The Heritage Center west entrance (former lobby) will be temporarily closed beginning Monday, Sept. 29. Please use the new east entrance (Northern Lights Atrium).

SHSND Home > Exhibits > Online Exhibits > North Dakota Governors > Governors' Transitions

Governors' Transitions in North Dakota History

December 7, 2010
The Significance of This Day
Compiled by Rick Collin
Communications and Education Director
State Historical Society of North Dakota

Hoeven
Hoeven
Dalrymple
Dalrymple
Wrigley
Wrigley

As North Dakota’s 31st governor, John Hoeven is the second longest serving governor in state history. He has been in office since December 15, 2000, eight days short of 10 years. Only William Guy has been governor longer, serving two days short of 12 years when he left office January 2, 1973.

As North Dakota’s 36th lieutenant governor, Jack Dalrymple is the longest serving lieutenant governor in state history, taking office with Governor Hoeven.

Sinner
Sinner
Omdahl
Omdahl
Meiers
Meiers

As he moves into the governorship, Jack Dalrymple is the first lieutenant governor to appoint his successor, Drew Wrigley.

His appointment of Drew Wrigley is only the second time in state history that a governor has appointed a lieutenant governor. The first time was in 1987, when Governor George Sinner appointed Lloyd Omdahl to replace the state’s first female lieutenant governor, Ruth Meiers, who died in office from cancer March 19, 1987.

Today marks the first time since 1935 in North Dakota history that a lieutenant governor has succeeded the governor, and the fifth time since statehood in 1889.

It is also the first time this transition has occurred naturally, without the governor’s death or forced removal from office.

The other four times when the lieutenant governor has succeeded the governor are:

Devine
Devine
Briggs
Briggs
  • August 9, 1898 – Governor Frank Briggs (R, 1858-1898) died of tuberculosis at the age of 39, succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Joseph Devine (R, 1861-1938). Briggs was serving the last months of his first term, taking office January 6, 1897.
Maddock
Maddock
Sorlie
Sorlie
  • August 28, 1928 – Governor Arthur Sorlie (R, 1874-1928) died of a heart attack at the age of 54, succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Walter Maddock (R, 1880-1951). Sorlie was serving the final months of his second term, taking office January 7, 1925.

Olson
Olson

Langer
Langer
  • June 21, 1934 – Governor William Langer (R, 1886-1959) was removed from office, succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Ole Olson (R, 1872-1954). Langer, who began his term December 31, 1932, was forced to resign after being convicted of a felony for soliciting and collecting money for political purposes from federal employees working in North Dakota. He appealed and was acquitted, clearing the way for his comeback election as governor in 1936.

Welford
Welford

Moodie
Moodie
  • February 16, 1935 – Governor Thomas Moodie (D, 1878-1948) was removed from office, succeeded by Lieutenant Governor Walter Welford (R, 1868-1952). Moodie was forced to resign 40 days after taking office when it was discovered he had not been a resident of the state for at least five years prior to his election, as required by the North Dakota constitution. He had voted in a Minneapolis, Minnesota election in 1930.

With Moodie’s resignation and Welford’s succession, North Dakota had four governors in seven months.

All five lieutenant governors who have replaced the previous governor have been Republican.

Of the five governors they have replaced, four have been Republican (Briggs, Sorlie, Langer and Hoeven) and one has been Democrat (Moodie).

During the first four times, the office of lieutenant governor was left vacant until another person was elected to the position.

From statehood in 1889 until 1974, the lieutenant governor was elected on a separate ballot from the governor. Often this meant the two offices were held by a governor and lieutenant governor of different political parties.

Link
Link
Sanstead
Sanstead
Guy
Guy
Larsen
Larsen

Since 1974, the governor and lieutenant have been elected on a joint ballot from the same political party. The first election this was in effect was in 1976, when Governor Arthur Link and Lieutenant Governor Wayne Sanstead were re-elected to second terms.

The last election when these offices were filled by candidates from different parties was 1968, when Governor William Guy, a Democrat, was re-elected to his fourth and final term. Richard Larsen, a Republican, was elected as lieutenant governor.

From statehood in 1889 until 1962, the governor and lieutenant governor were elected to two-year terms. The terms were expanded to four years beginning with the 1964 election.

Address:
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

Hours:
State Museum and Store: 8am - 5pm M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10am - 5pm.
State Archives: 8am - 4:30pm., M-F, except state holidays, and 2nd Sat. of each month, 10am - 4:30 pm.
State Historical Society offices: 8am - 5pm M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710
email: histsoc@nd.gov