How Much the Governor Gets Paid in Every State

Candidates battling for each state's top job must be chasing the big bucks, right? Not necessarily, especially compared with what he or she could make as a CEO.

U.S. map with flags marking state capitals.koya979 / Shutterstock.com

Governor: The boss of your state. The big shot. The guy or gal in charge. He or she must be pulling in the big bucks, right?

Yes. And no.

Even the lowest-paid United States governor earns more than the current U.S. median income of just over $59,000. But given that the governor of a state is its chief executive officer, he or she could make a lot more as a private-sector CEO. (Think: seven or eight figures instead of five to six).

Some of the nonsalary benefits are pretty sweet, though. For example, 44 states provide a residence for their top dog, and 46 states subsidize their governors’ travel.

You get bodyguards or state police protection. And you wield a lot of power, including the authority to issue executive orders and, in states that have the death penalty, the option of declaring a stay of execution.

Where does your state’s highest-ranking official rank on the pay scale? Read on and find out, starting with the lowest-paid:

Maine: $70,000

Maine governor's mansionjiawangkun / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Paul LePage

Age: 70

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population (U.S. Census Bureau estimate for 2016): 1,331,479

LePage comes from hardscrabble stock: One of 18 children, he ran away at 11 and supported himself for two years as a shoeshine boy. In 2016, his wife, Ann, took a summer waitressing job to save up for a new car.

Nov. 2018 election: LePage is on his way out after this term. In the Nov. 6 election, Maine voters are choosing between Republican candidate Shawn Moody, a business executive, and Democrat Janet Mills, the state’s attorney general. Polls show Mills as the frontrunner, according to the Press Herald.

Colorado: $90,000

stock_photo_world / Shutterstock.com

Governor: John Hickenlooper

Age: 66

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2010

State population: 5,540,545

The Colorado governor knows the value of a dollar. He says he approaches state budgeting with the frugal lessons learned from his mother, who lost her husband when John was young. She made all of her own clothes, and washed and reused plastic wrap, aluminum foil and waxed paper.

Nov. 2018 election: Hickenlooper is on his way out as governor in 2019 — and some reports indicate he may be exploring a presidential run. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate U.S. Rep. Jarid Polis is facing off with Republican Walker Stapleton, who is state treasurer.

Arizona: $95,000

Anton Foltin / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Doug Ducey

Age: 54

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 6,931,071

Nov. 2018 election: Ducey is running for re-election and, as of early October, he held a commanding lead over Democratic challenger David Garcia.

Oregon: $98,600

Diego G Diaz / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Kate Brown

Age: 58

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2016

State population: 4,093,465

The former Oregon secretary of state, Brown won a special election after former Gov. John Kitzhaber was forced to resign due to an ethics scandal. She is one of only a few state governors not born in the United States — she was born in Spain when her father was serving in the Air Force. She is also the first openly bisexual U.S. governor (married to a man).

Nov. 2018 election: Brown is in a tight race for re-election, facing off with Republican Knute Buehler, an Oregon state representative and physician.

Kansas: $99,636

Kansas flagJiri Flogel / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Jeff Colyer (The former lieutenant governor replaced Sam Brownback as governor in January 2018 when Brownback resigned to take an ambassadorship in the Trump administration).

Age: 58

Party: Republican

Served since: Jan. 2018

State population: 2,907,289

Nov. 2018 election: Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem is vying with Democrat Billie Sutton for the governor’s mansion in Kansas City.

Nebraska: $105,000

Lincoln, Nebraska capitol building19885732 / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Pete Ricketts

Age: 54

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 1,907,116

Ricketts reports his net worth at between $45 million and $50 million. He is the son of the founder of TD Ameritrade, and the Ricketts family trust owns a majority of the Chicago Cubs; Ricketts himself is on the team’s board of directors.

Nov. 2018 election: The incumbent governor is campaigning to keep his seat, facing Democrat Bob Krist, a state senator.

