Thirty governors have given their State of the State addresses so far in 2023

All 50 state constitutions mandate that the governor give an annual (or regular) report to the state legislature on the condition of the state. This speech is most commonly referred to as the State of the State address, although it is known as the Condition of the State address in Iowa and the State of the Commonwealth address in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. 

As of January 29, 30 governors—14 Democrats and 16 Republicans—have delivered their 2023 annual State of the State address to their state legislature. Eight more governors are scheduled to deliver theirs between now and March 7. 

Four of the governors who have delivered their addresses so far—Katie Hobbs (D-Ariz.), Josh Green (D-Hawaii), James Pillen (R-Neb.), and Joe Lombardo (R-Nev.)—were first elected in November of last year and were giving their annual report for the first time. The 26 other governors who addressed their state legislatures were returning incumbents. 

Besides reporting on the condition of their states, the governors also laid out their priorities and goals for this year’s legislative session in their addresses. Below you can see a word cloud of the most common words used in the addresses delivered by Democratic and Republican chief state executives so far this year.

While some words like “state” (used 1029 times), “people” (415) and “work” (357) feature prominently in both Democratic and Republican addresses, others appear more often on one side than on the other. 

In Democratic addresses, the words “housing” (used 158 times), “families” (145) and “health” (145 times) are near the top. In Republican addresses, the words “million” (used 207 times), “tax” (174), and “school” (172) are among the most common. 

Each year, Ballotpedia tracks all of the State of the State addresses given by governors around the country. To see a list of all the addresses given so far this year, click on the link below. 

Stitt, Hofmeister face off in Nov. 8 election for governor of Oklahoma

Incumbent Kevin Stitt (R), Joy HofmeisterNatalie Bruno (L), and Ervin Yen (Independent) are running in the November 8, 2022, general election for governor of Oklahoma.

Stitt was elected governor in 2018. Stitt has run on his record, saying “the momentum that we’ve created, and the momentum that we have to be a top 10 state—we’re halfway there. And I want to keep that momentum going. It’s unfinished business.” Stitt has campaigned on lowering the cost to do business in the state, improving public education quality, and increasing public safety. Stitt said, “We’ve been holding government accountable. We believe in small government, lower taxes.”

Hofmeister was elected superintendent of public instruction in 2014. Hofmeister has made education the centerpiece of her campaign, saying, “It’s time for an education governor.” Hofmeister has also campaigned on lowering the cost of healthcare and investing in infrastructure. Hofmeister registered as a Democrat on October 7, 2021, when she announced her bid for governor. She was previously registered with the Republican Party. In an interview, she described herself as “an aggressively moderate Democrat.”

Education policy has been a subject of disagreement in the election. In early 2022, Stitt endorsed and promised to sign Senate Bill 1647, which would have allowed eligible public school students to use state funding to pay for education services, including private-school tuition. The Oklahoma State Senate defeated the bill 24-22 in March 2022. Hofmeister opposed the bill. Stitt said, “We’re going to continue to invest in schools, but we want some of that funding to be fungible to fund the student, not necessarily the ZIP code where they ‘belong.’ Some of these school districts have high dropout rates or low test scores. They’re not going to fix themselves from within. We have to allow parents to vote with their feet.”

Hofmeister said, “We can’t afford to have someone profiting and take funds outside for private use when we do not have what we need right now for Oklahoma public school kids.”

At the time of the election, former Gov. Brad Henry (D), who left office in 2011 after serving two consecutive terms, was the last Democrat elected to statewide office in Oklahoma.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors. 

Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D), Joe Lombardo (R), Edward Bridges II (I), and Brandon Davis (L) are running in the general election for governor of Nevada

Incumbent Steve Sisolak (D), Joe Lombardo (R), Edward Bridges II (I), and Brandon Davis (L) are running in the general election for governor of Nevada on November 8, 2022.

