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Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi
Delbert Hosemann in Kuwait (cropped).jpg
Delbert Hosemann
since January 9, 2020
TypeLieutenant Governor
Term lengthFour years
Two terms

The Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi is the second-highest ranking elected executive officer in the U.S. state of Mississippi, below the governor of Mississippi, and is the only official in the state to be a member of two branches of state government. The office of lieutenant governor was established when Mississippi became a state in 1817, abolished for a few decades in the first half of the 19th century, and restored later in the century. The lieutenant governor serves a four-year term with a two consecutive term limit. The current lieutenant governor is Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, who has held the office since 2020.

The lieutenant governor is constitutionally ex officio President of the Mississippi State Senate. As such, they rule on points of order, sign all passed bills, and can cast tie-breaking votes in the body. They are empowered by Senate rules to determine the composition of its committees and refer bills to them. Lieutenant governors have used this power to exert wide influence over the progress of legislation. In the event of a temporary or permanent vacancy in the governorship, the lieutenant governor assumes the higher office's responsibilities as acting governor.


The office of lieutenant governor of Mississippi was established by the state's 1817 constitution [1] and it and the governorship were the only popularly-elected statewide positions at the time, [2] with both serving two-year terms. [3] The first lieutenant governor was Duncan Stewart, who took office on October 7, 1817. [4] The role was eliminated in the 1832 constitution [5] and replaced with a President of the Senate chosen by the body's own members. [6] It was reintroduced in the 1869 constitution and absorbed the responsibilities of presiding over the Senate, [5] [7] with the holder serving a term of four years. [8] During the Reconstruction era in the early 1870s, Alexander Kelso Davis, served as one of the first black lieutenant governors in the country. [9] Evelyn Gandy, who served as lieutenant governor from 1976 to 1980, was the first woman to hold the office in the state and in the Southern United States. [10] [11] Brad Dye, who held the office over three terms from 1980 to 1992, was the state's longest-serving lieutenant governor. [12] Unlike previous holders of the office, he used his appointment power in the Mississippi Senate to strategically place his allies on committees to advance his own political goals. [13]

In January 1986, two state senators sued the lieutenant governor, challenging the legality of his legislative prerogatives on the grounds that they violated the separation of powers language in the state constitution. The case escalated to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which ruled in 1987 that the Senate could award significant legislative powers to the official at its wish. [14] One justice dissented, arguing that the ruling made the lieutenant governor "a powerful legislative creature, a super-senator, vested with sufficient legislative authority to virtually dominate the entire Senate." [15] Following a reduction in the powers of the speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives that year, a group of senators unsuccessfully attempted to strip the lieutenant governor of their power to appoint committees and refer bills to them. [16] In 1992 the constitution was amended to limit the office holder to serving two consecutive terms. [17] Following the assumption of office of Republican Phil Bryant in 2007, several Democrats in the Senate considered restricting his position's powers, but ultimately did not follow through on their proposals. [18] The incumbent lieutenant governor, Delbert Hosemann, was sworn-in to the office on January 9, 2020. [19]


Like the seats in the Mississippi State Legislature and the other seven statewide-elected offices, the Mississippi lieutenant governor is popularly elected every four years in the November preceding a United States presidential election year. [20] The lieutenant governor is elected independently of the governor [21] and candidates' qualifications for the former office are the same as for the latter. [22] They serve a four-year term [23] and are limited to serving two consecutive terms in office, with no limits on nonconsecutive terms. [22]

Powers, duties, and structure

The lieutenant governor keeps an office in the Mississippi State Capitol.

Political scientists often describe Mississippi's lieutenant governor as one of the most powerful such officers in the country. [21] The lieutenant governor is the only official in Mississippi to be a member of two branches of state government, legislative and executive; [17] [15] the Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled this state of affairs an exception to Mississippi's general separation of powers doctrine. [24] They are constitutionally ex officio President of the Senate, while the Senate empowers the lieutenant governor through its rules to determine the composition of its committees and refer bills to them. [25] [18] Historically, the lieutenant governor has determined the composition of all Senate committees except the Rules Committee, [26] of which they are a member. [27] As the Mississippi Senate has no seniority system, lieutenant governors are relatively unrestricted in appointing committees that suit their personal policy preferences. [21] As a result of their powers over committee composition and bill referrals, the official can wield wide authority over the progress of legislation in the Senate; [15] historically, lieutenant governors have enjoyed the ability to pass most bills they favor through the Senate and block most they dislike. [28]

The constitution empowers the lieutenant governor to participate in legislative debates and to cast tie-breaking votes both in the Senate and in joint resolutions of both houses of the State Legislature. [29] [30] As presiding officer in the Senate, they rule on points of order, sign all passed bills, [31] and are entitled to serve on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. [17] They are also empowered to appoint two of the members of the Mississippi Board of Education. [32] In the event the incumbent governor of Mississippi dies, is incapacitated, or leaves the state, the lieutenant governor assumes their responsibilities as acting governor. [22] [27] In the event the lieutenant governor is unavailable in the State Senate, the body's president pro tempore assumes their responsibilities there. [33]