Wyoming: $105,000

Oscar C. Williams / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Matt Mead

Age: 56

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 585,501

Nov. 2018 election: As Mead prepares to leave office in 2019 due to term limits, Republican candidate Mark Gordon is running against Democratic candidate Mary Throne.

South Carolina: $106,078

Columbia, South CarolinaSean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Henry McMaster

Age: 71

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 4,961,119

Former Lt. Gov. McMaster was sworn in on Jan. 24, right after former Gov. Nikki Haley was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Nov. 2018 election: McMaster is running for re-election against Democratic challenger state Rep. James Smith.

Montana: $108,167

tongcom photographer / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Steve Bullock

Age: 52

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2013

State population: 1,042,520

Montana’s last election for governor was in 2016, and the next will be in 2020.

Utah: $109,470

Governor's mansion in Salt Lake City, UtahRitu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Gary Herbert

Age: 71

Party: Republican

Served since: 2009

State population: 3,051,217

Former Lt. Gov. Herbert became governor in 2009 after former Gov. John Huntsman’s appointment by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China. Herbert was elected to serve remainder of that term in a 2010 special election. He was re-elected in 2012 and again in 2016.

The next election for governor in Utah will be held in November 2020.

New Mexico: $110,000

a katz / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Susana Martinez

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 2,081,015

Martinez is New Mexico’s first female governor, and she is the first female Hispanic governor in the United States. A former Democrat, she switched parties in 1995.

Nov. 2018 election: U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is facing off with Republican candidate U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce to succeed Martinez.

New Hampshire: $110,834

New Hampshire governmentJeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Chris Sununu

Age: 43

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 1,334,795

Nov. 2018 election: In the upcoming election, incumbent Sununu is running against Democratic candidate Molly Kelly and Libertarian candidate Jilletta Jarvis.

Indiana: $111,688

Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Eric Holcomb

Age: 50

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 6,633,053

Holcomb won the 2016 election after Gov. Mike Pence’s departure to join the Republican ticket for the White House.

The next gubernatorial election in Indiana is in 2020.

South Dakota: $112,214

South Dakota capitol building in Pierre.Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Dennis Daugaard

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 865,454

The first child of deaf parents to be elected as a U.S. governor, he grew up using American Sign Language as the family’s primary language at home. Daugaard was raised on a family farm, and his early education took place in a one-room rural school.

Nov. 2018 election: In the race to succeed Daugaard as governor of South Dakota, recent polling shows Republican candidate Kristi Noem and Democratic candidate Billie Sutton in a dead heat.

Alabama: $119,950

Statue of Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama.JNix / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Kay Ivey

Age: 74

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 4,863,300

After serving as the first female lieutenant governor in Alabama history, Ivey became governor in April 2017 when Gov. Robert J. Bentley resigned after a sex scandal brought him to the verge of impeachment.

Nov. 2018 election: Ivey is running for a full term as governor in a race against Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, a Democrat. According to RealClearPolitics, polls show Ivey is a “solid favorite.”

Mississippi: $122,160

Jackson, Miss. capitol building.Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Phil Bryant

Age: 63

Party: Republican

Served since: 2012

State population: 2,988,726

The next gubernatorial election in the state is slated for Nov. 5, 2019. Bryant will not be eligible to run because of term limits.

Minnesota: $123,427

miker / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Mark Dayton

Age: 70

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2011

State population: 5,519,952

Nov. 2018 election: Dayton is not pursuing re-election. Four candidates are in the race for his seat — Democratic candidate Tim Walz, Republican Jeff Johnson, Libertarian candidate Josh Welter and Chris Wright of the Grassroots Party.

Idaho: $124,436

stockmorrison / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Butch Otter

Age: 75

Party: Republican

Served since: 2007

State population: 1,683,140

Nov. 2018 election: Republican Brad Little is facing off with Democratic candidate Paulette Jordan to succeed Otter.

