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Democratic Governors Association

Updated: 2017-08-03T21:09Z
Democratic Governors Association
ChairDan Malloy (CT)
Vice ChairJay Inslee (WA)
Founded1983; 34 years ago (1983)
Headquarters1225 Eye St NW Suite 1100,
Washington, D.C., 20005
Political positionCenter-left
AffiliatedDemocratic Party
15 / 50
United States President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Democratic Governors Association in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on 22 February 2013.

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is a Washington, D.C. based 527 organization founded in 1983, consisting of U.S. state and territorial governors affiliated with the Democratic Party. The mission of the organization is to provide party support to the election and re-election of Democratic gubernatorial candidates. The DGA's Republican counterpart is the Republican Governors Association. The DGA is not directly affiliated with the non-partisan National Governors Association. Elisabeth Pearson is currently the Executive Director of the DGA.

Founding and early years

The DGA in its current form was founded by Virginia Governor Chuck Robb in 1983 with the help of Democratic National Committee Chairman Chuck Manatt. The purpose of the committee was to raise funds to elect Democrats to governorships and to improve the partnership between Democratic governors and the Democratic leadership of the House and Senate. Prior to its current formation in mid-1983, they met in a Democratic Governors Conference.


The DGA played a pivotal role in the election of Bill Clinton to the Presidency in 1992. Under the leadership of DGA Chair and Hawaii Governor John Waihee, the DGA helped organize Clinton's "winning the West" campaign tour through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and California. Republicans had handily won in all but Washington and Oregon the previous three elections. According to The Washington Post,[1] it was "all but unthinkable to Republicans that the GOP could lose such stalwart pieces of the party's electoral base as Wyoming and Nevada." Clinton lost Wyoming but carried Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Recent history

In the past 30 years Democratic Governors have served in various other government positions after their tenure. The following list provides recent positions from the Clinton and Obama administrations.

Democratic Governors elected as President:

Democratic Governors appointed to the U.S. Cabinet:

  • Governor Richard Riley: U.S. Secretary of Education 1993–2001 (Clinton)
  • Governor Bruce Babbitt: U.S. Secretary of the Interior (Clinton)
  • Governor Bill Richardson: U.S. Secretary of Energy (Clinton), prior to becoming Governor of New Mexico
  • Governor Gary Locke: U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Obama)
  • Governor Tom Vilsack: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (Obama)
  • Governor Janet Napolitano: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (Obama)
  • Governor Kathleen Sebelius: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Obama)

Democratic Governors appointed to Ambassadorships:

  • Governor Mike Sullivan: U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (Clinton)
  • Governor James Blanchard: U.S. Ambassador to Canada (Clinton)
  • Governor Richard Celeste: U.S. Ambassador to India (Clinton)
  • Governor Gary Locke: U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Ambassador to China (Obama)
  • Governor Ray Mabus: U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (under President Clinton)

Democratic Governors elected DNC Chair:

Democratic Governors elected to the U.S. Senate:

This list only includes Governors who were elected or who had been re-elected to the Senate when the DGA was established. Thus senators such as Gaylord Nelson, Richard Russell Jr., Edmund Muskie, Majority Leader Joseph Taylor Robinson and etc. are not included. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, even though he was elected in a special election in 1966, is included in the list because he had won reelection in the years 1986, 1992 and 1998.

DGA leadership

The leadership of the DGA consists of elected Democratic governors.

Office Officer State Since
Chairman Dannel Malloy Connecticut 2015
Vice Chairman Jay Inslee Washington 2015

List of current Democratic Governors

There are currently 15 Democratic governors:

Current GovernorStatePastTook officeSeat Up
Jerry BrownCaliforniaList20112018
John HickenlooperColoradoList20112018
Dannel MalloyConnecticutList20112018
John CarneyDelawareList20172020
David IgeHawaiiList20142018
John Bel EdwardsLouisianaList20162019
Mark DaytonMinnesotaList20112018
Steve BullockMontanaList20132020
Andrew CuomoNew YorkList20112018
Roy CooperNorth CarolinaList20172020
Kate BrownOregonList20152018
Tom WolfPennsylvaniaList20142018
Gina RaimondoRhode IslandList20142018
Terry McAuliffeVirginiaList20142017
Jay InsleeWashingtonList20132020

In addition to governors of U.S. states, the DGA also offers membership to Democratic governors of U.S. territories.

Current GovernorTerritoryPastTook officeSeat Up
Ricky RossellóPuerto RicoList20172020
Lolo Matalasi MoligaAmerican SamoaList20132020

List of DGA Chairs

Current and former DGA Chairs.

