Terry Branstad’s resignation today to become U.S. Ambassador to China makes him the fourth of the 41 men and women to serve as governor of Iowa to resign before the end of their term. Each of the previous three governors resigned from their seat after being elected to the U.S. Senate: Republican Samuel Kirkwood in February 1877 (nearly a year before the end of his term during his second stint as chief executive of the Hawkeye State), Republican Albert Cummins in November 1908 (a few months before the end of his third term), and Democrat Harold Hughes on New Year’s Day 1969 (two weeks shy of the end of his third term). Only one other Iowa governor failed to complete their term: Republican William Beardsley passed away in November 1955 approximately seven weeks prior to the end of his third term.

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