North Dakota: $129,096

Malgorzata Litkowska / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Doug Burgum

Age: 62

Party: Republican

Served since: 2016

State population: 757,952

A former Microsoft executive, Burgum is a native of Arthur, N.D. During his campaign he vowed to give his salary back to the citizens; his first step was in May 2017, when he donated more than $50,000 to addiction recovery services in the state. (His wife, Kathryn, is open about having been in recovery herself for 15 years.)

The state’s next gubernatorial election is in November 2020.

Iowa: $130,000

Rich Koele / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Kim Reynolds

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 3,134,693

The former lieutenant governor succeeded Gov. Terry Branstad, who resigned to become the U.S. ambassador to China. She is the first woman to hold the office.

Nov. 2018 election: Reynolds is running for a full term against Democratic candidate Fred Hubbell. In recent polls, Hubbell held a modest lead.

Louisiana: $130,000

Baton Rouge, with capitol in foreground.Judy M Darby / Shutterstock.com

Governor: John Bel Edwards

Age: 52

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2016

State population: 4,681,666

Nov. 2018 election: The next election for Louisiana governor is in 2019. Bel Edwards has declared his intention to run for re-election.

Florida: $130,273*

Susanne Pommer / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Rick Scott

Age: 65

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 20,612,439

*Scott, a former businessman whose net worth has been estimated in the millions, does not accept a salary.

Nov. 2018 election: Scott has run up against term limits and cannot run for re-election. Democrat Andrew Gillum is running against Republican Ron DeSantis for the office. In a race that the Washington Post has described as “ugly and unpredictable,” Gillum has a lead in most polls.

Rhode Island: $132,710*

Jim Schubert / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Gina Raimondo

Age: 47

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2015

State population: 1,055,607

*Raimondo is eligible for a salary of $139,695. However, after taking office she gave herself a 5 percent pay cut.

Nov. 2018 election: Raimondo is running for re-election, in competition with Republican candidate Allan Fung and four other candidates.

Missouri: $133,821

Missouri Gov. Mike ParsonPhilipR / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Mike Parson

Age: 63

Party: Republican

Served since: June 2018

State population: 6,093,000

Parson, who was serving as lieutenant governor, became governor this year after Eric Greitens stepped down amid a sex and blackmail scandal. Parson is a more conventional politician than his predecessor, a former Navy SEAL and one-time Rhodes Scholar who came in as a “combative political outsider,” according to Governing.

The next election for governor in Missouri is in 2020.

Georgia: $139,339

zakalinka / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Nathan Deal

Age: 76

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 10,310,371

Nov. 2018 election: Deal is term-limited and will not be seeking re-election. Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams are vying to replace him.

Kentucky: $139,056

Patrick Delahanty / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Matt Bevin

Age: 51

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 4,436,974

The next gubernatorial election in Kentucky takes place on Nov. 5, 2019.

Arkansas: $141,000

Capitol building in Little Rock, Arkansas.W. Scott McGill / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Asa Hutchinson

Age: 67

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 2,988,248

Nov. 2018 election: Democratic candidate and former head of an education nonprofit Jared Henderson is challenging Hutchinson, but recent polling shows the incumbent Hutchinson with a wide lead.

North Carolina: $142,265

Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Roy Cooper

Age: 61

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2017

State population: 10,146,788

North Carolina will vote for its next governor in 2020.

Alaska: $145,000

troutnut / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Bill Walker

Age: 67

Party: Independent

Served since: 2014

State population: 741,894

This former Republican ran as an independent on the Alaska First Unity Ticket. Fun fact: He’s eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund, the annual payout to state natives. This year it was $1,100; it should have been more, but it was capped two years ago by none other than … Walker.

Nov. 2018 election: Incumbent Walker dropped out of the race in late October and endorsed Democratic candidate Mark Begich, who faces off with Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy. Although Dunleavy had a strong lead, his victory is now far from certain.

