Birthdays of Colorado Governors since Statehood
Astonish your friends. Entertain your guests. Turn the conversation to politics and Gov. Bill Owens. Then reveal your amazing knowledge regarding Colorado governors.
To do that, tear out the list near this column regarding every Colorado governor since statehood. Actually, I left out one who really shouldn't count. Ray Talbot, Democrat, served nine days as governor in 1937, when Gov. Ed Johnson had to resign in order to take his oath of office as a newly elected U.S. Senator.
There have been 34 individuals who held the post of governor from 1876 to the present. Seventeen were Republicans, 16 were Democrats, and one, Davis Waite, was a Populist. All were white males.
Governors were elected to two-year terms until the 1968 election, when Steve McNichols became the first governor elected to a four year term. Five governors have been elected to three terms each: William "Billy" Adams, Edwin Johnson, John Love, Richard Lamm, and Roy Romer. I did not include Alva Adams.
The "infamous" 1904 gubernatorial election resulted in the legislature meeting in joint session in March of 1905. Candidate Peabody charged the "winner" Adams with vote fraud. The legislature determined Adams was holding office as governor illegally and he was removed. As part of the deal, Peabody was sworn in as governor and then resigned the same day. By law, Lt. Gov. Jesse McDonald became governor. This led to Ripley's Believe It Or Not cartoon of three Colorado governors in one day.
If you believe in astrology here's a thought. Of 34 governors, 17 were born in October, November, December, or January. The bad months are March, July, and September, with one governor each.
Most governors left office while still in their fifties (14 governors) or their forties (nine governors). One governor, James Grant, was only 37 when he left office. Three governors left in their 70s, Billy Adams, Ed Johnson, and Roy Romer.
The first elected governor to be born in the 20th century was Dan Thornton, born in 1911 and elected in 1950. No one who took over the governor's office without being elected to it, was ever elected as governor. There are three in that category: Walter Johnson, 1950-51, John Vanderhoof, 1973-75, and Jesse McDonald, 1905-07.
Only three governors were ever elected U.S. Senator: Charles Thomas, John Shafroth, and Ed Johnson. All were Democrats.
List prepared by Jerry Kopel with help from Legislative Council librarians and State Archives.
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