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Idaho State Governors

The region that became Idaho was originally obtained by the United States as part of Oregon Country, shared with the United Kingdom from 1818 to 1846. Joint control ended in 1846, with the American portion being organized as Oregon Territory in 1848. The northern half, including the northern panhandle of modern Idaho, was split into Washington Territory in 1853, with the southern half being assigned to Washington Territory in 1859. Idaho Territory was split from Washington Territory in 1863, initially including all of modern Idaho and Montana, and most of Wyoming, which were areas it received from Dakota Territory. In 1864, Montana Territory was formed, and most of the Wyoming portion of the territory was reassigned to Dakota Territory. The final part east of the 111th meridian was reassigned to the new Wyoming Territory in 1868, giving Idaho Territory its final borders. See the lists of governors of Oregon (1848–1859) and of Washington (1853–1863) for these periods.

Governors of Idaho Territory

Idaho Territory was formed on March 4, 1863. During the time of its existence, the territory had 17 territorial governors, the final of which became the first state governor.

Name Took office Left office Appointed by
William H. Wallace March 10, 1863 February 26, 1864 Abraham Lincoln
Caleb Lyon February 26, 1864 April 10, 1866 Abraham Lincoln
David W. Ballard April 10, 1866 March 30, 1870 Andrew Johnson
Samuel Bard March 30, 1870 June 7, 1870 Ulysses S. Grant
Gilman Marston June 7, 1870 January 12, 1871 Ulysses S. Grant
Alexander H. Connor January 12, 1871 April 19, 1871 Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas M. Bowen April 19, 1871 October 24, 1871 Ulysses S. Grant
Thomas W. Bennett October 24, 1871 December 16, 1875 Ulysses S. Grant
David P. Thompson December 16, 1875 July 24, 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
Mason Brayman July 24, 1876 August 7, 1878 Ulysses S. Grant
John P. Hoyt August 7, 1878 July 12, 1880 Rutherford B. Hayes
John Baldwin Neil July 12, 1880 March 2, 1883 Rutherford B. Hayes
John N. Irwin March 2, 1883 March 26, 1884 Chester A. Arthur
William M. Bunn March 26, 1884 September 29, 1885 Chester A. Arthur
Edward A. Stevenson September 29, 1885 April 1, 1889 Grover Cleveland
George Laird Shoup April 1, 1889 July 3, 1890 Benjamin Harrison


Governors of the State of Idaho

Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890. Since then, it has had 30 governors,
two of whom served non-consecutive terms. The term of office was two years until beginning with the 1946 election it was lengthened to four years.

 
Name Took office Left office Party Lt. Governor
George Laird Shoup October 1, 1890 December 18, 1890 Republican N. B. Willey
N. B. Willey December 18, 1890 January 1, 1893 Republican John S. Gray
William J. McConnell January 1, 1893 January 4, 1897 Republican F. B. Willis
F. J. Mills
Frank Steunenberg January 4, 1897 January 7, 1901 Democratic George F. Moore
J. H. Hutchinson
Frank W. Hunt January 7, 1901 January 5, 1903 Democratic Thomas F. Terrell
John T. Morrison January 5, 1903 January 2, 1905 Republican James M. Stevens
Frank R. Gooding January 2, 1905 January 4, 1909 Republican Burpee L. Steeves
Ezra A. Burrell
James H. Brady January 4, 1909 January 2, 1911 Republican Lewis H. Sweetser
James H. Hawley January 2, 1911 January 6, 1913 Democratic Lewis H. Sweetser
John M. Haines January 6, 1913 January 4, 1915 Republican Herman H. Taylor
Moses Alexander January 4, 1915 January 6, 1919 Democratic Herman H. Taylor
Ernest L. Parker
D. W. Davis January 6, 1919 January 1, 1923 Republican Charles C. Moore
Charles C. Moore January 1, 1923 January 3, 1927 Republican H. C. Baldridge
H. C. Baldridge January 3, 1927 January 5, 1931 Republican O. E. Hailey
W. B. Kinne
O. E. Hailey
C. Ben Ross January 5, 1931 January 4, 1937 Democratic G. P. Mix
George E. Hill
G. P. Mix
Barzilla W. Clark January 4, 1937 January 2, 1939 Democratic Charles C. Gossett
C. A. Bottolfsen January 2, 1939 January 6, 1941 Republican Donald S. Whitehead
Chase A. Clark January 6, 1941 January 4, 1943 Democratic Charles C. Gossett
C. A. Bottolfsen January 4, 1943 January 1, 1945 Republican Edwin Nelson
Charles C. Gossett January 1, 1945 November 17, 1945 Democratic Arnold Williams
Arnold Williams November 17, 1945 January 6, 1947 Democratic A. R. McCabe
C. A. Robins January 6, 1947 January 1, 1951 Republican Donald S. Whitehead
Leonard B. Jordan January 1, 1951 January 3, 1955 Republican Edson H. Deal
Robert E. Smylie January 3, 1955 January 2, 1967 Republican J. Berkeley Larsen
W. E. Drevlow
Don Samuelson January 2, 1967 January 4, 1971 Republican Jack M. Murphy
Cecil D. Andrus January 4, 1971 January 24, 1977 Democratic Jack M. Murphy
John V. Evans
John V. Evans January 24, 1977 January 5, 1987 Democratic William J. Murphy
Phil Batt
David H. Leroy
Cecil D. Andrus January 5, 1987 January 2, 1995 Democratic C.L. "Butch" Otter
Phil Batt January 2, 1995 January 4, 1999 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter
Dirk Kempthorne January 4, 1999 May 26, 2006 Republican C.L. "Butch" Otter
Jack Riggs
Jim Risch
Jim Risch May 26, 2006 January 1, 2007 Republican Mark Ricks
C.L. "Butch" Otter January 1, 2007 Incumbent Republican Jim Risch