Oklahoma: $147,000

RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Mary Fallin

Age: 63

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 3,923,561

Fallin is the first female chief state executive in Oklahoma’s history.

Nov. 2018 election: Fallin is not eligible to run for a third consecutive term. Democratic candidate and former State Attorney General Drew Edmonson, Libertarian Chris Powell and Republican candidate and businessman Kevin Stitt are in a three-way contest for the seat.

Wisconsin: $147,328

Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Scott Walker

Age: 50

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 5,778,708

Walker survived a recall election in 2012. In July 2015, he announced his candidacy for the president of the United States but ended his campaign about two months later.

Nov. 2018 election: Walker is running for a third term as governor. He is challenged by Democratic candidate Tony Evers and several third-party candidates.

Ohio: $148,886

Patrick Delahanty / Shutterstock.com

Governor: John Kasich

Age: 66

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 11,614,373

Kasich also had a short run at the 2016 GOP nomination for president. He announced his candidacy in July 2015 and dropped out of the race in May 2016.

Nov. 2018 election: Ohio voters are choosing between Democratic candidate Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine for the seat to be vacated by Kasich. RealClearPolitics calls the race “a toss-up.”

Hawaii: $149,556

Hawaii governor Ige in a convertible.Theodore Trimmer / Shutterstock.com

Governor: David Ige

Age: 61

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2014

State population: 1,428,557

Nov. 2018 election: Ige is running for re-election in a four-way race against Republican Andria Tupola, Green Party candidate Jim Brewer and Terrence Teruya, who identifies as nonpartisan.

Nevada: $149,730

Las vegas in daylightnito / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Brian Sandoval

Age: 55

Party: Republican

Served since: 2010

State population: 2,883,758

Sandoval, the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in Nevada, was the youngest person ever to head the Nevada Gaming Commission and also the youngest to serve as a U.S. District Court judge.

Nov. 2018 election: Sandoval is not eligible to run for re-election due to term limits. There are five candidates running, but polls show the two leaders — Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt and Democrat Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak — in a close race.

Connecticut: $150,000

Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Dannel “Dan” Malloy

Age: 63

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2011

State population: 3,576,452

Malloy struggled with dyslexia during childhood, and even now says he cannot write or type well. However, he did develop an excellent memory that allows him to speak without relying on notes.

Nov. 2018 election: Malloy is not running for re-election. Of the several candidates seeking to succeed him, recent polls show Democratic candidate Ned Lamont leading.

Maryland: $150,000

Rodphothong-Mr.Patchara / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Larry Hogan

Age: 62

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 6,016,447

Nov. 2018 election: Hogan is running for re-election in a contest with three other candidates — Democrat Ben Jealous, Green Party candidate Ian Schlackman and Shawn Quinn of the Libertarian party.

Texas: $150,000

T photography / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Greg Abbott

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 27,862,596

Nov. 2018 election: Abbot is running for re-election in a race with Democrat Lupe Valdez and Libertarian Mark Tippetts.

West Virginia: $150,000

LesPalenik / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Jim Justice

Age: 67

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 1,831,102

Although elected as a Democrat, Justice announced in August 2017 that he was switching to the Republican Party. This act meant that the Republicans controlled 34 U.S. governorships, the most since 1922.

The next election for West Virginia governor is in 2020.

Massachusetts: $151,800

Joyce Vincent / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Charlie Baker

Age: 61

Party: Republican

Served since: 2014

State population: 6,811,779

Nov. 2018 election: Baker is running for re-election against Democratic party challenger Jay Gonzalez.

Michigan: $159,300

Michigan governor flagAleks_Shutter / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Rick Snyder

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 9,928,300

Nov. 2018 election: Snyder is term limited and ineligible to run for re-election. The seat is contested by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, Republican Bill Schuette and four other candidates. In recent polling, Whitmer was leading.