1965John ConnallyTexas
1966–1967Harold HughesIowa
1968Robert McNairSouth Carolina
1969John DempseyConnecticut
1970Bob ScottNorth Carolina
1971Marvin MandelMaryland
1972Dale BumpersArkansas
1973Wendell FordKentucky
1974Wendell AndersonMinnesota
1975Philip NoelRhode Island
1976Reubin AskewFlorida
1977Patrick LuceyWisconsin
1978Jim HuntNorth Carolina
1979Ella GrassoConnecticut
1980Brendan ByrneNew Jersey
1981Jerry BrownCalifornia
1982John BrownKentucky
1983Scott MathesonUtah
1984Chuck RobbVirginia
1985Bruce BabbittArizona
1986Richard RileySouth Carolina
1987Michael DukakisMassachusetts
1988Bill ClintonArkansas
1989James BlanchardMichigan
1990Dick CelesteOhio
1991Roy RomerColorado
1992John WaiheeHawaii
1993David WaltersOklahoma
1994Evan BayhIndiana
1995Mel CarnahanMissouri
1996Gaston CapertonWest Virginia
1997Howard DeanVermont
1998Pedro RossellóPuerto Rico
1999Frank O'BannonIndiana
2000Paul PattonKentucky
2001Gray DavisCalifornia
2002Parris GlendeningMaryland
2003Gary LockeWashington
2004Tom VilsackIowa
2005–2006Bill RichardsonNew Mexico
2007Kathleen SebeliusKansas
2008Brian SchweitzerMontana
2009Christine GregoireWashington
2010Jack MarkellDelaware
2011–2012Martin O'MalleyMaryland
2013–2014Peter ShumlinVermont
2015Steve BullockMontana
2016–2017Dan MalloyConnecticut
2018Jay InsleeWashington

Executive Directors

1989Chuck Dolan
1990–1992Mark Gearan
1993–1998Katie Whelan
1999–2004BJ Thornberry
2005–2006Penny Lee
2007–2010Nathan Daschle
2011–2014Colm O'Comartun
2015–presentElisabeth Pearson


The DGA reported raising over $20 million in 2011, almost doubling what it raised during the comparable 2007 election cycle. "Because of our strong efforts in 2011, we will have the resources to aid Democratic candidates in targeted states and continue to fight for our core priorities: Jobs. Opportunity. Now.," DGA Chair Martin O'Malley said. Executive Director Colm O'Comartun added, "There is no doubt that we will face a challenging electoral environment in 2012, but our victories in 2011 showed that we know how to wisely and strategically deploy our resources. We are delighted with the continued support of everyone who believes in our mission of creating jobs and expanding opportunity now."[2]

Notable staff alumni

Several former DGA staff members have gone on to hold prominent positions in the government and in the private and non-profit sectors.

Former Communications Director Jake Siewert served as Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton for four months from 2000 to 2001. From 2001 to 2009, he worked for Alcoa Inc. In 2009, he became an advisor to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.[3]

Former Policy Director Sheryl Rose Parker was Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is currently Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[4][5]

Former Policy Communications Director Doug Richardson served as Director of Public Affairs at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Obama administration. He is currently Public Relations Director for R&R Partners.[6]

Former Executive Director Katie Whelan served as a senior advisor to (Republican) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is currently Senior Public Policy Advisor for Patton Boggs LLP.[7]

Former Executive Director Nathan Daschle is the founder and CEO of Ruckus, Inc., an online political engagement platform. He is the son of former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle. In October 2010, Daschle was recognized as one of Time magazine's "40 under 40" rising stars in politics.[8]

Former Executive Director Mark Gearan was director of communications during the Clinton administration and served as director of the Peace Corps. He is the current president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.[9]

Founding Executive Director Chuck Dolan is a Senior Vice President at kglobal and was appointed by President Clinton as Vice-Chair of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He is a lecturer at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.[10]


  1. ^ Devroy, Ann, "Clinton Takes His Case to GOP's Western Stronghold", The Washington Post, October 22, 1993, accessed August 8, 2011.
  2. ^ O'Malley, Martin. "DGA Continues to Break Fundraising Records". 
  3. ^[dead link]
  4. ^ "Pelosi Names Senior Staff To Speaker's Office". The Washington Current. February 10, 2007. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Cheryl Parker Rose - POLITICO Topics -". Archived from the original on October 23, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ "R&R Partners | Public Relations". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Patton Boggs | Professionals | Katie Whelan". Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Nathan Daschle". The Public Squared. Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  9. ^ "HWS: Office of the President". Retrieved 2014-08-10. 
  10. ^ Archived May 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.

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