Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Governors

William King, Maine's first governor

William King, Maine’s first governor

Governor (1821) William D. Williamson

Governor (1821) William D. Williamson

Governor Hannibal Hamlin (1857), during the Civil War, Matthew Brady Studio, from the National Archives collections

Governor Hannibal Hamlin (1857), during the Civil War, Matthew Brady Studio, from the National Archives collections

Governor (1867) Joshua L. Chamberlain

Governor (1867) Joshua L. Chamberlain

Governor (1917) Carl E. Milliken

Governor (1917) Carl E. Milliken

Governor (1921) Percival Baxter and his dog Gary

Governor (1921) Percival Baxter and his dog Gary

Governor (1933) Louis J. Brann

Governor (1933) Louis J. Brann

Governor (1955) Edmund S. Muskie

Governor (1955) Edmund S. Muskie

initially were elected for one year terms, then two year terms beginning in 1880, and finally in 1962 four year terms were adopted. From 1820 through 1853, fifteen of the eighteen governors were Democratic-Republicans or Democrats. (See election results and election procedures.)

William King, a wealthy business owner and politician, was the leading force behind Maine’s separation from Massachusetts. He became the state’s first governor in 1820.
After a transition (1853-1857) when a Whig, a Republican and a Democrat succeeded each other, Republicans began a long dynasty with the election of Hannibal Hamlin. All ten governors between 1857 and 1879 were Republicans; thirty-one of the thirty-six governors from 1857 through 1955 belonged to the GOP.

Edmund S. Muskie, a Democrat, broke the Republican lock on the office in the election of 1954 and initiated a half-century competitive period in which the two parties have had relatively equal terms as governor, shared with “independent” candidates of no political party.

In the 1998 election, both Democrats and Republicans got the lowest percent of the vote since 1886! Angus King, the independent, received nearly 59 percent of the popular vote. In modern times Maine has elected only two “independent” governors, James B. Longley in 1974 and Angus King in 1998. In 2010, Eliot Cutler came close to being the third, but lost to Paul LePage by a small margin.

Read a selection of governors’ inaugural addresses.

Governors Years of Service

In the following list of governors, political party affiliation is designated as follows:

[DR] Democratic-Republican; [NR] National Republican; [W] Whig; [KN] Know Nothing; [F] Fusion; [D] Democrat; [R] Republican; [I] Independent (no party affiliation).

1820-1821 William King, Bath [DR] (resigned)
1821-1821 William D. Williamson, Bangor [DR] (acting, resigned)
1821-1822 Benjamin Ames, Bath [DR] (acting)
1822-1822 Daniel Rose, Thomaston [DR] (acting)
1822-1827 Albion K. Parris, Portland [DR]
1827-1829 Enoch Lincoln, Paris [DR] (died in office)
1829-1830 Nathan Cutler, Farmington [DR] (acting)
1830-1830 Joshua Hall, Frankfort [NR] (acting)
1830-1831 Jonathan G. Hunton, Readfield [NR]
1831-1834 Samuel E. Smith, Wiscasset
1834-1838 Robert P. Dunlap, Brunswick [DR]
1838-1839 Edward Kent, Bangor [W]
1839-1841 John Fairfield, Saco [D] (resign, elected to U.S. Senate)
1841-1841 Richard H. Vose, Augusta (acting)
1841-1842 Edward Kent, Bangor [W]
1842-1843 John Fairfield, Saco [D] (resigned, elected to U.S. Senate)
1843-1844 Edward Kavanaugh, Newcastle [D]
1844-1844 David Dunn, Poland [D]
1844-1844 John W. Dana, Fryeburg [D]
1844-1847 Hugh J. Anderson, Belfast [D]
1847-1850 John W. Dana, Fryeburg [D]
1850-1853 John Hubbard, Hallowell [D]
1853-1855 William G. Crosby, Belfast [W]
1855-1856 Anson P. Morrill, Readfield [R]
1856-1857 Samuel Wells, Portland [D]
1857-1857 Hannibal Hamlin, Hampden (resigned, elected to U.S. Senate) [R]
1857-1858 Joseph H. Williams, Augusta (acting) [R]
1858-1861 Lot M. Morrill, Augusta [R]
1861-1863 Israel Washburn, Jr., Orono [R]
1863-1864 Abner Coburn, Skowhegan [R]
1864-1867 Samuel Cony, Augusta [R]
1867-1871 Joshua L. Chamberlain, Brunswick [R]
1871-1874 Sidney Perham, Paris [R]
1874-1876 Nelson Dingley, Jr., Lewiston [R]
1876-1879 Selden Connor, Augusta [R]
1879-1880 Alonzo Garcelon, Lewiston [D]
1880-1881 Daniel F. Davis, Corinth [R]
1881-1883 Harris M. Plaisted, Bangor [F]
1883-1887 Frederick Robie, Gorham [R]
1887-1887 Joseph R. Bodwell, Hallowell (died in office) [R]
1887-1889 Sebastian S. Marble, Waldoboro (acting) [R]
1889-1893 Edwin C. Burleigh, Bangor [R]
1893-1897 Henry B. Cleaves, Portland [R]
1897-1901 Llewellyn Powers, Houlton [R]
1901-1905 John Fremont Hill, Augusta [R]
1905-1909 William T. Cobb, Rockland [R]
1909-1911 Bert M. Fernald, Poland [R]
1911-1913 Frederick W. Plaisted, Augusta [D]
1913-1915 William T. Haines, Waterville [R]
1915-1917 Oakley C. Curtis, Portland [D
1917-1921 Carl E. Milliken, Island Falls [R]
1921-1921 Frederick H. Parkhurst, Bangor (died in office) [R]
1921-1925 Percival P. Baxter, Portland [R]
1925-1929 Ralph Owen Brewster, Portland [R]
1929-1933 William Tudor Gardiner, Gardiner [R]
1933-1937 Louis J. Brann, Lewiston [D]
1937-1941 Lewis O. Barrows, Newport [R]
1941-1945 Sumner Sewall, Bath [R]
1945-1949 Horace A. Hildreth, Cumberland [R]
1949-1952 Frederick G. Payne, Waldoboro (resigned, elected to U.S. Senate) [R]
1952-1953 Burton M. Cross, Augusta (acting) [R]
1953-1955 Burton M. Cross, Augusta [R]
1955-1959 Edmund S. Muskie, Waterville [D]
1959-1959 Robert N. Haskell, Bangor (acting) [R]
1959-1959 Clinton A. Clauson, Waterville (died in office) [D]
1959-1967 John H. Reed, Fort Fairfield [R]
1967-1975 Kenneth M. Curtis, Manchester [D]
1975-1979 James B. Longley, Lewiston [I]
1979-1987 Joseph E. Brennan, Portland [D]
1987-1995 John R. McKernan, Jr., Portland, [R]
1995-2003 Angus S. King, Jr., Brunswick [I]
2003-2011 John E. Baldacci, Bangor
2011-          Paul R. LePage, Waterville






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