Lieutenant Governor of Indiana

Lieutenant Governor of Indiana

Eric Holcomb

since March 3, 2016
Term length 4 years
(term limited to serving no more than eight years in any twelve-year period)
Inaugural holder Christopher Harrison
November 7, 1816
Formation Constitution of Indiana
Salary $76,000

The Lieutenant Governor of Indiana is a constitutional office in the US State of Indiana. Republican Eric Holcomb, who assumed office in March 2016, is the incumbent. The office holder's constitutional roles are to serve as President of the Indiana Senate, become acting governor during the incapacity of the governor, and become governor should the incumbent governor resign, die in office, or be impeached and removed from office. Lieutenant governors have succeeded ten governors following their deaths or resignations. The lieutenant governor holds statutory positions, serving as the head of the state agricultural and rural affairs bureaus, and as the chairman of several state committees. The annual salary of the lieutenant governor of Indiana is $88,000.

The lieutenant governor is elected on the same election ticket as the Governor in a statewide election held every four years, concurrent with United States presidential elections. Should a lieutenant governor die while in office, resign, or succeed to the governorship, the constitution specifies no mechanism by which to fill vacancies in the lieutenant governor's office. Historically, the position has generally remained vacant during such events. The last attempt to fill such a vacancy in 1887 led to the outbreak of violence in the state legislature known as the Black Day of the General Assembly.


The position of lieutenant governor was created with the adoption of the first Constitution of Indiana in August 1816. The position was filled by an October election. The position was retained and the current requirements established in the state's second and current constitution adopted in 1851.[1]

To become lieutenant governor of Indiana, a candidate must have been a United States citizen and lived within Indiana for the period of five consecutive years before the election. The candidate must also be at least thirty years old when sworn into office. The lieutenant governor may not hold any federal office during his term, and must resign from any such position before being eligible to be sworn in as lieutenant governor. Before taking the office, the candidate must swear an oath of office administered by the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, promising to uphold the constitution and laws of Indiana.[2]


Jesse D. Bright, Lieutenant Governor and US Senator from Indiana; he was exiled from the United States during the American Civil War
Oliver P. Morton, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and US Senator from Indiana

The lieutenant governor of Indiana serves as acting governor when the governor becomes incapacitated. In the state's early history, lieutenant governors would serve as acting governor while the governor was away from the capital. Christopher Harrison was the first lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor while Jonathan Jennings negotiated treaties far from the capital.[3]

If the governor dies in office, becomes permanently incapacitated, resigns, or is impeached, the lieutenant governor becomes governor.[4] In total, ten lieutenant governors become governor by succession.[5] The first occurrence was when Jonathan Jennings resigned to become a congressman and was succeeded by Ratliff Boon.[6]

In the event that both the governorship and lieutenant-governorship are vacant, the constitution stipulates that the Senate President pro tempore becomes governor.[7] Historically, governors appointed the pro tempore to serve as acting lieutenant governor as a formality. This practice ended in the early twentieth century.[8] Although the constitution did not specify a method to fill a vacancy in the lieutenant governorship, an attempt to fill a vacancy occurred in 1887. When the winner of the election attempted to be seated, the Senate erupted into violence known as the Black Day of the General Assembly; the lieutenant governor-elect was sworn in but never seated.[9]

Should the lieutenant governorship become vacant for any reason, including death, resignation, or succession, the governor may nominate a replacement who must be approved by both houses of the General Assembly.[7]



Indiana Statehouse, location of the Lieutenant Governor's office.

The lieutenant governor has two constitutional functions. The primary function is to serve as the President of the Indiana Senate. In the Senate the lieutenant governor is permitted to debate on legislation, introduce legislation, and vote on matters to break ties. As presiding officer in the Senate, lieutenant governors also have partial control over what legislation will be considered, and influence on the legislative calendar. Unless a special session is called by the governor, the Senate meets for no more than 91 days in any two years period, leaving the lieutenant governor free from his or her senatorial duties in the remainder of the year.[10]

The secondary function is to serve as a successor to the governorship should it become vacant, or act as governor if necessary. If a lieutenant governor should succeed to the governorship, the office of lieutenant governor and President of the Senate become vacant; the duties are taken over by the Senate President pro tempore.[10]


The majority of the powers exercised by the lieutenant governor are statutory and have been assigned by the Indiana General Assembly. The first additional powers granted to the lieutenant governor were added in 1932 when the office holder was made the head of the state's agricultural commission. The office's powers have since expanded to include the chairmanship of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Office of Energy and Defense Development, and the Office of Tourism Development.[10] As head of the various office and committees, the lieutenant governor controls many patronage positions and is permitted to fill them by appointment. Important positions filled by the lieutenant governor include the members of the Corn Marketing Council, the Main Street Council, Steel Advisory Commission, and the Indiana Film Commission.[11]

In addition to the chairmanship of the committees, the lieutenant governor is also a participating member of the Natural Resources Committee, State Office Building Commission, Air Pollution Control Board, Water Pollution Control Board, and Solid Waste Management Board.[11]

The annual salary of the lieutenant governor of Indiana is set by the Indiana General Assembly and was $76,000 in 2007.[12][13]

List of Lieutenant Governors of Indiana

There have been forty-nine Lieutenant Governors of Indiana since Indiana became a state in 1816.

