What Are The Term Limits For Texas Governors?

As home to sprawling urban centers, rugged rural areas, and industries from tech to oil, governing the state of Texas is a monumental task. With so much power and responsibility invested in the governor, are there any term limits restricting how long they can serve?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There are no term limits for Texas governors. They can be elected multiple times without restriction under current Texas law.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the intriguing history of term limits and governance in Texas. We’ll look at past attempts to institute term limits, famous long-serving governors, current laws, and how Texas compares to other states when it comes to gubernatorial term limits.

Past Efforts to Establish Term Limits in Texas

Term limits have been a hot topic of debate in Texas politics for many years. Proponents argue that term limits can prevent the consolidation of power and encourage fresh ideas and perspectives in government. However, establishing term limits for Texas governors has proven to be a challenging task.

Failed constitutional amendments

Several attempts have been made to establish term limits for Texas governors through constitutional amendments. However, these efforts have not been successful. In 1995, a proposed amendment to limit governors to two four-year terms was voted down by Texas voters.

Similarly, in 2015, another proposed amendment to limit governors to two four-year terms failed to gain enough support.

These failed attempts can be attributed to a variety of factors. Some argue that voters prefer the ability to re-elect a governor they feel is doing a good job, while others believe that term limits can hinder the effectiveness of a governor’s ability to enact long-lasting policies.

Impact of FDR’s presidency nationally

The issue of term limits for governors is not unique to Texas. The debate surrounding term limits gained national attention during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt was elected to four terms as President, which led to the passage of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, limiting future presidents to two terms in office.

This national debate on term limits has influenced discussions at the state level, including in Texas. However, implementing term limits for state governors has proven to be more challenging than at the federal level.

Voter skepticism and wariness

One reason for the difficulty in establishing term limits for Texas governors is voter skepticism and wariness. While some voters support the idea of term limits, others have concerns about the potential negative consequences.

Opponents argue that term limits could result in a lack of experience and institutional knowledge among governors. They suggest that seasoned politicians with extensive knowledge of the state’s issues and history may be replaced by inexperienced individuals, leading to potential inefficiencies in governance.

Additionally, some voters are wary of limiting their own choices at the ballot box. They believe that voters should have the freedom to elect the candidate of their choice, regardless of how many terms they have served.

It is important to note that term limits for Texas governors are still a topic of discussion and could be revisited in the future. However, for now, Texas remains one of the states without term limits for its governors.

Notable Long-Serving Texas Governors

Allan Shivers

Allan Shivers holds the distinction of being the longest-serving governor in Texas history. He served as the 37th governor of Texas from January 1949 to January 1957. Shivers is remembered for his strong leadership during a crucial period in Texas history.

He played a key role in the state’s transition from a primarily rural agrarian society to a more urban and industrialized state. Under his leadership, Texas experienced significant economic growth, particularly in the oil and gas industry.

Price Daniel

Price Daniel served as the 38th governor of Texas from January 1957 to January 1963. During his tenure, Daniel focused on improving education and infrastructure in the state. He implemented reforms that led to the establishment of the Texas Education Agency and the creation of the Texas Department of Transportation.

Daniel’s efforts to improve education in Texas earned him the nickname “The Education Governor.” His commitment to public service extended beyond his time as governor, as he later served as a United States Senator.

John Connally

John Connally served as the 39th governor of Texas from January 1963 to January 1969. He is known for his leadership during a time of significant change and upheaval in the United States, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

Connally’s tenure as governor was marked by his efforts to modernize Texas and attract new industries to the state. He played a key role in the creation of the Texas Industrial Development Corporation, which helped to bring new businesses and job opportunities to Texas.

Rick Perry

Rick Perry is a well-known figure in Texas politics, having served as the 47th governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015. Perry holds the record for the longest-serving governor in Texas history, having served for a total of 14 years.

During his tenure, Perry focused on economic development and job creation, making Texas one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. He also championed conservative policies, including tax cuts and deregulation.

Perry’s tenure as governor propelled him onto the national stage, as he later ran for president in 2012 and 2016.

These notable long-serving Texas governors have made significant contributions to the state’s history and development. Their leadership, vision, and dedication to public service have shaped Texas into the great state it is today.

Current Laws Regarding Texas Gubernatorial Terms

No limits under Texas Constitution

Unlike some states, Texas does not impose any term limits on its governors. The Texas Constitution does not set a maximum number of terms that an individual can serve as governor. This means that a governor can potentially serve for an unlimited number of terms, as long as they are reelected by the voters.

The absence of term limits allows for continuity in leadership and gives governors the opportunity to pursue long-term goals and initiatives.

Four-year terms

Under current Texas laws, the term of office for the governor is four years. This means that once elected, a governor will serve a four-year term before facing reelection. This aligns with the standard term length for governors in many other states across the United States.

The four-year term provides governors with a reasonable amount of time to implement their policies and make significant contributions to the state.

Unrestricted reelections

Another important aspect of Texas gubernatorial terms is that there are no restrictions on the number of times a governor can be reelected. As long as the governor continues to enjoy popular support and wins the majority of votes during the election, they can serve multiple terms in office.

This allows a successful governor to build on their accomplishments and continue their work for the benefit of the state. It also provides the opportunity for voters to maintain stability by reelecting a governor who has proven their competence and effectiveness in office.

For more information on the current laws regarding Texas gubernatorial terms, you can visit the official website of the Texas Secretary of State.

How Texas Compares to Other States

When it comes to term limits for governors, Texas stands out among other states. While most states also have unlimited terms for their governors, there are some variations in the rules and regulations regarding the tenure of their state leaders.

Most states also have unlimited terms

Just like Texas, the majority of states in the United States do not impose term limits on their governors. This means that governors in these states can serve as many terms as they are elected for, as long as they continue to win the support of voters.

This practice is based on the idea that voters should have the ultimate say in determining whether a governor should continue in office or not.

Some have lifetime and partial limits

However, there are a few states that have implemented term limits for their governors. For example, in Ohio, governors are limited to two consecutive terms. They can run for re-election after sitting out for at least four years.

Similarly, in California, governors are also limited to serving two terms, but there is no requirement for a waiting period before running again. These term limits aim to prevent any single individual from holding power for an extended period and allow for fresh perspectives and ideas to enter the political arena.

Voters have a role in restricting tenure

In states where term limits are not in place, voters have the power to restrict the tenure of their governors through the democratic process. If voters feel that a governor has served for too long or has not effectively fulfilled their duties, they can choose not to re-elect them in the next election cycle.

This system allows for flexibility and adaptability in governance, as the will of the people can shape the political landscape.

For more detailed information on term limits for governors in different states, you can visit the National Conference of State Legislatures website, which provides comprehensive data and resources on this topic.


Texas has an intriguing history of lengthy governorships thanks to the lack of enshrined term limits. While caps have been proposed, none have become Texas law.

Today’s Texas governors can serve as long as voters continue to elect them, whether for decades at a time or intermittent non-consecutive terms.

With no term limits in Texas, gubernatorial tenure remains dependent on the will of voters rather than statutory restrictions.

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