The Vermont Republican would still trail two predecessors in lifetime gubernatorial service should he win and serve a fifth term

Four-term Republican Governor Phil Scott recently announced he would seek reelection in Vermont – all but guaranteeing the GOP will hold the state’s top elected office in the otherwise deep blue state.

Scott is widely popular in Vermont and consistently boasts one of the nation’s highest gubernatorial approval ratings.

Governor Scott’s margin of victory during his four previous bids for the office has grown each cycle from 8.7 points in 2016, 14.9 points in 2018, 41.1 points in 2020 (without a stand-alone Democrat on the ballot), and 47.0 points in 2022.

Assuming he rolls to victory once again in the August primary and November general election, Scott will be on his way to becoming the third longest-serving Vermont governor by the end of his fifth term.

To date, Democrat Howard Dean (1991-2003) holds the state mark for longest gubernatorial service at 11 years, 4 months, 27 days.

Dean ascended to the governorship after the death of Republican Richard Snelling (1977-1985, 1991) during the latter’s fifth nonconsecutive term.

After winning election to the office in his own right for the next five cycles, Dean is currently 48th in all-time statehood gubernatorial service in U.S. history.

The only other Vermont governor to reach the double-digit mark is Federalist Isaac Tichenor (1797-1807, 1808-1809), who won 11 non-consecutive one-year terms and ended his tenure with 10 years, 11 months, and 25 days in office (good for #52 all-time).

Other Vermont governors to win at least five terms via direct election are Democratic-Republican Jonas Galusha (1809-1813, 1815-1820) who was victorious in nine contests, Anti-Masonic William Palmer (1831-1835) with five, and Whig Silas Jennison (1835-1841) with five.

It should be noted that gubernatorial term lengths and limits have changed over the decades in the state. Vermont currently has no term limit for the office.

On the national gubernatorial service front, Washington Democrat Jay Inslee will be retiring in mid-January 2025 and exit with exactly 12 years in office – tied for 34th on the all-time list.

Inslee currently ranks 50th at 11 years, 3 months, and 29 days through May 14th and is poised to pass Utah Republican Gary Herbert and Howard Dean next month.

The next governor to reach the 10-year mark will be Texas Republican Greg Abbott, who will do so next January 19th.

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  1. Cecil Crusher on May 15, 2024 at 5:32 am

    “…in 2020 (without…” David Zuckerman also was the *Democratic* nominee for governor. However, his PRIMARY affiliation was (and is) with the Progressive Party – something that was (and is) permitted under the “electoral fusion system” of the state.

    Even if ex-GUV Dean were to become the nominee, Governor Scott would still be at least a precarious favorite, given his very high personal popularity and and the predilection of the voters to almost always retain incumbents – as Dean himself must be aware, having been resoundingly elected in 1992 in his retention bid (interestingly, his 2000 cycle turned out to be the weakest, nearly having the volatile three-way election to be decided by the legislature).

    • Dr. Eric Ostermeier on May 15, 2024 at 7:45 am

      Thanks for the clarification on Zuckerman in ’20 – the additional Democratic nomination he received was indeed reflected on the ballot.

  2. Azim on May 16, 2024 at 6:11 am

    Excited to see Phil Scott’s dedication to public service and eager to follow his continued climb in gubernatorial leadership!

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