Sisolak was first elected governor in 2018 after serving on the Clark County Commission and the Nevada Board of Regents. Discussing his performance as governor, Sisolak said that he is “committed to protecting the well-being of Nevadans who’ve called the Silver State home for generations,” which is why he “followed through on his promise to not raise taxes on everyday Nevadans, increased the minimum wage, and lowered health care, child care, and housing costs for families in every corner of our state.” Sisolak also highlighted his record on abortion, saying, “Governors like me are the last line of defense for protecting abortion access…I signed an executive order protecting anyone seeking reproductive care in Nevada from their states’ restrictive, anti-abortion laws.”

Lombardo served in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves, and the National Guard. After two decades as an officer in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, he was elected Clark County sheriff in 2014. Lombardo has been critical of Sisolak’s performance as governor, saying, “November is our chance to bring relief to our state. No more reckless spending. No more prioritizing criminals over citizens. No more fake promises. It’s time for Nevadans to stop paying the price for Sisolak’s failures…Say no to four more years of Steve Sisolak’s failed policies.” Lombardo has also been critical of Sisolak’s record on crime, saying, “Signing bills that create an environment of chaos. Preventing police from doing their jobs. Allowing criminals to walk the streets. Sisolak’s soft-on-crime policies are making our communities less safe!” In response, Sisolak released a campaign ad saying that homicide rates increased while Lombardo was sheriff.

Nevada has had a Democratic trifecta since 2019. Nevada does not have a state government triplex.

A state government trifecta refers to a situation where one party controls a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A state government triplex refers to a situation where the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state are all members of the same political party.

As of August 26, 2022, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors.

Four candidates running in general election for Arizona governor

Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake, Barry J. Hess (L), and Williams Pounds (Independent-Green Party) are running in the general election for governor of Arizona governor on November 8, 2022. Doug Ducey is not able to run for re-election due to term limits.

Hobbs, a former social worker, is the Arizona secretary of state, a position to which she was first elected in 2019. Hobbs served in the Arizona State Senate from 2013 to 2019. She also served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. Hobbs has said she would “veto unabashedly any further restrictions on access to reproductive health care, whether that’s family planning, birth control or further abortion restrictions.” Hobbs has also campaigned on border security, saying she will work “in coordination with those border communities, especially law enforcement, about the resources and support we can provide from the state to make sure that they have the tools they need to keep their communities safe.” Hobbs’ campaign website includes increasing technology and funding for sherrifs and law enforcement in border communities. Hobbs has also said he is “done kicking the can down the road on things like water and things like really, truly investing in public education.”

Lake, a former news anchor for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, said she is “running … on a platform of common sense conservatism dedicated to individual liberties, low taxes, limited regulation, and protecting Arizona’s great Western heritage.” Lake has campaigned on border security, addressing homelessness, banning critical race theory in school curriculums, and school choice. On protecting the border, Lake has said, “After I take my hand off the Bible, we are going to issue a declaration of invasion. We are going to finish President Trump’s wall, and we are going to send our armed National Guard to the border and stop people from coming across.” Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Lake in September 2021.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors. 

There are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control. A state government trifecta refers to a situation where one party controls a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. 

Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), and Betsy Johnson (I) lead field in Oregon gubernatorial race

Tina Kotek (D), Christine Drazan (R), Betsy Johnson (I), and R. Leon Noble (L) are running in the Oregon gubernatorial election on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Governor Kate Brown (D) is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Kotek, Drazan, and Johnson have led the field in fundraising and media coverage. Kotek is the former speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, Drazan is the former Oregon House minority leader, and Johnson is a former Oregon state senator. Johnson served in the state senate as a Democrat.

Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball wrote, “the state is hosting an unusual 3-way race among a trio of women who are all recent members of the state legislature. […] The race sets up an unusual situation where the winner may not need to crack even 40%.”

Writing about the July 29 gubernatorial debate, Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Dirk VanderHart said the candidates, “attempted to stake out the political lanes they hope to ride to victory in November: Kotek as the accomplished progressive, Johnson as the centrist unifier, and Drazan as the change agent for a state that has […] one-party control.”

