39 state executives left office early in 2021—the most since at least 2012

In 2021, Ballotpedia identified 39 irregular state executive official office changes—the most since we started tracking these changes in 2012. An irregular office change is when an officeholder leaves office before their term ends. 

Of the 39 who resigned, 19 were nonpartisan, 11 were Democratic, and nine were Republican.

One notable change in 2021 was the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (D) took his place as governor in August.

Of the 39 office changes, 18 were due to resignation, nine were appointed to another office, four left for the private sector, four left for political reasons, two retired, one passed away, and one (Kathy Hochul) succeeded the office of Governor of New York.

Of the offices vacated, attorney general, secretary of state, and public service commissioner were all tied for the most frequent resignations (six). The next-highest office was treasurer (three).

Between 2012 and 2021, there have been 29 irregular changes in public service commissioner offices; the most of any office. This is followed by the office of lieutenant governor, which has had 19 irregular changes, and superintendent of public instruction with 15 changes.

The three years with the most irregular office changes since 2012 have been those following a presidential election; Ballotpedia tracked 36 irregular office changes in 2013, 23 irregular office changes in 2017, and 39 irregular office changes in 2021.