 

Idaho Governor Bios

George Laird Shoup (born June 24, 1836 in Kittanning, Pennsylvania – died December 21, 1904 in Boise, Idaho) was the first Governor of Idaho, serving a short time after statehood in 1890 before becoming one of the state's first United States Senators.

After being devastated financially in the panic of 1857, Shoup moved to Colorado Territory in 1859 to engage in mining and merchandising near Pikes Peak. During the Civil War he enlisted with the independent scouts working in New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. He was commissioned colonel when the Third Colorado Cavalry was formed and took part in the battles of Apache Canyon and Sand Creek.

After the war Shoup moved to Virginia City, Montana Territory, and then settled in Salmon, Idaho Territory, a city that he helped found. Shoup was appointed commissioner to organize Lemhi County, and in 1874 he was elected to the territorial legislature. With few interruptions, he served on the Republican National Committee for Idaho from 1880 to 1904.

In April 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Shoup governor of Idaho Territory. Shoup remained in the position until July 1890, when Idaho became a state and Idaho Territory ceased to exist. Shoup was elected the state's first governor in October.

Shoup served as governor of the new state for only a few weeks. In November 1890 the Idaho Legislature elected him to the United States Senate. Shoup resigned as governor in December to take his Senate seat. He was succeeded as governor by Lieutenant Governor N. B. Willey.

In the Senate Shoup had many interests, including pensions, education, and military affairs. He was chairman of the Committee on Territories. In that position he advocated liberal and just treatment of the Native Americans. Shoup was reelected to a full six-year term in the Senate by the Idaho Legislature in 1894, but in 1900 he was defeated by Democrat Fred Dubois.

In 1910, the state of Idaho donated a marble statue of Shoup to the National Statuary Hall Collection.
 

Norman Bushnell Willey (born March 25, 1838 in Guilford, New York – died October 20, 1921 in Topeka, Kansas) was Governor of Idaho from 1890 until 1893.

Willey moved to California at the age of 20 where he began his career in the mining industry. He followed the Gold rush to Idaho in 1864; after working some time there, he was promoted to the position of superintendent of a lode mine. During his lengthy tenure in that position, he began a political career. Advancing to the position of Superintendent of Schools, he was not reelected in 1868. He was elected to Idaho's legislative assembly in 1872, which was followed by his serving as Council President in 1879.

In 1888, he was not reelected for a third term. This was a remarkable achievement, as he was one of the few on the council who opposed the effort to reunite North Idaho with Washington State. During these two terms, he became friends with Milton Kelly - a former supreme court justice who had become a prominent newspaper editor. This led to a career in the field of journalism, where his reports as mine superintendent and state correspondent found wide audience.

In 1890, another opportunity arose for Willey in politics when Idaho gained admission as a state. Although Idaho at the time preferred to have a senator, they were granted a governor. George Shoup was chosen to serve as governor; however, he only agreed to do so once he was assured that his service would end as governor in late 1890, and that he would then become a senator. Shoup arranged Willey's election as Lieutenant Governor, which assured him the position of Governor for the state after Shoup had vacated the position. He continued to serve as governor until 1892, where he was ousted by other political factions.
 

William John McConnell (born September 18, 1839 in Commerce, Michigan – died March 30, 1925 in Moscow, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1893 until 1897. Prior to that he represented Idaho as one of its first United States Senators after statehood.

