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Sticking to One Party in the Governor’s Office

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

Every state in the country changes political parties from time to time.  Voters choose governors of both parties even in “Democrat” California and “Republican” Arizona.  In fact, half the states swapped political parties in their governor’s mansions in just the last six years!  That’s musical chairs, political style.

But some states don’t change often.  Three states have maintained the same gubernatorial politics for more than 30 years.  Washington is one of those three.  Democrats have sat in the governor’s chair in Olympia since 1985* — a stretch longer than that party has held the top office in any other state.  Our neighbor Oregon — Democrat blue since 1987 — comes in a close second.  Only two Republican states have monopolized governorships longer than that Northwest pair — one only 9 days more than Washington, but that counts.

If we look at the executive’s political party as a state’s unwillingness to change its colors, then the most stubborn states are listed below.

STATES WITH THE LONGEST ONE PARTY CONTROL OF THE GOVERNOR’S CHAIR
Current as of 2016 Feb 9.

  1. SOUTH DAKOTA: Republican since 1979 Jan 1
  2. UTAH: Republican since 1985 Jan 7
  3. WASHINGTON: Democrat since 1985 Jan 16
  4. OREGON: Democrat since 1987 Jan 12
  5. NORTH DAKOTA: Republican since 1992 Dec 15
  6. DELAWARE: Democrat since 1993 Jan 19
  7. IDAHO: Republican since 1995 Jan 2
  8. TEXAS: Republican since 1995 Jan 17
  9. FLORIDA: Republican or Independent since 1999 Jan 5 (Republican alone since 2011 Jan 4)
  10. NEVADA: Republican since 1999 Jan 4
  11. NEBRASKA: Republican since 1999 Jan 7
  12. WEST VIRGINIA: Democrat since 2001 Jan 15
  13. GEORGIA: Republican since 2003 Jan 13
  14. OKLAHOMA: Republican since 2003 Jan 13
  15. SOUTH CAROLINA: Republican since 2003 Jan 15
  16. ALABAMA: Republican since 2003 Jan 20
  17. MISSISSIPPI: Republican since 2004 Jan 13
  18. MONTANA: Democrat since 2005 Jan 3
  19. NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democrat since 2005 Jan 6
  20. INDIANA: Republican since 2005 Jan 10
  21. NEW YORK: Democrat since 2006 Dec 31
  22. COLORADO: Democrat since 2007 Jan 9
  23. MISSOURI: Democrat since 2009 Jan 12
  24. ARIZONA: Republican since 2009 Jan 21
  25. NEW JERSEY: Republican since 2010 Jan 19

*Washington’s Democrat governors since 1985 were Booth Gardner (1985-93), Mike Lowry (1993-97), Gary Locke (1997-2005), Christine Gregoire (2005-13), and Jay Inslee (2013- ). The last Republican governor of Washington was John Spellman (1981-85).

SEE ALSO: Red Counties, Blue Counties

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