List of Impeached Governors in the United States

Eight U.S. Governors Have Been Impeached, Convicted and Force Out

More than a dozen governors have been impeached in U.S. history. But impeachment is only the first step in the removal of a sitting governor, equivalent to the filing of charges. The next step in the impeachment process is a trial.

Of the 13 governors hit with charges through the impeach process, only eight were actually convicted of high crimes and removed from office. 

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Here's a list of those impeached, convicted and removed, beginning with the most recent, Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Illinois state House of Representatives voted impeached Blagojevich, a Democrat, in January 2009. The Senate voted unanimously to convict in January 2009. The governor was also indicted on federal charges of abusing his authority.

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Among the most scandalous charges against Blagojevich were for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after his 2008 election as president.

 

Gov. Evan Mecham of Arizona

The Arizona state House and Senate impeached Mecham, a Republican, in 1988 after a state grand jury convicted him on six felony charges of fraud, perjury and filing false documents. He served 15 months as governor.

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Among the charges was falsifying campaign finance reports to conceal a loan to his campaign of $350,000.

Gov. Henry S. Johnston of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma legislature impeached but did not convict Johnston, a Democrat, in 1928. He was impeached again in 1929 and convicted of one charge, general incompetency.

Gov. John C. Walton of Oklahoma

The Oklahoma House of Representatives charged Walton, a Democrat, with 22 counts, which included misappropriating public funds. Eleven of the 22 were sustained.

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When an Oklahoma City grand jury prepared to investigate the governor’s office, Walton put the entire state under martial law on September 15, 1923, with “absolute martial law” applicable to the capital.

Gov. James E. Ferguson of Texas

"Farmer Jim" Ferguson had been elected to a second term as governor in 1916, with support of prohibitionists. In his second term, he "became embroiled" in a dispute with the University of Texas.

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In 1917 a Travis County grand jury indicted him on nine charges; one charge was embezzlement. The Texas Senate, acting as a court of impeachment, convicted Ferguson on 10 charges.

Although Ferguson resigned before being convicted, "the court of impeachment's judgment was sustained, preventing Ferguson from holding public office in Texas."

Gov. William Sulzer of New York

The New York State Senate convicted Sulzer, a Democrat, of three charges of misappropriation of funds during the "Tammany Hall" era of New York politics.

Tammany politicians, in the legislative majority, led the charge of diverting campaign contributions. Nevertheless, he was elected to the New York State Assembly a few weeks later and later declined the American Party's nomination for President of the United States.

Gov. David Butler of Nebraska

Butler, a Republican, was the first governor of Nebraska. He was removed on 11 counts of misappropriating funds that were targeted for education. He was found guilty of one count. In 1882, he was elected to the state Senate after the record of his impeachment was expunged.

Gov. William W. Holden of North Carolina

Holden, "the most controversial state figure during Reconstruction," was "instrumental in organizing the Republican party in the state."

Frederick W. Strudwick, a former Klan leader, introduced the resolution calling for Holden's impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors in 1890; the House approved eight articles of impeachment. After a partisan trial, the North Carolina Senate found him guilty on six charges.

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Gill, Kathy. "List of Impeached Governors in the United States." ThoughtCo, Mar. 26, 2016, thoughtco.com/impeached-governors-in-the-united-states-3367883. Gill, Kathy. (2016, March 26). List of Impeached Governors in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/impeached-governors-in-the-united-states-3367883 Gill, Kathy. "List of Impeached Governors in the United States." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/impeached-governors-in-the-united-states-3367883 (accessed November 18, 2017).