History of Women Governors

(30D, 19R)

women have served as governor in 32 states. In addition, two women have served as governor in Puerto Rico and one currently serves as governor in Guam. 

Arizona is the first state where a woman succeeded another woman as governor, and the first state to have had five women governors.

Of the 49 women governors, 34 were first elected in their own right; 3 replaced their husbands, and 11 became governor by constitutional succession, seven of whom subsequently won full terms.

The record number of women serving simultaneously, achieved in 2023, is 12.

Name Party Year(s) Served State Notes
Kathleen B. Blanco D 2004-2007 Louisiana
Jan Brewer R 2009-2014 Arizona
Kate Brown D 2015-2022 Oregon Brown was appointed in 2015.
Sila Calderon 2001-2004 Puerto Rico Former mayor of San Juan, first woman governor of Puerto Rico.
Martha Layne Collins D 1984-1987 Kentucky
Mary Fallin R 2011-2018 Oklahoma
Miriam Ferguson D 1925-1927 Texas Ferguson was elected twice as a surrogate for her husband who could not run for re-election. She was seated fifteen days after Nellie Tayloe Ross (D-WY) who was the first woman to be sworn in as a governor.
Miriam Ferguson D 1933-1934 Texas
Joan Finney D 1991-1994 Kansas Finney was the first woman to defeat an incumbent governor.
Jennifer Granholm D 2003-2010 Michigan
Ella T. Grasso D 1975-1980 Connecticut Grasso was the first woman governor to be elected in her own right.
Christine O. Gregoire D 2005-2012 Washington
Nikki R. Haley R 2011-2017 South Carolina
Maggie Hassan D 2013-2016 New Hampshire
Maura Healey D 2023-present Massachusetts
Katie Hobbs D 2023-present Arizona
Kathy C. Hochul D 2021-present New York
Nancy P. Hollister R 1998-1999 Ohio Hollister served as governor for 11 days when her predecessor took U.S. Senate seat and the successor had not yet been sworn in.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders R 2023-present Arkansas
Jane Dee Hull R 1997-2002 Arizona
Kay E. Ivey R 2017-present Alabama Ivey succeeded a govenor who resigned and took office on 4/10/17.
Laura J. Kelly D 2019-present Kansas
Tina Kotek D 2023-present Oregon
Madeleine M. Kunin D 1985-1990 Vermont Kunin was the first woman to have been elected to serve three terms as governor.
Lou A. Leon Guerrero D 2019-present Guam
Linda Crocket Lingle R 2003-2010 Hawaii
Michelle Lujan Grisham D 2019-present New Mexico
Susana Martinez R 2011-2018 New Mexico
Judy Martz R 2001-2004 Montana
Janet T. Mills D 2019-present Maine
Ruth Ann Minner D 2001-2008 Delaware
Rose Mofford D 1988-1991 Arizona
Janet Napolitano D 2003-2008 Arizona
Kristi Noem R 2019-present South Dakota
Kay A. Orr R 1987-1990 Nebraska Orr was the first Republican woman to be elected governor in any state and the first woman to run against another woman for a gubernatorial post.
Sarah H. Palin R 2007-2009 Alaska
Beverly M. Perdue D 2009-2012 North Carolina
Gina M. Raimondo D 2015-2021 Rhode Island
Dixy Lee Ray D 1977-1980 Washington
M. Jodi Rell R 2004-2010 Connecticut Rell became governor when her predecessor resigned; she was elected to a full term in 2006.
Kimberly Reynolds R 2017-present Iowa Reynolds was appointed to fill a vacancy.
Ann Richards D 1991-1994 Texas
Barbara Roberts D 1991-1994 Oregon
Nellie Tayloe Ross D 1925-1926 Wyoming Ross won a special election to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband. Inaugurated fifteen days before Miriam Ferguson (D-TX), Ross was the first woman sworn in as a governor.
Vesta Roy R 1982-1983 New Hampshire Roy was a state senator and had been chosen as senate president; she served as governor after the incumbent died until a new governor was sworn in.
Kathleen Sebelius D 2003-2009 Kansas
Jeanne Shaheen D 1997-2002 New Hampshire
Jane Maria Swift R 2001-2002 Massachusetts Swift was appointed in 2001.
Wanda Vazquez Garced 2019-2020 Puerto Rico Former Secretary of Justice, succeeded governor who resigned.
Olene S. Walker R 2003-2004 Utah Walker was appointed in 2003.
Lurleen Wallace D 1967-1968 Alabama Wallace was elected as a surrogate for her husband who could not run for re-election; she later died while serving in office.
Christine Todd Whitman R 1994-2001 New Jersey
Gretchen E. Whitmer D 2019-present Michigan