What you need to know about term limits in the 2019 gubernatorial elections

Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are holding elections for governor in November 2019. All three states have gubernatorial term limits, but only Mississippi’s incumbent is prevented from running for re-election this year. Thirty-six states have some type of gubernatorial term limit.
 
Kentucky limits governors from serving more than two consecutive terms. Kentucky’s constitution states, “The Governor shall be ineligible for the succeeding four years after the expiration of any second consecutive term for which he shall have been elected” (Section 71). Incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R) was elected in 2015 and is running for re-election on November 5, 2019, after advancing from the Republican primary on May 21, 2019.
 
Louisiana also limits governors from serving more than two consecutive terms. Louisiana’s constitution says, “A person who has served as governor for more than one and one-half terms in two consecutive terms shall not be elected governor for the succeeding term” (Section IV, Section 3b). Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) was elected in 2015 and is running for re-election in the Louisiana primary on October 12, 2019. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a general election will be held on November 16, 2019.
 
Mississippi, on the other hand, limits governors from serving more than two terms in their lifetime. Mississippi’s constitution states, “Any person elected to the office of Governor shall be eligible to succeed himself in office. However, no person shall be elected to the office of Governor more than twice, and no person who has held the office of Governor or has acted as Governor for more than two (2) years of a term to which another person was elected shall be elected to the office of Governor more than once” (Article 5, Section 116). Incumbent Gov. Phil Bryant (R) was elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, making him ineligible to run for re-election. Mississippi’s Republican and Democratic primaries were held on August 6, 2019. The Republican primary runoff was held on August 27, 2019, and the general election is scheduled for November 5, 2019.
 
 



About the author

Janie Valentine

Janie Valentine is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at janie.valentine@ballotpedia.org.

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