Five Ways to Become Lieutenant Governor

During research into the history of the office of Lieutenant Governor, one interesting fact became increasingly obvious; there are more different ways to assume that office than any other. In fact, our current count is that there have been five distinct ways to assume California’s second highest office;

  1. Election by voters in a statewide election (ex. Gavin Newsom and John Garamendi)
  2. Appointed by Governor to fill the vacancy. Since the 1970s, the Governor has had the ability to appointment a new Lt. Governor when the office becomes vacant. The appointment must be approved by both houses of the legislature (ex. Abel Maldonado and John Harmer)
  3. Prior to the 1970s, the Senate President pro Tem automatically became the Acting Lieutenant Governor when a vacancy occured, filling that position for the remainder of the term (ex. William Irwin and Stephen M. White). Now Pro Tems only fill the vacancy until the Governor’s appointee is confirmed.
  4. Should the Pro Tem decline to serve as Acting Lt. Governor, the Chief Deputy of the last Lt. Governor becomes the acting officeholder until the appointee is confirmed by the legislature. (ex. Mona F. Pasquil)
  5. On three occasions, the office of Lt. Governor was vacant at the start of a legislative session and the Senate elected both a President of the Senate (Lt. Governor) and a President pro Tem. Although similar to Pro Tem succession (ex. David C. Broderick, Isaac N. Quinn and Pablo De La Guerra

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