Which State Has Had the Most Governors Resign?

There's something about the tri-state that just leads to gubernatorial resignations, it seems

NBC Universal, Inc.

With Andrew Cuomo announcing his resignation as governor of New York on Tuesday, he became the ninth leader of the Empire State to leave office before their term was up.

He is the second New York governor to step down in the last 20 years. Eliot Spitzer did so in 2008 following the scandal regarding him spending thousands of dollars on sex workers. The only other governor to be impeached due to misconduct was William Sulzer in 1913, who had stepped down as impeachment proceedings were launched against him after being accused of campaign finance fraud.

With nine state leaders who have resigned, New York has had more governors step aside than most states. So which state has had the most? Well, you don't have to go far from New York to find the answer.

New Jersey has had 12 governors resign, according to Ballotpedia, the most in the country. However, that comes with a pretty large asterisk.

While, yes, the Garden State has had more governors step down, only one of them was as a result of a scandal or personal misconduct. The most recent one for New Jersey was when Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned in 2004 after admitting he had an extramarital affair with an Israeli man who was a gubernatorial appointee.

Nine of the other governors resigned to take different positions that they either ran for, such as U.S. senator, or were appointed to, such as a judge or administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, as Christine Todd Whitman did in 2001.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo leaves state government under a pall of sexual misconduct, but before that he might've been remembered for infrastructure and the pandemic. Melissa Russo reports.

So which state has had the most governors resign due to misconduct? Sorry, New York, that's still you. Its three resignations for personal misconduct are more than any other state. Most other states have only had one or two, and some haven't had any at all (Florida, Hawaii and Washington have never had a governor resign, for any reason).

Mississippi is the only other state that competes with New York on resignations for reasons not connected to new positions, health or personal reasons, but all of their instances come from the 19th century, according to Ballotpedia, and one of them isn't exactly misconduct.

In 1851, John Quitman (appropriately enough named) resigned after his advocacy for Cuba's independence from Spain was said to be a violation of U.S. neutrality laws. And in 1876, Adelbert Ames resigned in exchange for having impeachment charges waived by the state legislature, although no specific offenses were named, according to Ballotpedia.

Their other resignation that didn't fit other categories came in 1854, when Henry S. Foote stepped down from office after his opposition to secession led to heightened political tensions.

Copyright NBC New York
Contact Us