As a young man McConnell moved to California to engage in mining, cattle, merchandising, and banking. He then lived in Oregon from 1862 to 1863, where he taught school, and then moved to Idaho Territory in 1863. From 1865 to 1867 he served as a deputy U.S. Marshal.

McConnell returned to Oregon and worked in the cattle business. In 1886, McConnell returned to Idaho and became a member of the state constitutional convention in 1890.

In November 1890 McConnell was elected by the Idaho Legislature to serve in the United States Senate for the remainder of the Fifty-first United States Congress which ended in March 1891. In that same election the Idaho Legislature chose former Idaho Territory Congressional delegate Fred Dubois to serve the full six-year term from that point forward.

McConnell was elected Governor of Idaho in 1892 and then again in 1894. He was appointed Indian Inspector by President William McKinley in 1897, serving until 1901. In 1909, McConnell was appointed as an Inspector of the Immigration Service in Moscow, Idaho, by President William Howard Taft, and served in that position until his death.
 

Frank Steunenberg (August 8, 1861 – December 30, 1905) was the fourth Governor of the State of Idaho, serving from 1897 until 1901. He is perhaps best known for his 1905 assassination by one-time union member Harry Orchard, who also admitted to being a paid informant for the Cripple Creek, Colorado, Mine Owners' Association. Orchard attempted to implicate leaders of the radical Western Federation of Miners in the murder. The labor leaders were found innocent in two trials, but Orchard spent the rest of his life in prison.

Frank Williams Hunt (December 16, 1871 in Louisville, Kentucky – November 25, 1906 in Boise, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1901 until 1903.

Hunt served as a captain in the Idaho Regiment of Volunteers in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War (1898). He was elected governor in 1900 at the age of 28 and remains the youngest governor in Idaho history.

In March 1901 Hunt signed legislation creating the Academy of Idaho (now Idaho State University) in Pocatello. Hunt also ended the state of martial law in northern Idaho enacted by his predecessor, Frank Steunenberg, in 1899 as a response to labor unrest.

Hunt was defeated for reelection in 1902 by Republican John T. Morrison. After leaving office he became vice president and general manager of Dewey Combination Lease Company.

Late in 1906 Hunt contracted pneumonia and died on November 25 at the age of 34. He is buried in Boise.
 

John Tracy Morrison (December 25, 1860 – December 20, 1915) was Governor of Idaho from 1903 until 1905.

Morrison graduated from Cornell Law School in 1890 and moved to Caldwell, where he became a successful attorney and an active member of the local Presbyterian Church. In 1891, Morrison was influential in founding the College of Idaho and served as an original faculty member, teaching English and history. In 1893 he became a member of the school's board of trustees.

Idaho Republicans nominated Morrison as their gubernatorial candidate in 1902. He was elected by defeating the Democratic incumbent, Frank W. Hunt. Morrison sought reelection in 1904, but Republicans declined to nominate him for a second term, instead supporting Frank R. Gooding. Upon leaving office Morrison returned to his Caldwell law practice.
 

Frank Robert Gooding (September 16, 1859 in Tiverton, England &ndash – June 24, 1928 in Gooding, Idaho) was a Republican United States Senator and Governor of Idaho. The city of Gooding and Gooding County, both in Idaho, are named after him.

Gooding emigrated to the United States with his family in 1867. The family settled on a farm near Paw Paw, Michigan. Gooding attended the common schools there, and moved to Mount Shasta, California in 1877, and engaged in farming and mining.

Gooding moved to Idaho Territory in 1881 and settled in Ketchum where he worked as a mail carrier, and subsequently engaged in the firewood and charcoal business. In 1888 he settled near present-day Gooding.

After Idaho became a state in 1890, Gooding emerged as a leader of the conservative faction of the Idaho Republican Party. Gooding was a powerful figure in Idaho in the early 20th Century, as demonstrated by the fact the City of Gooding and Gooding County were both named after him in his lifetime. Gooding also managed to get elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1898 and as Governor of Idaho in 1904 before he became a United States citizen.

Gooding had a reputation for having an off-putting and abrasive personality, and often clashed with others in the Republican Party, notably progressive Senator William E. Borah.

From 1905 to 1909, Gooding served as Governor of Idaho. During his administration the Idaho State Capitol building in Boise was constructed.

In 1918 Gooding was the Republican nominee in a special U.S. Senate election to complete the term of James H. Brady, who died in office early in the year. Gooding was defated by Democrat John F. Nugent.

