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Governor Term Limits by State 2023

Which States Do Not Have Term Limits?

14 states do not have any term limits. These include Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. The lack of term limits does not mean that the office of the governor can rule without a democratic opposition, as this would largely be against the constitution and the primary principles that make the U.S one of the greatest free democratic nations in the world.

A term is much like the term of the President, meaning that it is limited to 4 years before an election. The fact that makes it unlimited is that the same governor can be elected past the traditional two-term limit, meaning that if they have a strong platform that adheres to the wants and needs of its citizens, they can be it successful for many terms to come. It is notable that although New Hampshire and Vermont have no limit on how long the governor can stay in office, terms are limited to 2 years instead of 4.

Which States Have the Shortest Term Limits?

There are many states that mimic the federal rules of the constitution which govern the office of the presidency and his/her team. Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Florida are all of note - meaning that the governor can run for 2 consecutive four-year terms if they are wanted. This makes up the majority of most state laws and is the normal course of action. Other states, such as Indiana, Wyoming, and Oregon also have adopted the 2 consecutive 4 year term limit. The only difference is that the governor must take a 1-term pause in between elections, with the office of the governor of Montana needing a 2-year pause in between running for the candidacy.

Finally, other states such as Arkansas, California, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, and Oklahoma all allow 2 terms a lifetime, regardless if it is consecutive or a pause. While it is a normal occurrence for presidents to run for two consecutive terms, the federal rules closely resemble these states - as a President can run for two terms in a lifetime if one of the terms resulted in a loss. This can be seen most recently with Donald Trump running for office in 2024, after his unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2020.

Which States Have the Strictest Term Limits?

49 states enjoy either unlimited terms or 2 terms throughout their lifetime, consecutively or otherwise. There is only one state that allows a single term, which is Virginia. The Governor of Virginia is the most restricted in office, as they are unable to run - even if they were successful in serving their state for a 4 year period. This ban on a second term has largely been disputed, as it can create problems of leadership even after a great display of leadership.

Prohibition on re-election in Virginia goes back to 1776, which was the first American colony. The resentment of the British authorities established a ban on the state's governor's office to prevent further problems within the states of the union.

Governor Term Limits by State 2023

Governor Term Limits by State 2023