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History of the Office

The official responsibilities of Virginia's Lieutenant Governor are set forth in Article V of the Constitution of Virginia. According to the Constitution of Virginia, the Lieutenant Governor's official duties are to serve as President of the Senate and preside over the Senate.

The Lieutenant Governor is elected at the same time as the Governor, but in Virginia, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are elected separately, i.e., they do not run as a ticket. Therefore, it is possible to have a Governor and Lieutenant Governor of different political parties.

The Constitution of Virginia also provides that the Lieutenant Governor is first in the line of succession to Governor. Should the Governor be unable to serve due to death, disqualification or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.

In addition to these Constitutional responsibilities, the Code of Virginia provides that the Lieutenant Governor shall serve as a member of several other state boards, commissions and councils, including the Board of Trustees of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the Center for Rural Virginia; the Board of Directors of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Tourism Authority; the Virginia Military Advisory Council, the Commonwealth Preparedness Council and the Council on Virginia's Future.

While the Governor is limited by the Constitution of Virginia to serving only one four year term, there is no limit on the number of terms that can be served by the Lieutenant Governor.

Lieutenant Governors under the Commonwealth

Past Years from 2022 - 1865
  • Justin E. Fairfax, from Fairfax County 2018-2022
  • Ralph S. Northam, from City of Norfolk (Became Governor in 2018) 2014-2018
  • William T. Bolling, from Hanover County 2006-2014
  • Timothy M. Kaine, from the City of Richmond 2002-2006 (Became Governor in 2006)
  • John Henry Hager, from the City of Richmond 1998-2002
  • Donald Sternoff Beyer, Jr., from Fairfax County 1990-1998
  • Lawrence Douglas Wilder, from the City of Richmond 1986-1990 (Became Governor in 1990)
  • Richard Joseph Davis, from the City of Portsmouth 1982-1986
  • Charles Spittal Robb, from Fairfax County 1978-1982 (Became Governor in 1982)
  • John Nichols Dalton, from the City of Radford 1974-1978
  • Henry Evans Howell, Jr., from the City of Norfolk 1971-1974 (Filled the unexpired term of Julian Sargeant Reynolds)
  • Julian Sargeant Reynolds, from the City of Richmond 1970-1971 (Died in office)
  • Fred Gresham Pollard, from the City of Richmond 1966-1970
  • Mills Edwin Godwin, Jr., from Nansemond County 1962-1966 (Became Governor 1966)
  • Allie Edward Stokes Stephens, from the Isle of Wight County, 1952-1962 (Filled the unexpired term of Lewis Preston Collins, II)
  • Lewis Preston Collins, II, from Smyth County 1946-1952 (Died in office)
  • William Munford Tuck, from South Boston, Halifax County 1942-1946
  • Saxon Winston Holt, from the City of Newport News 1938-1940 (Died in office; unexpired term unfilled)
  • James Hubert Price, from the City of Richmond 1930-1938
  • Junius Edgar West, from the City of Suffolk 1922-1930
  • Benjamin Franklin Buchanan, from Smyth County 1918-1922
  • James Taylor Ellyson, from the City of Richmond 1906-1918
  • Joseph Edward Willard, from Fairfax County 1902-1906
  • Edward Echols, from the City of Staunton 1898-1902
  • Robert Craig Kent, from Wythe County 1894-1898
  • James Hoge Tyler, from Pulaski County 1890-1894 (Became Governor in 1898)
  • John Edward "Parson" Massey, from Albemarle County 1886-1890
  • John Francis Lewis, from Rockingham County 1882-1886
  • James Alexander Walker, from Pulaski County 1878-1882
  • Henry Wirtz Thomas, from Fairfax County 1875-1878
  • Robert Enoch Withers, from Campbell County 1874-1875
  • John Lawrence Marye, Jr., from Spotsylvania County 1870-1874
  • John Francis Lewis, from Rockingham County 1869-1870
  • Leopold Copeland Parker Cowper, from Norfolk County 1865-1869
Lieutenant Governors under the Restored Government, 1865-1861
  • Leopold Copeland Parker Cowper, from Norfolk County 1863-1865
  • Daniel Polsley, from Mason County (now WV) 1861-1863
Lieutenant Governors under the Commonwealth, 1865-1852
  • Daniel Polsley, from Mason County (now WV) 1861-1863
  • Samuel Price, from Greenbrier County (now WV) 1864-1865
  • Robert Latane Montague, from Middlesex County 1860-1864
  • William Lowther Jackson, from Wood County (now WV) 1857-1860
  • Elisha W. McComas, from Cabell County (now WV) 1856-1857
  • Shelton Farrar Leake, from Albemarle County 1852-1856