In 1920 Gooding defeated Nugent for a full six-year term in the Senate. He took offce in January 1921 two months before his term began to replace Nugent, who resigned to accept an appointment on the Federal Trade Commission.

Gooding was reelected in 1926 by defeating Nugent again. He died in office in 1928 and was succeeded by a political protégé, John W. Thomas.

Gooding is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Gooding.
 

James Henry Brady (born June 12, 1862 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania – died January 13, 1918 in Washington, D.C.) was a U.S. politician from the Republican Party. He served as Governor of Idaho from 1909 to 1911 and a United States Senator representing Idaho from 1913 until his death.

Brady was initially appointed by the Idaho Legislature to replace Kirtland I. Perky in the Senate. In 1914 he became the first person elected to the Senate from Idaho by direct popular vote, defeating former Democratic Governor James H. Hawley and a handful of minor party candidates.

Brady's great-grandson, Jerry Brady, was the 2002 and 2006 Democratic candidate for Governor of Idaho.
 

James Henry Hawley (b. January 17, 1847, Dubuque, Iowa – died August 3, 1929, Boise, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1911 until 1913. Hawley also served as mayor of Boise from 1903 to 1905.

In 1893, James Hawley suggested to Coeur d'Alene area miners that they should form a federation for protection from the mine owners. More than a decade later he would be on the other side, seeking to destroy that very federation.

In 1907, Hawley joined William Borah as prosecution attorneys in a trial of leaders of the Western Federation of Miners, charged with conspiracy in the 1905 assassination of Frank Steunenberg, the former governor of Idaho. Harry Orchard had been detained for the crime, and Pinkerton Agent James McParland handled the investigation and arrests of the union leaders. All were acquitted or had charges dropped; Orchard, however, was convicted and sentenced to hang. His sentence was commuted to life in an Idaho prison.

In 1920 Hawley published the four-volume History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains, an expansive history and collection of biographical sketches.

James Hawley died in 1929, aged 82.
 

John Michiner Haines (born January 1, 1863 in Jasper County, Iowa – died June 4, 1917 in Boise, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1913 until 1915.

Haines also served as mayor of Boise from 1907 to 1909.
 

Moses Alexander (November 13, 1853 – January 4, 1932) was the first elected Jewish governor of a U.S. state, serving as Governor of Idaho from 1915 until 1919.

Alexander was born in Obrigheim, Bavaria. He emigrated to the United States in 1867 and settled in New York City, but within a year accepted an invitation from his cousin to work in a clothing store in Chillicothe, Missouri. Alexander showed a talent for the business and was made a partner in the store in 1874. In 1876, he married Helena (nee Hedwig) Kaestner, a Christian immigrant from Germany who converted to Judaism.

In Chillicothe Alexander showed an early interest in Democratic politics, particularly within the progressive wing of the party. In 1886, he was elected to the Chillicothe City Council. The next year, Alexander was elected mayor and served two terms. His primary concern as mayor was addressing the city's dire financial situation.

In 1891, Alexander left Chillicothe with the intention of moving to Alaska. While en route, he made a stop in Boise, Idaho, to look at its investment opportunities. Based on that, he abandoned his plans in Alaska and settled in Boise instead. In July 1891, Alexander opened the first of several clothing stores on the corner of Ninth and Main in Boise.

In 1895, Alexander led an effort to build Ahavath Beth Israel synagogue, the first in Idaho. Completed in 1896, today Ahavath Beth Israel is the oldest synagogue in continuous use west of the Mississippi River.

David William Davis (April 23, 1873 - August 5, 1959) was a Republican Governor of Idaho, serving from 1919 to 1923.

Davis was born in Cardiff, Wales. His family immigrated to the United States in 1875, and settled in Rippey, Iowa. At the age of twelve, Davis went to work in the coal mines to support his widowed mother.

He left the mines, finding work as a manager of the Farmer's Cooperative Association and as a bank cashier. He spent a brief stint in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of Petty Officer, First Class after distinguished service in the Philippines. After moving to American Falls, Idaho, Davis founded the First National Bank of American Falls.

He entered politics in 1912, serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. He also served as a member of the Idaho State Senate from 1913 to 1915.

Davis won the Republican nomination for governor in 1916, but was narrowly defeated by the Democratic incumbent, Moses Alexander. Davis was nominated again in 1918 and defeated Democrat H. F. Samuels. He was reelected in 1920 after a tough election battle, in part due to a clerical error on his military discharge papers that made it appear as if he had received a dishonorable discharge.