In 2018, Brown won re-election against Knute Buehler (R) 50% to 44%. President Joe Biden (D) won the 2020 presidential vote in Oregon with 57% to Donald Trump’s (R) 40%. In 2020, Oregon held three statewide executive elections for secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general. Democratic candidates won each of these races by at least percentage 7 points.

Oregon has had a Democratic governor since 1987. Oregon’s most recent Republican governor was Victor G. Atiyeh, who served from 1979 to 1987. Since Oregon became a state in 1859, only one third-party or independent candidate has been elected governor: Julius L. Meier (I), who served from 1931 to 1935.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors.

Oregon has a Democratic trifecta. A state government trifecta refers to a situation where one party controls a state’s governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

As of August 29, 2022, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments where neither party holds trifecta control.

Incumbent Gov. Walz (D), Jensen (R), four others running in Nov. 8 general election for Minnesota governor

Incumbent Gov. Tim Walz (D), Scott Jensen (R), and four other candidates are running in the general election on November 8, 2022, for governor of Minnesota.

Walz was first elected in 2018, defeating Jeff Johnson (R), 54% to 42%. Walz succeeded Mark Dayton (D), who served as governor from 2011 to 2019. Since 1990, Minnesota has had two Democratic governors, two Republican governors, and one governor who was elected as a member of the Reform Party.

Heading into the 2022 elections, Minnesota is one of 13 states with divided government and one of two states—along with Virginia—where partisan control of the state legislature is split between Democrats and Republicans. Since 1992, Minnesota has had divided government for 28 out of 30 years.

The two most recent presidential elections in Minnesota were decided by seven percentage points or less. In the 2020 election, President Joe Biden (D) won the state over then-incumbent President Donald Trump (R), 52% to 45%. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried Minnesota with 46.4% of the vote to Trump’s (D) 44.9%. 

Thirty-six states are holding gubernatorial elections in 2022. Heading into the 2022 elections, there are 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors. Of those states holding gubernatorial elections, 20 hav a Republican governor, and 16 states have a Democratic one. In 2022, eight governors—five Republicans and three Democrats—did not run for re-election, with seven of those not running due to term limits.

Minor party candidates include Steve Patterson (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party of Minnesota), Hugh McTavish (Independence Party of Minnesota), James McCaskel (Legal Marijuana Now Party), and Gabrielle Prosser (Socialist Workers Party),

Minnesota is one of nine states where the lieutenant governor is chosen by each gubernatorial candidate before the primaries and runs on a single ticket in both the primary and general elections.

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Tim Michels wins Republican nomination for Wisconsin governor

Tim Michels defeated Adam Fischer, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Timothy Ramthun in Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial primary on August 9, 2022. Based on unofficial results, Michels received 47.1% of the vote and Kleefisch received 42.5%. Kleefisch and Michels received the most media attention and endorsements. Governor Tony Evers (D) is running for re-election.

Michels co-owned a construction company and served in the United States Army for 12 years. Michels campaigned as a political outsider and said he would “drain the Madison swamp.” Former President Donald Trump (R) and former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) endorsed Michels. In his statement of support, Trump said, “Wisconsin needs a Governor who will Stop Inflation, Uphold the Rule of Law, strengthen our Borders and End the well-documented Fraud in our Elections. Tim Michels is the best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions to these problems, and he will produce jobs like no one else can even imagine.”

Kleefisch was lieutenant governor under Gov. Scott Walker (R) from 2011 to 2019. Before that, she was a journalist in the Milwaukee area and started a marketing company. Kleefisch ran on her experience in office during the Walker administration and said she would reimplement several policies discontinued under Gov. Evers. Walker, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.), 58 members of the state legislature, former Vice President Mike Pence (R), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) endorsed Kleefisch.

