Democratic Governors Association

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Democratic Governors Association
Chair Jay Inslee (WA)
Vice Chair Gina Raimondo (RI)
Founded 1983; 35 years ago (1983)
Headquarters 1225 Eye St NW Suite 1100,
Washington, D.C., 20005
Political position Center-left
Affiliated Democratic Party
16 / 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

Previously known as the Democratic Governors Conference within the Democratic National Committee, the DGA was founded by Virginia Governor Chuck Robb as an independent institution 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

Democratic Governors have served in various other government positions after their tenure. The following list provides recent positions from the DGA's formalization in 1983.

Democratic Governors elected as President:

Democratic Governors appointed to the U.S. Cabinet:

  • Richard Riley: U.S. Secretary of Education, 1993–2001 (Clinton)
  • Bruce Babbitt: U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 1993–2001 (Clinton)
  • Andrew Cuomo: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1997–2001 (Clinton), prior to becoming Governor of New York
  • Bill Richardson: U.S. Secretary of Energy, 1998–2001 (Clinton), prior to becoming Governor of New Mexico
  • Gary Locke: U.S. Secretary of Commerce, 2009–2011 (Obama)
  • Janet Napolitano: U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, 2009–2013 (Obama)
  • Kathleen Sebelius: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 2009–2014 (Obama)
  • Tom Vilsack: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, 2009–2017 (Obama)

Democratic Governors appointed to Ambassadorships:

  • James Blanchard: U.S. Ambassador to Canada, 1993–1996 (Clinton)
  • Richard Celeste: U.S. Ambassador to India, 1997–2001 (Clinton)
  • Ray Mabus: U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, 1994–1996 (Clinton)
  • Mike Sullivan: U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, 1998–2001 (Clinton)
  • Gary Locke: U.S. Ambassador to China, 2011–2014 (Obama)

Democratic Governors elected DNC Chair:

Democratic Governors elected to the U.S. Senate:

DGA leadership

The leadership of the DGA consists of elected Democratic governors.

Office Officer State Since
Chairman Jay Inslee Washington 2017
Vice Chairman Gina Raimondo Rhode Island 2015

List of current Democratic Governors

There are currently 16 Democratic governors:

Current Governor State Past Took office Seat Up
Jerry Brown California List 2011 2018 (term-limited)
John Hickenlooper Colorado List 2011 2018 (term-limited)
Dannel Malloy Connecticut List 2011 2018 (retiring)
John Carney Delaware List 2017 2020
David Ige Hawaii List 2014 2018
John Bel Edwards Louisiana List 2016 2019
Mark Dayton Minnesota List 2011 2018 (retiring)
Steve Bullock Montana List 2013 2020 (term-limited)
Phil Murphy New Jersey List 2018 2021
Andrew Cuomo New York List 2011 2018
Roy Cooper North Carolina List 2017 2020
Kate Brown Oregon List 2015 2018
Tom Wolf Pennsylvania List 2014 2018
Gina Raimondo Rhode Island List 2014 2018
Ralph Northam Virginia List 2018 2021 (term-limited)
Jay Inslee Washington List 2013 2020

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

Current Governor Territory Past Took office Seat Up
Ricky Rosselló Puerto Rico List 2017 2020
Lolo Matalasi Moliga American Samoa List 2013 2020

List of DGA Chairs

Current and former DGA Chairs.

Chair State
1965–1966 John Connally Texas
1966–1968 Harold Hughes Iowa
1968–1969 Robert McNair South Carolina
1969–1970 John Dempsey Connecticut
1970–1971 Bob Scott North Carolina
1971–1972 Marvin Mandel Maryland
1972–1973 Dale Bumpers Arkansas
1973–1974 Wendell Ford Kentucky
1974–1975 Wendell Anderson Minnesota
1975–1976 Philip Noel Rhode Island
1976–1977 Reubin Askew Florida
Patrick Lucey Wisconsin
Unknown Unknown
1978–1979 Jim Hunt North Carolina
1979–1980 Ella Grasso Connecticut
1980–1981 Brendan Byrne New Jersey
1981–1982 Jerry Brown California
1982–1983 John Brown Kentucky
1983 Scott Matheson Utah
1983–1984 Chuck Robb Virginia
1984–1985 Bruce Babbitt Arizona
1985–1986 Richard Riley South Carolina
1986–1987 Michael Dukakis Massachusetts
1987–1988 Bill Clinton Arkansas
1988–1989 James Blanchard Michigan
1989–1990 Dick Celeste Ohio
1990–1991 Roy Romer Colorado
1991–1992 John Waihee Hawaii
1992–1993 David Walters Oklahoma
1993–1994 Evan Bayh Indiana
1994–1995 Mel Carnahan Missouri
1995–1996 Gaston Caperton West Virginia
1996–1997 Howard Dean Vermont
1997–1998 Pedro Rosselló Puerto Rico
1998–1999 Frank O'Bannon Indiana
1999–2000 Paul Patton Kentucky
2000–2001 Gray Davis California
2001–2002 Parris Glendening Maryland
2002–2003 Gary Locke Washington
2003–2004 Tom Vilsack Iowa
2004–2006 Bill Richardson New Mexico
2006–2007 Kathleen Sebelius Kansas
2007–2008 Brian Schweitzer Montana
2008–2009 Christine Gregoire Washington
2009–2010 Jack Markell Delaware
2010–2012 Martin O'Malley Maryland
2012–2014 Peter Shumlin Vermont
2014–2015 Steve Bullock Montana
2015–2017 Dan Malloy Connecticut
2017–present Jay Inslee Washington

Executive Directors

Term Director
1983–1989 Chuck Dolan
1990–1992 Mark Gearan
1993–1998 Katie Whelan
1999–2004 BJ Thornberry
2005–2006 Penny Lee
2007–2010 Nathan Daschle
2011–2014 Colm O'Comartun
2015–present Elisabeth 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". [permanent dead link]
  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. Archived from the original on 2011-06-22. 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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