During his tenure, funding was sanctioned for the establishment of the bureau of budget and taxation; as well as, a veteran's welfare program and a teacher's pension system. A road-building program was initiated, the state's statutes were reorganized, the state's administrative agencies were unified, and three constitutional amendments were sanctioned.

Davis left office on January 1, 1923. Two months later, he was appointed as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior, to supervise the United States Reclamation Service, and served until 1924. He then served from 1924 to 1932 as commissioner of reclamation and director of finance for the Interior Department, and for a short time in 1931 as a special advisor to President Herbert Hoover.

Governor David W. Davis died on August 5, 1959, and was buried at the Cloverdale Cemetery in Boise, Idaho.
 

Charles Calvin Moore (February 26, 1866 – March 19, 1958) was a Republican Governor of Idaho, serving from 1923 until 1927.

Moore served in the Idaho Legislature as a member of the Idaho State House of Representatives from 1903 to 1906. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Idaho in 1918 and served in that capacity during the administration of Governor D. W. Davis.

In 1922 Moore was elected Governor of Idaho, defeating Progressive H. F. Samuels and former Democratic Governor Moses Alexander. Moore became the first person in Idaho history to successfully run for governor after serving as lieutenant governor. He was reelected in 1924, by defeating Samuels and Democrat A. L. Freehafer.
 

H. Clarence Baldridge (November 24, 1868 in Carlock, Illinois – June 8, 1947 in Parma, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1927 until 1931.

Baldridge entered the Idaho Legislature in 1911 as a member of the Idaho House of Representatives. In 1913 he moved to the Idaho State Senate, serving a single term there as well. In 1922 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Idaho and served in that capacity in the administration of Governor Charles C. Moore.

Baldridge was elected Governor of Idaho in 1926 and reelected in 1928.
 

Charles Benjamin Ross (December 27, 1876 in Parma, Idaho Territory – March 31, 1946 in Boise, Idaho) was the first native-born Governor of Idaho and an important Idaho political figure throughout the 1930s. Ross served as governor from 1931 until 1937.

Ross began his political career in Canyon County, serving as county commissioner from 1915 to 1921. He moved to Bannock County and served as mayor of Pocatello from 1922 to 1930.

Ross won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1928. Although he nearly tripled the Democratic vote total of his predecessor, Asher B. Wilson, thanks to the recent demise of the Idaho Progressive Party, he was defeated by the Republican incumbent H. C. Baldridge.

Ross won the nomination again in 1930, winning the open seat against Republican John McMurray. He was reelected in 1932 and 1934, becoming the first person to win election as Governor of Idaho three times.

During his tenure as governor Ross was viewed as the chief proponent of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies in Idaho. Even so, his own beliefs more closely mirrored the agrarian populism of earlier Democrats such as William Jennings Bryan.

Ross ran for United States Senate in 1936 but was defeated by longtime Republican incumbent William E. Borah.

The first sales tax in Idaho was enacted in 1935 with Ross' support. A famous line used against Ross by sales tax opponents was "A Penny for Benny." Opponents also used the following poem against him: "Benny got our penny/Benny got our goat/We'll get our Benny/When we go to vote." The sales tax was repealed by a statewide referendum in 1936.

In 1938 Ross ran for governor a fifth time, defeating incumbent Barzilla W. Clark in the Democratic primary but losing to state Republican Party chairman C. A. Bottolfsen in the general election.

After losing the 1938 gubernatorial election, "Cowboy Ben" retired from public life. He is referred to as "Founding Father" of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation and was looked to as a champion of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Ross is buried in Parma.
 

Barzilla Worth Clark (December 22, 1880 in Hendricks County, Indiana – September 21, 1943 in Idaho Falls, Idaho) was a politician from Idaho. He served as governor of Idaho from 1937 to 1939. He was a member of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Clark worked as a civil engineer. He served as mayor of Idaho Falls from 1913 to 1915 and again from 1926 to 1936.

Clark's younger brother, Chase Clark, also served as governor of Idaho.
 

Clarence Alfred Bottolfsen (October 10, 1891 – July 18, 1964) was a politician from Idaho. He served as governor of Idaho from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1943 to 1945. He was a member of the Idaho Republican Party.

Bottolfsen worked as a newspaper publisher in Arco. He served in the Idaho House of Representatives and was elected speaker in 1931. He also chaired the Idaho Republican Party from 1937 to 1938. Bottolfsen is one of only two people in Idaho history to serve non-consecutive terms as governor (Cecil Andrus is the other).

