatorial service is Iowa’s Terry Branstad who was easily elected to an unprecedented sixth four-year term last November.

The Hawkeye State Republican has turned in 20 years and 9 days of service through Tuesday, or 7,313 days.

Branstad will pass New York’s George Clinton for pre- and post-U.S. statehood gubernatorial service in mid-December of this year.

Clinton served 20 years, 10 months, 29 days (7,639 days) including approximately 11 years of serving prior to the granting of statehood to New York in 1788.

Two other governors who just started their fourth four-year terms this month, John Kitzhaber of Oregon and Jerry Brown of California, have now each cracked the Top 20 for all-time statehood gubernatorial tenure.

Each has served 12 years and 16 days (4,399 days) – good for 20th in history.

Up next for the Democratic duo: Jeffersonian Republican Isaac Williamson of New Jersey (1817-1829; 4,650 days) who will be passed in early October.

Top 20 Longest-Serving Statehood Governors in U.S. History

#
State
Governor
Party
Years
# Days
1
IA
Terry Branstad*
Republican
1983-1999, 2011-present
7,313
2
SD
William Janklow
Republican
1979-1987, 1995-2003
5,851
3
AL
George Wallace
Democrat
1963-1967, 1971-1979, 1983-1987
5,848
4
NC
Jim Hunt
Democrat
1977-1985, 1993-2001
5,840
4
OH
Jim Rhodes
Republican
1963-1971, 1975-1983
5,840
6
LA
Edwin Edwards
Democrat
1972-1980, 1984-1988, 1992-1996
5,784
7
RI
Arthur Fenner
Anti-Federalist
1790-1805
5,642
8
MD
Albert Ritchie
Democrat
1920-1935
5,475
9
NY
Nelson Rockefeller
Republican
1959-1973
5,466
10
TX
Rick Perry
Republican
2000-2015
5,144
11
WI
Tommy Thompson
Republican
1987-2001
5,142
12
ID
Cecil Andrus
Democrat
1971-1977, 1987-1995
5,133
13
NH
John Gilman
Federalist
1794-1805, 1813-1816
5,119
14
IL
James Thompson
Republican
1977-1991
5,118
15
IA
Robert Ray
Republican
1969-1983
5,112
16
MI
William Milliken
Republican
1969-1983
5,093
17
AZ
George Hunt
Democrat
1911-1919, 1923-1929, 1931-1933
5,090
18
RI
James Fenner
Jeff-Rep; Jack-Dem, Law & Order
1807-1811, 1824-1831, 1843-1845
4,749
19
NJ
Isaac Williamson
Jeffersonian Republican
1817-1829
4,650
20
OR
John Kitzhaber*
Democrat
1995-2003; 2011-present
4,399
20
CA
Jerry Brown*
Democrat
1975-1983; 2011-present
4,399

* Denotes a governor still in office. Through January 20, 2015. Note: Excludes pre-U.S. Constitutional gubernatorial service as well as gubernatorial service in U.S. territories. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

Note: Governor Perry climbs even higher on the list – up to #4 – when measuring tenure in terms of consecutive gubernatorial service.

The only three statehood governors who top Perry by this metric are:

● Rhode Island Anti Federalist Arthur Fenner (1790-1805). Fenner served 15 years, 5 months, 11 days consecutively (5,642 days).

● Maryland Democrat Albert Ritchie (1920-1935). Ritchie served 14 years, 11 months, 27 days consecutively (5,475 days).

● New York Republican Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1973). Rockefeller served 14 years, 11 months, 18 days consecutively (5,466 days).

Despite a disappointing performance in pursuit of the GOP nomination in 2012, Perry’s name continues to be mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, reinforced by his own words (and travel schedule to key states).

It is expected Perry will make his decision much earlier in the cycle than he did last time around, when he didn’t announce his candidacy until mid-August of 2011.

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