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Just Ask Us: How many Wisconsin governors have served nonconsecutive terms?

January 7, 2019
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Philip La Follette

Q: How many Wis. governors served nonconsecutive terms?

A: Only one governor of the state of Wisconsin served nonconsecutive terms in the office, although one governor of the territory of Wisconsin also served nonconsecutive terms.

Philip La Follette was elected as both the 27th and 29th governor of Wisconsin and served three terms total.

La Follette, the son of former Gov. Robert M. La Follette, defeated incumbent Walter Kohler in the 1930 primary and went on to win that year’s general election. La Follette was defeated in the primary two years later — Wisconsin governors served two-year terms until a state constitutional amendment upped that to four-year terms beginning in 1970.

La Follette then came back to win two more terms in 1934 and 1936.

Before Wisconsin joined the union as a state, Henry Dodge was appointed the first governor of the territory in 1836 and served through 1841, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Two territorial governors — James D. Doty and Nathaniel P. Tallmadge — were appointed to the positions in 1841 and 1844, respectively, before Dodge was appointed again in 1845 and served through 1848, when Wisconsin became a state.

— Shelley K. Mesch

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