Bottolfsen ran for United States Senate in 1944 but was defeated by Glen H. Taylor. In his later years he served as chief clerk of the Idaho House of Representatives and on the staff of United States Senator Herman Welker. Bottolfsen was elected to the Idaho State Senate in 1958 and 1960, but declined to seek reelection in 1962 due to poor health.

Bottolfsen was an active Freemason within the Grand Lodge of Idaho, serving as master of Arco Lodge No. 48. He was also active with the El Korah Shrine in Boise, the Rotary Club and the Arco Chamber of Commerce.

Bottolfsen died in Boise from complications from emphysema, which he suffered from in his final years. Bottolfsen Park in Arco is named after him.
 

Charles Clinton Gossett (September 2, 1888 in Pricetown, Ohio – September 20, 1974 in Boise, Idaho) was a Democratic Governor and United States Senator from Idaho.

Gossett attended public schools in Ohio. He moved west to Cunningham, Washington, in 1907, to Ontario, Oregon, in 1910, and finally to Nampa, Idaho, in 1922. He engaged in the agriculture, livestock, feed and shipping businesses.

In 1932, Gossett was elected to the Idaho State House of Representatives. In 1936, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, serving alongside Governor Barzilla W. Clark. Four years later Gossett returned as lieutenant governor under Governor Chase A. Clark, Barzilla Clark's younger brother.

Gossett was elected governor in his own right in 1944, but served less than a year. In November 1945 he resigned to let his successor, Lieutenant Governor Arnold Williams, appoint him to the United States Senate to succeed the late John W. Thomas.

In 1946, Gossett was defeated in the Democratic primary for a special election to finish Thomas' term in the Senate by state senator George E. Donart, who in turn was defeated by Republican Congressman Henry Dworshak in the general election. After the loss Gossett returned to his former business pursuits.

Gossett attempted a political comeback in 1954 by running to replace retiring Governor Len Jordan. He was defeated in the Democratic gubernatorial primary by state senator Clark Hamilton. Hamilton in turn lost the general election to Republican Attorney General Robert E. Smylie.

Gossett is buried in Kohlerlawn Cemetery in Nampa.
 

Arnold Williams (May 22, 1898 in Fillmore, Utah – May 25, 1970 in Rexburg, Idaho) served as Governor of Idaho from 1945 until 1947.

Williams was elected Idaho lieutenant governor in 1944. He became governor in November 1945 to finish the unexpired term of Charles C. Gossett, who resigned and was subsequently appointed by Williams to the United States Senate seat left vacant by the death of John W. Thomas. Williams became the state's first Mormon governor.

Williams was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1946. He was defeated by Republican C. A. Robins.

Later Williams was elected Secretary of State of Idaho, serving in that position from 1959 to 1966.

Williams is buried in Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery in Idaho Falls.
 

Charles Armington Robins (December 8, 1884 in Defiance, Iowa – September 20, 1970 in Lewiston, Idaho) was a Republican Governor of Idaho.

Elected in 1946, Robins was the first person elected to a four-year term as Governor of Idaho; all previous governors had been elected to two-year terms.

Prior to serving as governor Robins was a member of the Idaho State Senate from 1939 to 1945.
 

Leonard Beck "Len" Jordan (May 15, 1899 in Mount Pleasant, Utah – June 30, 1983 in Boise, Idaho) was a Republican Governor and United States Senator from Idaho.

Jordan served in World War I as an Army officer. He was a sheep rancher in Hell's Canyon during the Great Depression. He settled in Grangeville, Idaho, where he established a farm implement business, a real estate agency, and an automobile dealership.

Jordan was elected to a single four-year term as Governor of Idaho in 1950. In 1955 he was appointed by President Eisenhower as Chairman of the United States section of the International Joint Commission with Canada to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway.

In July 1962 Jordan was appointed to the United States Senate seat by Governor Robert E. Smylie to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Henry Dworshak. Later that year he defeated Democratic Congresswoman Gracie Pfost in a special election to complete the term. Jordan was reelected to a full six-year term in 1966, defeating former Democratic Congressman Ralph R. Harding. In the Senate he helped establish the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. He did not seek re-election in 1972.
 

Robert Eben Smylie (October 31, 1914 in Marcus, Iowa – July 17, 2004 in Boise, Idaho) was a politician and attorney from Idaho. He served as governor of Idaho from 1955 to 1967. He was a member of the Idaho Republican Party.

Smylie began practicing law in Washington, D.C. but left his practice in 1942 to join the United States Coast Guard. He returned to practice in 1946.

In November 1947 Smylie was appointed Idaho attorney general by Governor C. A. Robins to fill a vacancy. He was elected to a full term in 1950.