The lieutenant governor is constitutionally required to collect the same compensation as the speaker of the House. [29] Their salary is $60,000 per year, but is set to increase to $85,000 annually in 2024. [34] If serving as acting governor, the lieutenant governor collects the same pay as the governor. [35] They maintain an office on the third floor of the Mississippi State Capitol. [36]

Lieutenant Governors and Presidents of the Senate


   No party    Democratic    Republican

Lieutenant governors (1817–1832)

Image Lt. Governor Term Party Source
Duncan Stewart 1817–1820 [37]
James Patton 1820–1822 [37]
David Dickson 1822–1824 [37]
Gerard Chittocque Brandon.jpg Gerard C. Brandon 1824–1826* [37]
Abram M. Scott (Mississippi Governor).jpg Abram M. Scott 1828–1832 Democrat [37]
Fountain Winston 1832–1832 [37]

Presidents of the Senate (1833–1869)

Image Senate President Term Party Source
Charles Lynch - Gouverneur von Mississippi.jpg Charles Lynch 1833–1834 Democrat [37]
P. Briscoe 1834–1836 [37]
W. Van Norman 1836–1837 [37]
Alexander G. McNutt.jpg Alexander G. McNutt 1837–1838 Democrat [37]
Adam Lewis Bingaman.jpg A. L. Bingaman 1838–1840 [37]
G. B. Augustus 1840–1842 [37]
JSpeight2.jpg Jesse Speight 1842–1843 [37]
A. Fox 1843–1844 [37]
JSpeight2.jpg Jesse Speight 1844–1846 [37]
G. T. Swan 1846–1848 [38]
Dabney Lipscomb 1848–1850 [38]
John Isaac Guion (Mississippi Governor).jpg John Isaac Guion 1850-1851 Democrat [38]
James whitfield Gov.jpg James Whitfield 1852–1854 Democrat [38]
John J. Pettus.jpg John J. Pettus 1854–1858 Democrat [38]
James Drane 1858–1865 [38]
John M. Simonton 1865–1869 [38]

Lieutenant governors (1870–present)

Image Lt. Governor Term Governor(s) served under Party Source
Ridgley Ceylon Powers.jpg Ridgley C. Powers 1870–1871 James L. Alcorn Republican [38]
Alexander Kelso Davis.png Alexander K. Davis 1871–1876 Ridgley C. Powers
Adelbert Ames
Republican [38]
John M. Stone.jpg John M. Stone 1876 Adelbert Ames Democrat [38]
William Sims.jpg William H. Sims 1878–1882 John M. Stone Democrat [38]
G D Shands.jpg G. D. Shands 1882–1890 Robert Lowry Democrat [38]
Marion M Evans.jpg M. M. Evans 1890–1896 John M. Stone Democrat [38]
James Henry Jones.jpg J. H. Jones 1896–1900 Anselm J. McLaurin Democrat [38]
James T Harrison.jpg James T. Harrison 1900–1904 Andrew H. Longino Democrat [38]
J P Carter.jpg John Prentiss Carter 1904–1908 James K. Vardaman Democrat [38]
Luther Manship.png Luther Manship 1908–1912 Edmond Noel Democrat [38]
Theodore Bilbo (cropped).jpg Theodore G. Bilbo 1912–1916 Earl L. Brewer Democrat [38]
Lee M. Russell (Mississippi Governor).jpg Lee Maurice Russell 1916–1920 Theodore G. Bilbo Democrat [38]
Homer Casteel.jpg Homer Casteel 1920–1924 Lee M. Russell Democrat [38]
Dennis Herron Murphree in 1927.jpg Dennis Murphree 1924–1927 Henry L. Whitfield Democrat [38]
Bidwell Adam.jpg Bidwell Adam 1928–1932 Theodore G. Bilbo Democrat [38]
Dennis Herron Murphree in 1927.jpg Dennis Murphree 1932–1936 Martin Sennet Conner Democrat [38]
J B Snider.jpg Jacob Buehler Snider 1936–1940 Hugh L. White Democrat [38]
Dennis Herron Murphree in 1927.jpg Dennis Murphree 1940–1943 Paul B. Johnson Sr. Democrat [38]
Fielding L. Wright.jpg Fielding L. Wright 1944–1946 Thomas L. Bailey Democrat [38]
Sam Lumpkin.jpg Sam Lumpkin 1948–1952 Fielding L. Wright Democrat [38]
Carroll Gartin.jpg Carroll Gartin 1952–1960 Hugh L. White
James P. Coleman
Democrat [38]
Paul B. Johnson Jr.jpg Paul B. Johnson, Jr. 1960–1964 Ross Barnett Democrat [38]
Carroll Gartin.jpg Carroll Gartin 1964–1966 Paul B. Johnson Jr. Democrat [38]
Charles L. Sullivan.png Charles L. Sullivan 1968–1972 John Bell Williams Democrat [38]
William F. Winter.jpg William F. Winter 1972–1976 Bill Waller Democrat [38]
Evelyn Gandy-reg.jpg Evelyn Gandy 1976–1980 Cliff Finch Democrat [38]
Lt Gov Brad Dye 1988.jpg Brad Dye 1980–1992 William Winter
William Allain
Ray Mabus
Democrat [38]
Sen Eddie Briggs 1988.jpg Eddie Briggs 1992–1996 Kirk Fordice Republican [38]
David Ronald Musgrove.jpg Ronnie Musgrove 1996–2000
AmyTuck.jpg Amy Tuck [a] 2000–2002 Ronnie Musgrove Democrat [38]
2002–2008 Ronnie Musgrove (Democratic)