  Democratic-Republican   Democratic   Whig   Republican   Independent

# Lt. GovernorTook officeLeft officePartyGovernorNotes
1   Christopher Harrison November 7, 1816 December 17, 1818 Democratic-Republican Jonathan Jennings [N 1][N 2][N 3]
2   Ratliff Boon December 8, 1819 September 12, 1822 Democratic-Republican Jonathan Jennings [N 2][N 4]
3   Ratliff Boon September 12, 1822 January 30, 1824 Democratic-Republican William Hendricks [N 2][N 4]
4   John H. Thompson January 30, 1824 December 3, 1828 Democratic-Republican William Hendricks [N 5]
5 Milton Stapp December 3, 1828 December 7, 1831 Independent James B. Ray
6   David Wallace December 7, 1831 December 6, 1837 Whig Noah Noble
7   David Hillis December 6, 1837 December 9, 1840 Whig David Wallace
8   Samuel Hall December 9, 1840 December 6, 1843 Whig Samuel Bigger
9   Jesse D. Bright December 6, 1843 March 4, 1845 Democrat James Whitcomb [N 2][N 6][N 7]
10   Paris C. Dunning December 9, 1846 December 26, 1848 Democrat James Whitcomb [N 4][N 8]
11   James Henry Lane December 5, 1849 January 10, 1853 Democrat Joseph A. Wright
12   Ashbel P. Willard January 10, 1853 January 12, 1857 Democrat Joseph A. Wright
13   Abram A. Hammond January 12, 1857 October 3, 1860 Democrat Ashbel P. Willard [N 4][N 9]
14   Oliver P. Morton January 14, 1861 January 16, 1861 Republican Henry Smith Lane [N 4]
  John R. Cravens January 16, 1861 October 9, 1863 Republican Oliver P. Morton acting[N 10]
  Paris C. Dunning October 9, 1863 January 9, 1865 Democrat Oliver P. Morton acting[N 11]
15   Conrad Baker January 9, 1865 January 23, 1867 Republican Oliver P. Morton [N 4][N 1]
16   William Cumback January 11, 1869 January 13, 1873 Republican Conrad Baker [N 2][N 12][N 13]
17   Leonidas Sexton January 13, 1873 January 13, 1877 Republican Thomas A. Hendricks
18   Isaac P. Gray January 13, 1877 November 2, 1880 Democrat James D. Williams [N 4]
  Fredrick Vieche November 20, 1880 January 8, 1881 Democrat Isaac P. Gray acting[N 14]
19   Thomas Hanna January 10, 1881 January 12, 1885 Republican Albert G. Porter
20   Mahlon Dickerson Manson January 12, 1885 August 3, 1886 Democrat Isaac P. Gray [N 2]
21   Robert S. Robertson January 10, 1887 January 13, 1889 Republican Isaac P. Gray
  Alonzo G. Smith November 8, 1886 January 14, 1889 Democrat Isaac P. Gray acting[N 15]
22   Ira Joy Chase January 14, 1889 November 24, 1891 Republican Alvin Peterson Hovey acting[N 4][N 16]
  Francis M. Griffith November 23, 1891 January 9, 1893 Republican Ira Joy Chase acting[N 17]
23   Mortimer Nye January 9, 1893 January 11, 1897 Democrat Claude Matthews
24   William S. Haggard January 11, 1897 January 14, 1901 Republican James A. Mount
25   Newton W. Gilbert January 14, 1901 January 9, 1905 Republican Winfield T. Durbin
26   Hugh Thomas Miller January 9, 1905 January 11, 1909 Republican Frank Hanly
27   Frank J. Hall January 11, 1909 January 13, 1913 Democrat Thomas R. Marshall
28   William P. O'Neill January 13, 1913 January 8, 1917 Democrat Samuel M. Ralston
29   Edgar D. Bush January 8, 1917 January 10, 1921 Republican James P. Goodrich
30   Emmett Forrest Branch January 10, 1921 April 30, 1924 Republican Warren T. McCray [N 4]
  James J. Nejdl April 30, 1924 January 12, 1925 Republican Warren T. McCray acting[N 18]
31   F. Harold Van Orman January 12, 1925 January 14, 1929 Republican Edward L. Jackson
32   Edgar D. Bush January 14, 1929 January 9, 1933 Republican Harry G. Leslie
33   M. Clifford Townsend January 9, 1933 January 11, 1937 Democrat Paul V. McNutt
34   Henry F. Schricker January 11, 1937 January 13, 1941 Democrat M. Clifford Townsend
35   Charles M. Dawson January 13, 1941 January 8, 1945 Democrat Henry F. Schricker
36   Richard T. James January 8, 1945 January 10, 1948 Republican Ralph F. Gates
37   Rue J. Alexander April 14, 1948 January 2, 1949 Republican Henry F. Schricker [N 2]
38   John A. Watkins January 10, 1949 January 12, 1953 Democrat Henry F. Schricker
39   Harold W. Handley January 12, 1953 January 14, 1957 Republican George N. Craig
40   Crawford F. Parker January 14, 1957 January 9, 1961 Republican Harold W. Handley
41   Richard O. Ristine January 9, 1961 January 11, 1965 Republican Matthew E. Welsh
42   Robert L. Rock January 11, 1965 January 13, 1969 Democrat Roger D. Branigin
43   Richard E. Folz January 13, 1969 January 8, 1973 Republican Edgar Whitcomb
44   Robert D. Orr January 8, 1973 January 12, 1981 Republican Otis R. Bowen
45   John Mutz January 12, 1981 January 9, 1989 Republican Robert D. Orr
46   Frank O'Bannon January 9, 1989 January 13, 1997 Democrat Evan Bayh
47   Joe E. Kernan January 13, 1997 September 13, 2003 Democrat Frank O'Bannon [N 1][N 4]
48   Kathy Davis October 20, 2003 January 10, 2005 Democrat Joe E. Kernan
49   Becky Skillman January 10, 2005 January 14, 2013 Republican Mitch Daniels
50 Sue Ellspermann January 14, 2013 March 2, 2016 Republican Mike Pence [N 19]
51 Eric Holcomb March 3, 2016 January 9, 2017 Republican Mike Pence
52 Suzanne Crouch January 9, 2017 Elect Republican Eric Holcomb