Smylie was elected governor in 1954 and re-elected in 1958 and 1962. He is the only person in Idaho history to win three consecutive four-year terms as governor. Smylie was the first Governor of Idaho born in the 20th century.

While governor, Smylie served as chair of the Western Governors Association (1959-1961). He also served as chair of the Republican Governors Association.

Smylie ran for reelection in 1966, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Don Samuelson. Afterwards he returned to the practice of law. He served as Trustee, Chair of Trustees, and as acting President of the College of Idaho.
 

Donald William Samuelson (July 27, 1913 – January 20, 2000) was a Republican politician from the U.S. state of Idaho. He served as governor of Idaho from 1967 to 1971.

Samuelson was born in Woodhull, Illinois, and settled in Sandpoint, Idaho after first coming there in World War II to serve as a weapons instructor and gunsmith at the Farragut Naval Training Station. He was elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1960 and re-elected in 1962 and 1964. A conservative, Samuelson upset moderate incumbent Robert E. Smylie in the 1966 Republican gubernatorial primary. He then went on to defeat Democrat Cecil D. Andrus in the general election.

During the 1970 gubernatorial campaign Samuelson came out in support of developing molybdenum mining in central Idaho's White Cloud Mountains. Samuelson was defeated for re-election by Andrus - a staunch opponent of the mining development - and returned to private life. He died in 2000.

Andrus attended Oregon State University in 1952[1] and served in the United States Naval Reserves from 1951 to 1955[2]. After being discharged from the U.S. Navy, Andrus moved to Orofino, Idaho, where he worked in the timber industry.

Upset over the local Republican state senator's stance on education, in 1960 while living in Orofino, Andrus filed as a Democrat to run against him and won. He was re-elected in 1962 and 1964.

Andrus ran for governor in Idaho in 1966 but was narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary by Salmon attorney Charles Herndon. Andrus was appointed the replacement nominee after Herndon died in a plane crash while en route from Twin Falls to Coeur d'Alene in September 1966[3]. Andrus lost the general election to Republican Don Samuelson, earning him the distinction of losing a gubernatorial primary and general election in the same year. Andrus was re-elected to the Idaho State Senate in 1968.

Undaunted by his earlier setbacks, in 1970, Andrus defeated Samuelson in a gubernatorial election rematch, thanks in large part to his opposition to developing molybdenum mining in central Idaho's White Cloud Mountains. Andrus was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1974, defeating Republican Lieutenant Governor Jack M. Murphy.
 

John Victor Evans, Sr. (born January 18, 1925 in Malad City, Idaho) was Governor of Idaho from 1977-87. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Evans was elected to the Idaho Senate in 1952 and re-elected in 1954 and 1956, serving as majority leader in his final term. In 1960, Evans became mayor of Malad City and served in that capacity until 1966. He returned to the state senate in 1968 and served as minority leader from 1969-74.

Evans was elected lieutenant governor in 1974. He became governor in January 1977 when Cecil D. Andrus accepted an appointment to become the Secretary of the Interior in the Carter administration.

Evans finished Andrus' term and was elected governor in his own right in 1978, defeating Republican state representative Allan Larsen. Evans was the first (and to date, only) Mormon to win election as governor in Idaho. He was re-elected in 1982, defeating Republican lieutenant governor Phil Batt.

Evans ran for the U.S. Senate in 1986, but was narrowly defeated by Republican incumbent Steve Symms. He was succeeded as governor by Andrus. Evans became president of the Idaho-based D.L. Evans Bank in January 1987.

Evans currently lives in Burley.
 

Philip Eugene Batt (born March 4, 1927 in Wilder, Idaho) was the Governor of Idaho from 1995-99.

Batt was an onion and hops farmer from Wilder. Before becoming governor, he had been a Republican politician in Idaho for 30 years, serving in the state legislature (house 1965-67, senate 1967-79) and as the lieutenant governor from 1979-83. He ran for governor in 1982 and was defeated in a close race by the Democratic incumbent, John V. Evans. Future U.S. Senator and Governor Dirk Kempthorne served as his campaign manager.

After rebuilding the Idaho Republican Party into near-total dominance as party chairman in the early 1990s, Batt re-entered electoral politics. In 1994, Batt won the Republican gubernatorial primary with 48% of the vote, and defeated the Democratic candidate, attorney general Larry EchoHawk in the general election 52% to 44%. Despite polls putting his popularity at around 80%, he chose to serve only one term.

Among Batt's more notable accomplishments as governor were pushing through worker's compensation for agricultural workers and negotiating a pact limiting nuclear waste storage in Idaho. During his term, Idaho's cabinet had a higher percentage of women than any other state.