Vermont: $160,135

Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Phil Scott

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2017

State population: 624,594

A former stock-car driver, Scott created a program called Wheels for Warmth, which encourages Vermont residents to donate unwanted tires. Any tires that are eligible for reuse are sold, and the proceeds are donated to heating fuel assistance programs. (The other tires get recycled).

Nov. 2018 election: In his bid for re-election, Scott has been leading in the polls against his challengers, who include Democrat Christine Hallquist and five other candidates running as independents or third-party candidates.

Washington: $166,891

Anna Hoychuk / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Jay Inslee

Age: 67

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2013

State population: 7,288,000

The 2012 race was the state’s first vote-by-mail-only election. The count was so close that Inslee’s opponent did not officially concede right away.

The next time Washington elects a new governor is in 2020.

Delaware: $171,000

Governor's mansion in Dover, DelawareJoseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Governor: John Carney

Age: 62

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2017

State population: 952,065

The next Vermont gubernatorial election is in 2020.

New Jersey: $175,000

New Jersey Governor Phil MurphyL.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Phil Murphy

Age: 61

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2018

State population: 8,944,469

Murphy won a 2017 election to replace Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who was term-limited.

Virginia: $175,000

Virgina governors mansion in RIchmondPaul Brady Photography / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Ralph Northam

Age: 59

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2018

State population: 8,411,808

Northam took office this year after winning the 2017 election to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was ineligible to run because of term limits.

Illinois: $177,412*

Illinois Gov. John RaunerJohn Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Bruce Rauner

Age: 61

Party: Republican

Served since: 2015

State population: 12,801,539

*Rauner takes only a $1 salary, and turns down all benefits, including travel expenses and pension.

California: $177,467

Fredrick Legrand / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Jerry Brown

Age: 80

Party: Democratic

Served since: Off and on since 1975

State population: 39,250,017

Nov. 2018 election: Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox are competing to fill the governor’s seat, soon to be vacated by Brown, who has served as the state’s governor since 2011, and previously held the office from 1975-1983.

New York: $170,050*

a katz / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Andrew Cuomo

Age: 60

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2010

State population: 19,745,289

Does the name sound familiar? It should: The governor is the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

*Andrew Cuomo gave himself a 5 percent pay cut from the office’s $179,000 salary upon assuming office.

Nov. 2018 election: Cuomo is running for re-election, challenged by Republican Marcus Molinaro, as well as an independent candidate, a Green Party candidate and a Libertarian candidate. Cuomo has held a substantial lead in recent polls.

Tennessee: $187,500*

f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Bill Haslam

Age: 60

Party: Republican

Served since: 2011

State population: 6,651,194

As mayor of Knoxville, he balanced six consecutive city budgets, which resulted in the city’s lowest property tax rates in half a century. Known for his love of historic structures, Haslam spent four years on the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (under President George W. Bush). In addition to the governorship, he is part-owner of a minor league baseball team called the Tennessee Smokies (affiliated with the Chicago Cubs).

*Haslam does not accept a salary.

Nov. 2018 election: Haslam is term limited and cannot run for re-election. Vying for the office are Democrat Karl Dean, Republican Bill Lee and four independent candidates.

Pennsylvania: $190,823

George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

Governor: Tom Wolf

Age: 69

Party: Democratic

Served since: 2015

State population: 12,784,227

Wolf is the highest-paid governor in the United States. Lucky him!

Nov. 2018 election: Wolf is seeking re-election to a second four-year term, challenged by Republican Scott Wagner.

What is your impression of what your governor is making, compared with other states’ chief executives? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Kari Huus contributed to this post.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman @DLFreedman
A former newspaper journalist, Donna Freedman has been a staff writer for MSN Money and Get Rich Slowly, and freelanced for a wide variety of online and print publications. She got a ... More

Trending Stories

Comments

950 Active Deals

More Deals