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How do I Become a Lieutenant Governor?

By Ken Black
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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The process to become a lieutenant governor differs based on the state in which you seek election. Therefore, you must understand that process based on the state in which you wish to serve. In most cases, you will have to at least go through some type of an election in order to become a lieutenant governor, but that election may not necessarily be a statewide election in all states. Thus, in some states it may be slightly easier to become a lieutenant governor than in others.

No matter which state it is that you are seeking office, the state will have some minimum requirements for the office. This will likely include a residency requirement and a minimum age requirement. Some states may require a candidate to have lived in the state for a certain period of time prior to the election.

In the United States, 26 of the states have the lieutenant governor running on the same ticket as the governor. Therefore, the nominee of a major party often must pick a lieutenant governor candidate to run as his or her "running mate." This person often becomes a valuable part of the campaign, standing in as a surrogate when the main candidate is campaigning elsewhere and appearing at important fundraisers. The only real requirement for the lieutenant governor in most cases is simply having the qualifications to serve as governor, should the need arise.

In 18 states, you can become a lieutenant governor by winning a separate election. In these cases, it is possible to have a split executive government, with candidates from two different political parties, in charge of the offices. In order to become a lieutenant governor under this scenario, you will likely need to present petitions asking for your name to be placed on the ballot. The number of signatures needed varies by state, but it is often a percentage of those who voted in the last general, or gubernatorial, election.

Some states have other elected officials serve as the role of lieutenant governor. For example, the lieutenant governor may also be the leader of the Senate in that state's Legislature. This is the case in West Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, New Jersey and New Hampshire. In such cases, you may simply need to be elected in one district of the state, and have your colleagues appoint you to a position of leadership in the Senate.

There are three states that do not have a position of lieutenant governor at all. These are Oregon, Wyoming and Arizona. Obviously, if you want to become a lieutenant governor and you live in one of these states, a move would be in order.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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