In Wisconsin, gubernatorial candidates do not select their own running mates. The winner of the lieutenant gubernatorial primary is placed on the general election ballot alongside the winner of the gubernatorial primary. State Sen. Roger Roth won the lieutenant gubernatorial primary.

Heading into the general election, Wisconsin has a divided government. Gov. Evers is a Democrat, and Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature.

Trifecta status on the line in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election on Nov. 8

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), and three others are running in the general election for governor of Pennsylvania on November 8, 2022. Incumbent Tom Wolf (D) cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Shapiro was elected as attorney general in 2016 and served as Montgomery County Commissioner from 2011-2017 and state representative from 2005-2011. Shapiro’s campaign has focused on two key messages: his experience and work as attorney general and his potential ability as governor to veto legislation passed by the legislature’s Republican majority. Shapiro said his experience in the criminal justice system and on cases related to LGBTQ issues, workers’ issues, and election security are things he would continue to pursue as governor. Shapiro’s campaign website highlighted abortion and absentee/mail-in voting issues where he would veto legislation he disagreed with.

Mastriano was elected as a state senator from the Cumberland Valley in 2018. He served in the United States Army from 1988 to 2017. Mastriano also proposed a number of election policy changes, including eliminating no excuse absentee/mail-in voting and drop boxes, enacting universal voter identification, and prohibiting the use of private donations or grants for election administration. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and its overturning of Roe v. Wade, Mastriano called on the state legislature to pass a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Mastriano said he would rescind any remaining mask and vaccine mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic on his first day in office and work to pass a law banning similar future mandates.

How the state runs its elections has been one focus of each candidate’s campaign. As of 2022, the governor of Pennsylvania has the power to appoint a secretary of state charged with certifying election results, determining which voting machines the state uses, and ordering recounts and recanvasses of elections. Shapiro said, “[I will] appoint a pro-democracy Secretary of State to run our elections, expand pre-registration opportunities for young people, and implement same-day voter registration through Election Day.” Mastriano’s website said he would “Appoint a Secretary of State with experience in securing elections from fraud.”

Heading into the election, Pennsylvania has a divided government, with a Democratic governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. A Shapiro win would preserve this divided government, while a Mastriano win would create the opportunity for a Republican trifecta if Republicans also hold the state legislature. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship and a majority in both legislative chambers. Across the country, there are 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 divided governments.

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates include Christina Digiulio (G), Joseph Soloski (Keystone Party of Pennsylvania), and Matt Hackenburg (L).

Each candidate has a running mate for lieutenant governor. Shapiro’s running mate is state Rep. Austin Davis and Mastriano’s running mate is state Rep. Carrie DelRosso.

Kemp, Abrams, and three other candidates running for Georgia governor on Nov. 8

Incumbent Brian Kemp (R), Stacey Abrams (D), and three other candidates are running in the general election for governor of Georgia on November 8, 2022.

Kemp and Abrams faced each other in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, with Kemp defeating Abrams 50-49%. Georgia has had a Republican governor since 2003, and President Joe Biden (D) won the state by less than one percentage point in 2020. Politico‘s Brittany Gibson said Kemp and Abrams are “stuffing their campaign war chests for what is expected to be an expensive rematch,” and that “[t]he razor-thin margins for Georgia elections has made fundraising even more competitive since the last gubernatorial election.”

Abrams was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing District 89 from 2007 to 2017. She also served as House minority leader from 2011 to 2017, when she resigned her seat to run for governor. Abrams’ campaign has emphasized her position on abortion policy and gun regulations in campaign ads and statements. On her campaign website, Abrams said she would “[v]eto legislation that would further restrict abortion rights and work to repeal the 6-week abortion ban.” Abrams also said “violence our neighborhoods face is directly tied to guns and their availability and poor oversight in Georgia,” and that Kemp “cares more about protecting dangerous people carrying guns in public than saving jobs and keeping business in Georgia.”