He has self-published two books since leaving office, a memoir titled The Compleat Phil Batt: A Kaleidoscope, in 1999, and a compilation of humorous stories.
 

Dirk Arthur Kempthorne (born October 29, 1951 in San Diego, California), is the current U.S. Secretary of the Interior, serving since May 2006. A Republican, Kempthorne previously served as Governor and as a U.S. Senator from Idaho.

Kempthorne was first elected to public office as mayor of Boise in 1985, where he served for seven years. According to the New York Times, over the course of his career in public service, Kempthorne established a reputation as "a personable leader with a strong understanding of issues."

Kempthorne is notable for his conservative views, particularly on economic issues. As Secretary of the Interior, Kempthorne is eighth in line to the presidency.

Kempthorne was raised in San Bernardino, California. Kempthorne attended and graduated from San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino, California. He initially attended Valley Community College, and then transferred to the University of Idaho. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1975 with a degree in political science, serving a term as student body president. Upon graduation Kempthorne served as an assistant to the director of the Idaho Department of Lands and then as executive vice president of the Idaho Home Builders Association.

In 1982, Kempthorne managed the gubernatorial campaign for Lt. Gov. Phil Batt, who lost to the incumbent Democrat, Governor John V. Evans. In 1983 Kempthorne became state public affairs manager for FMC Corporation.

Kempthorne and his wife, Patricia Kempthorne who are both University of Idaho graduates, have two adult children, Heather and Jeff.

Kempthorne is of Cornish ancestry.
 

James Elroy Risch (born May 3, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is the current Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, former Governor, and United States Senator-elect from Idaho. Risch was elected to the Senate in 2008, defeating former Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocco and several independents.

He became Governor on May 26, 2006 because he was serving as Lieutenant Governor when his predecessor Dirk Kempthorne resigned to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Risch is a rancher, attorney and politician from Ada County. He was the first Catholic to serve as Governor of Idaho in over 90 years.

Risch attended the University of Idaho where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He obtained his B.S. in Forestry in 1965 and continued his education at the university's College of Law, serving on Law Review,receiving his J.D. in 1968.

Risch entered politics in 1970, at age 27, winning election as Ada County Prosecuting Attorney. While serving in this capacity, he taught undergraduate classes in criminal justice at Boise State University and served as the President of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
 

Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter (born May 3, 1942, Caldwell, Idaho) has been Governor of Idaho since January 2007. Otter previously represented the state's First Congressional District.

He was also the lieutenant governor from 1987-2001. He is the second Idahoan since statehood to win elections as both congressman and governor, Dirk Kempthorne having been the first.

Otter is the third Catholic to serve as governor of Idaho, and the first to win election as governor since James H. Hawley in 1910.

Butch Otter was born into a large family of limited means. His father was a journeyman electrician and the family lived in many rural locations in the midwest & western U.S. during his youth, attending 15 different schools. He graduated from St. Teresa's Academy (now Bishop Kelly High School) in Boise in 1962. Otter was 20 when he graduated from high school – a childhood accident involving gasoline badly burned his younger brother and forced Otter to take a year off. Throughout high school he worked – janitor, theater ticket taker, lawn boy. He never got good grades, and, even though Otter wanted to be educated, he didn’t believe he’d amount to anything beyond blue-collar work. “My dad graduated from high school. My expectations weren’t built beyond being a good electrician or carpenter.”

He briefly attended St. Martin's Abbey in Lacey, Washington, with aims on becoming a priest. In truth, he attended the abbey only because of his father’s opinion that “unless you were going to be a priest, you didn’t need to go beyond high school.” 

Not ready for the rigid lifestyle, Otter returned to Idaho and attended Boise Junior College, then earned his B.A. in political science from the College of Idaho in 1967. He was the only member of his family to graduate from college, and made the dean’s list in his last term. He served the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Armored Cavalry from 1968-73. He received specialized training at Fort Knox.

Otter's business experience includes 30 years with Simplot International, a leading agribusiness corporation. He started at a low level position and eventually rose to the company's presidency.

In 1964, Otter married Gay Simplot, daughter of his longtime employer, J. R. Simplot. After 28 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 1992.

Otter's first bid for elective office was in 1972 when he was elected a member of the Idaho State House of Representatives from Canyon County. In 1978 Otter ran for Governor of Idaho, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Allan Larsen. Afterwards Otter remained active in the Idaho Republican Party, holding several state and county positions.
 

Source:  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Compiled for Genealogy Trails by Barbara Ziegenmeyer

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