Living former U.S. Lieutenant Governors of Indiana

As of August 2014, there are five former U.S. lieutenant governors of Indiana who are currently living at this time, the oldest U.S. lieutenant governor of Indiana being John Mutz (served 19811989, born 1935). The most recent death of a former U.S. lieutenant governor of Indiana was that of Robert L. Rock (served 19651969, born 1927), on January 9, 2013. The most recently serving lieutenant governor to die was Frank O'Bannon (1989-1997) on September 13, 2003.

Lt. GovernorLt. Gubernatorial termDate of birth (and age)
John Mutz 19811989 November 5, 1935
Joseph E. Kernan 19972003 April 8, 1946
Katherine "Kathy" Davis 20032005 June 24, 1956
Becky Skillman 20052013 September 26, 1950
Sue Ellspermann 20132016 April 29, 1960


  1. 1 2 3 Was acting Governor
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Resigned from office
  3. James Beggs was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Christopher Harrison. He held the position until the election of Ratliff Boon (Funk, p. 206)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Was elevated to Governor during his term
  5. Served two terms
  6. Became a United States Senator
  7. Godlove S. Orth, a Whig, was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jesse B. Bright. He held the position until the election of Paris Dunning (Funk, p. 206)
  8. James G. Read was elected Senate President pro tempore by the Senate to fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Paris Dunning to the governorship. He held the position until the election of James Lane (Funk, p. 206)
  9. The Senate did not elect a Senate President pro tempore following Hammond's succession as governor and the position remained vacant until the election of Oliver Morton (Funk, p. 206)
  10. After Morton's elevation to Governor, John R. Cravens served as acting lieutenant governor from 1861 to 1863(Funk, p. 206)
  11. After the resignation of John R. Cravens, Paris C. Dunning served as acting lieutenant governor from 1863 to 1865 (Funk, p. 206)
  12. After Bakers elevation to the governorship William Cumback served as acting lieutenant governor until his election in 1869
  13. George W. Finley served as acting lieutenant governor following the resignation of William Cumback until the election of Leonidas Sexton. (Funk, p. 206)
  14. Fredrick Vieche served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Isaac Gray to the governorship until the election of Thomas Hanna.
  15. At the general election in November 1886 both parties entered candidates to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mahlon Manson. Robert S. Robertston, Republican, was elected and sworn into office on January 10, 1886. The Democrat-controlled Senate refused to seat him, declaring that the seat was not vacant and the election was invalid. The Senate then elected Alonzo G. Smith to serve as acting lieutenant governor until the election of Ira Chase. The Indiana Supreme Court ordered the senate to seat Robertson, but violence broke out when he attempted to enter the chamber, preventing him from ever taking office. (Funk, p 204)
  16. Francis M. Griffin served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Ira Chase to the governorship, he served until the election of Mortimer Nye.
  17. Francis M. Griffin served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Ira Chase to the governorship, he served until the election of Mortimer Nye. (Funk, p. 204)
  18. James J. Nejdl served as acting lieutenant governor following the elevation of Emmett Branch to the governorship until the election of Harold Van Orman.
  19. Sue Ellspermann resigned to become President of Ivy Tech Community College


  1. Gugin, p. 10
  2. Constitution of Indiana, 5-7
  3. Gugin, p. 47
  4. Constitution of Indiana, 5-10(b)
  5. Gugin, p. 12
  6. Gugin, p. 49
  7. 1 2 Constitution of Indiana, 5-10(c)
  8. Gugin, p. 14
  9. Gugin, pp. 176–177
  10. 1 2 3 Indiana Chamber, p. 13
  11. 1 2 Indiana Chamber, p. 14
  12. Indiana Chamber, p. 12
  13. "Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency". State of Indiana. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-11-23.


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