Constitutional Offices Line of Succession (September 2014)

I was going through the old research and decided to update part of it and provide it here; the current line of succession for each of California’s constitutional offices.

First, a word of explanation; there are several ways to make it onto this list. Because of this, and to keep things clear, the names have been color-coded to indicate how each person made it onto the list.

  • Elected Officeholder. These are the elected officials themselves. They currently hold each of the offices because they were elected to them.
  • Lieutenant Governor Succeeds. In the case of a vacancy in the Governor’s office, the State Constitution (in Article V, Sec. 10) provides that the Lieutenant Governor will assume that office.
  • Chief Deputies [in Acting capacity]. California Government Code, Section 1775 permits the Chief Deputies of each constitutional officeholder to exercise the duties of the officeholder until a replacement is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature. So although the confirmed Governor’s appointment is higher  in the line of succession, the Chief Deputies will often serve in an “acting” capacity until the successor is confirmed.
  • As noted above, although the Chief Deputies are able to fill the constitutional offices in an acting capacity, the usual method of filling constitutional offices other than that of Governor is by a Governor’s appointment (according to Article V, Sec. 5 of the State Constitution)
  • Line of Succession California Government Code, Section 12058 assigns a line of succession for the Governor’s office, which includes the following officials;
    • Senate President Pro Tem
    • Assembly Speaker
    • Secretary of State
    • Attorney General
    • Treasurer
    • Controller
    • Superintendent of Public Instruction
    • Insurance Commissioner
    • Chair of the State Board of Equalization
  • In the case of the Governor, following the constitutional officers in the line of succession are the Disaster Acting Governors (according to Government Code Sections 12061-12063). As noted in the chart, the list of Disaster Acting Governors was last updated in August 1967 by Governor Reagan. Of the seven Disaster Acting Governors appointed by Reagan, only one, Earl Smittcamp, is still alive today.
  • Last on the chart are the Disaster Acting Constitutionals. In addition to the Governor, “Disaster Acting” officials are authorized by the Government Code (sections 12700-12702)  for the offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, and Attorney General). Most of the Disaster Acting lists haven’t been updated in decades, with the
    • Lieutenant Governor (last updated 1976)
    • Secretary of State (last updated 1982)
    • Controller (last updated 1971)
    • Treasurer (last updated 2009)
    • Attorney General (last updated 1991)
The Line of Succession for California's constitutional offices

The Line of Succession for California’s constitutional offices