Kemp was elected governor of Georgia in 2018. He was appointed secretary of state by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) in 2010 and served in the Georgia State Senate from 2003 to 2007. Kemp has emphasized economic issues as a key part of his campaign platform, saying he “put hardworking Georgians first by keeping our state open in the face of a global pandemic, bringing record economic success to communities across Georgia.” Kemp’s campaign said in a statement that Abrams’ policies “will only divide Georgians and hit their pocketbooks, Gov. Kemp will stay focused on helping Georgians fight through 40-year high inflation and the recession brought on by the Biden-Abrams agenda.”

This election has the potential to change Georgia’s state trifecta status. Georgia has had a Republican trifecta—meaning Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature—since 2005. 

Minor party, independent, and write-in candidates running for governor include Shane Hazel (L) and independent candidates Elbert Bartell and President Boddie.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors in the United States.

Alaska governor signs bill to formally recognize federally recognized American Indian tribes

On July 28, 2022, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) signed House Bill 123 (HB 123) into law, which would formally recognize 229 federally recognized American Indian tribes in Alaska. The bill was approved by the state legislature on May 17, 2022, before going to the governor’s desk.

“House Bill 123 codifies in law what Alaskans have long recognized: the important role that Native Tribes play in our past, present, and future,” said Gov. Dunleavy in a statement.

Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-38), who sponsored the bill, called this action long overdue. “While the inherent sovereignty of Alaska Tribes has been consistently affirmed in Federal policy, in rulings by the Supreme Court, and by Executive Order in 2018, the signing of House Bill 123 provides formal recognition in statute for the first time in our State’s history,” she said.

HB 123 adds a section to Alaska state statute that recognizes federally recognized tribes. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, a federally recognized tribe is “an American Indian or Alaska Native tribal entity that is recognized as having a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”

Initially, the move for the state to recognize American Indian tribes in Alaska came from a ballot initiative that was intended to be placed on the 2022 ballot. The initiative was filed by Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake, Chaa yaa eesh Richard Peterson, and La quen náay Liz on August 11, 2021. The Alaskans for Better Government PAC was registered in support of the measure. 

“With a respectful partnership we’ll have more ways to enhance the lives of Alaskans by streamlining services; partnering to amplify federal and state funding for deep, sustainable, and long-term impact; and tapping in to the 10,000 plus years of Indigenous brilliance, diversity, and knowledge of our Native homelands that so many now call home,” the Alaskans for Better Government campaign said, “The basis of any good relationship is respect, and too often when sovereign governments cannot work together our Tribal peoples disproportionately bear the price of injustice, diminishing equity, liberty, and freedoms for all.”

In Alaska, the initiative process for state statutes is indirect. This means that rather than a campaign submitting signatures to put the initiative directly on the ballot the initiative first goes to the state legislature. The state legislature then has a chance to approve or reject the measure. If the state legislature rejects the measure, the measure goes to the ballot for voters to decide. If the state legislature approves the measure, it goes to the governor’s desk for approval.

The Alaskans for Better Government campaign submitted 56,200 signatures on January 13, 2022. Of that total, 47,199 signatures were found to be valid on March 3, 2022. The number of required signatures to send the initiative to the state legislature was 36,140.

In 2021, several legislators introduced House Bill 123, which Alaskans for Better Government described as “functionally identical and… written to serve the same purpose” as the ballot initiative. Instead of considering the initiative, the state legislature approved HB 123 in May.

Since the measure was passed by the state legislature, it will not appear on the ballot but instead will go into effect immediately.

Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka called this formal recognition a ‘historic step’. 

“The cultural survival of our Indigenous people is dependent on our ability to maintain our values, practice our traditions, and maintain freedom to live our lives well with dignity and respect for each other,” she said. “We have strengthened our tribal governments and have initiated multiple efforts to continue our path to self-determination and self-governance. The formal recognition through this legislation is an historic step for us to have a successful relationship with the state.”

Additional reading:

Alaska 2022 ballot measures