Haley Barbour (Republican)

Republican [38]
Secretary Perry with Govt Phil Bryant KSS2455 (32743097363) (cropped 2).jpg Phil Bryant 2008–2012 Haley Barbour Republican [38]
Tate Reeves 2019.jpg Tate Reeves 2012–2020 Phil Bryant Republican [38]
Delbert Hosemann in Kuwait (cropped).jpg Delbert Hosemann 2020–present Tate Reeves Republican [38]


  1. ^ Tuck left the Democratic Party in December 2002 and joined the Republican Party. [39]


  1. ^ Winkle 2014, pp. 9, 94.
  2. ^ Krane & Shaffer 1992, p. 44.
  3. ^ Rowland 1904, p. 23.
  4. ^ Rowland 1904, pp. 124, 138.
  5. ^ a b Winkle 2014, pp. 9, 11.
  6. ^ Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2021, pp. 549, 553.
  7. ^ Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2021, pp. 550, 553.
  8. ^ Rowland 1904, p. 31.
  9. ^ Baldwin, DeeDee (July 2022). "The First Black Legislators in Mississippi". Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  10. ^ Bass 1995, p. 214.
  11. ^ Swain, Martha H. (July 11, 2017). "Evelyn Gandy". Mississippi Encyclopedia. Mississippi Humanities Council. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  12. ^ Harrison, Bobby (July 5, 2018). "Brad Dye did not view office of lieutenant governor as stepping stone". Mississippi Today. Nonprofit Mississippi News. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  13. ^ Krane & Shaffer 1992, p. 120.
  14. ^ Brennan, Tom (April 30, 1987). "Supreme Court reaffirms Dye's powers". The Clarion-Ledger. pp. 1A, 12A.
  15. ^ a b c Ganucheau, Adam (October 30, 2019). "Hosemann and Hughes seek most powerful office in Mississippi – lieutenant governor". Mississippi Today. Nonprofit Mississippi Today. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  16. ^ Krane & Shaffer 1992, pp. 120, 328.
  17. ^ a b c Winkle 2014, p. 94.
  18. ^ a b Harrison, Bobby (April 7, 2019). "Lieutenant governor's power derives from senators; lawmaker says chamber must take back its authority". Mississippi Today. Nonprofit Mississippi News. Retrieved March 13, 2023.
  19. ^ Pettus, Emily Wagster (January 10, 2020). "7 of 8 statewide officials inaugurated". The Greenwood Commonwealth. Associated Press. pp. 1, 12.
  20. ^ Bullock & Rozell 2010, p. 104.
  21. ^ a b c Wilson, Brian (July 11, 2017). "Offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor". Mississippi Encyclopedia. Center for Study of Southern Culture. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  22. ^ a b c Winkle 2014, pp. 93–94.
  23. ^ Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2017, p. 80.
  24. ^ Winkle 2014, p. 29.
  25. ^ Winkle 2014, pp. 29, 93–94.
  26. ^ Krane & Shaffer 1992, p. 119.
  27. ^ a b Clark, Eric (December 2007). "The Government of Mississippi: How it Functions". Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  28. ^ Nash & Taggart 2009, p. 132.
  29. ^ a b Winkle 2014, p. 93.
  30. ^ Mississippi Office of Lt. Governor Statutory Duties (PDF), National Lieutenant Governors Association, September 13, 2016
  31. ^ Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2017, pp. 79–80.
  32. ^ Winkle 2014, pp. 126–127.
  33. ^ Winkle 2014, p. 61.
  34. ^ Pender, Geoff (April 7, 2022). "Amid vetoes, Gov. Reeves lets pay raises for elected officials pass". Mississippi Today. Nonprofit Mississippi News. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  35. ^ Winkle 2014, pp. 94–95.
  36. ^ Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2017, p. 742.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2021, p. 549.
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an Mississippi Official and Statistical Register 2021, p. 550.
  39. ^ Goodman, Julie (December 3, 2002). "Tuck switched embraced by GOP". The Clarion-Ledger. pp. 1A, 4A.

Works cited

External links