The first governor to join that short list was New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R), who won his fourth four-year term in 1970, though he would resign just over a year before that term ended. Ohio’s Jim Rhodes (R) was next, winning his fourth (non-consecutive) term in 1978. The remaining men on that short list are: Alabama’s George Wallace (D), who won his fourth term in 1982; Idaho’s Cecil Andrus (D), who won in 1990; Louisiana’s Edwin Edwards (D), who won in 1991; North Carolina’s Jim Hunt (D), who won in 1996; and South Dakota’s Bill Janklow (R) and Wisconsin’s Tommy Thompson (R), who both secured their spot on the list in 1998.
If Kitzhaber completes the term he was elected to in November, he will claim the second spot on the list of longest-serving governors, behind Iowa’s Branstad. Brown would become the fourth, behind South Dakota’s Janklow.
Three dozen states impose gubernatorial term limits. In California, Brown has been able to win election to four terms because he served two before the state enacted a two-term limit in 1990.