Kitzhaber launches bid to become 2nd longest-serving governor in history

John Kitzhaber_thb

by Dr. Eric Ostermeier (Smart Politics)

Governor John Kitzhaber’s announcement on Monday that he would seek reelection in 2014 to a fourth nonconsecutive term in Oregon puts him on pace to reach a mark that only one governor has achieved in U.S. history:

· A Smart Politics tally of gubernatorial service since 1789 finds that if Oregon’s John Kitzhaber is reelected this cycle and serves the entirety of that term he will become the second longest-serving governor in U.S. history at 5,854 days.

· At the end of a would-be fourth term in January 2019, Kitzhaber would edge out South Dakota Republican William Janklow (5,851 days) as well as Alabama Democrat George Wallace (5,848 days), North Carolina Democrat Jim Hunt (5,840 days), and Ohio Republican Jim Rhodes (5,840 days).

· Governor Kitzhaber currently lands in 48th place for all-time gubernatorial service at 3,992 days through Monday, December 9th (10 years, 11 months, 6 days) – tied with California Democrat Jerry Brown. However, if both Kitzhaber and Brown are reelected, Brown would end up #4 on the all-time list with 5,849 days in office come January 2019 – five days behind Kitzhaber and two behind Janklow.

· Iowa Republican Terry Branstad owns the all-time mark for gubernatorial service during the U.S. Constitutional era at 6,907 days through Monday and will end his fifth term in January 2015 with 7,303 days in office. Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, who has already announced he will not run for reelection in 2014, will end his tenure in January 2015 at #10 on the all-time list at 5,144 days (14 years, 1 month). Perry is currently 18th with 4,737 days served.

· At the end of his term in January 2015, Kitzhaber be tied for 21st place in all time gubernatorial service alongside West Virginia Democrat Arch Moore at 4,391 days. Next up on the all-time list for Kitzhaber (and Brown) are Vermont Federalist Isaac Tichenor (1797-1807, 1808-1809) at 4,011 days and Massachusetts Federalist Caleb Strong (1800-1807, 1812-1816) at 4,012 days – both of whom will be passed by the end of this month.

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Smart Politics is the non-partisan political news site authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.