Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee
Speaker of the Tennessee Senate
Randy McNally
since January 10, 2017
TypeLieutenant governor
Member ofTennessee Senate

The lieutenant governor and speaker of the Senate of Tennessee is the presiding officer of the Tennessee Senate and first in line in the succession to the office of governor of Tennessee in the event of the death, resignation, or removal from office through impeachment and conviction of the governor of Tennessee.

Under the Tennessee State Constitution of 1870, the speaker of the Senate is elected by the Tennessee State Senate from among its members. The full title of the office is Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate; the title of lieutenant governor is granted to the speaker by statutory law enacted in 1951 in recognition of the fact that the speaker is the governor's designated successor; such has been the case since the adoption of the first state constitution and Tennessee statehood in 1796. The job is in theory a part-time one, paying $48,500 per year; the lieutenant governor is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly (the base pay for which is $16,500 per year), which is a legislature limited to 15 organizational days and 90 legislative days with full pay and expenses in each two-year sitting. The lieutenant governor as a member of the Tennessee Senate has a four-year term as a senator but is subject to reelection by his peers with each new legislature; as the senators' terms are staggered by class and there could be a 50 percent turnover in membership between one legislature and the next.

The current lieutenant governor is Randy McNally, who was elected to the post on January 10, 2017, and is the second (consecutive) Republican to hold the post since Reconstruction. He succeeded Ron Ramsey, who held the post continuously from 2007 to 2017.

Since Tennessee became a state in 1796, four speakers of the Senate have succeeded to the governorship:

Under the Tennessee Constitution, in the event of succession the Speaker does not become "acting governor" or "interim governor," but assumes the title and full powers of the governorship, much as the vice president of the United States becomes president upon the death, resignation or removal from office of the president. An important distinction is that if the speaker becomes governor during the first 18 months of the governor's four-year term, a special election for the balance of the term will be held at the next U.S. general election. If the speaker becomes governor after the first 18 months of the term, the Speaker will serve the entire remainder of the term. In either case, any partial term counts toward the limit of two consecutive terms. For example, if the current speaker, Randy McNally, had ascended to the governorship during the second term of Bill Haslam, he would have been eligible to run for a full term in 2018, but would have had to leave office in 2023. However, this provision has not been put into practice since the gubernatorial term was extended to four years in 1953.

List of officeholders

Before 1870

President of the Council of the Southwest Territory[1]
President Term Party Life Notes
Griffith Rutherford 1794–1796 1721–1805 The council dissolved upon the territory's admission as a state
Speakers of the Tennessee Senate, 1796–1869[2]
Image Name Term Party Life Notes
James Winchester 1796–1797 1752–1826
James White 1797–1798 1747–1821
William Blount 1798–1799 Democratic-Republican 1749–1800
Alexander Outlaw 1799–1801 1738–1826
James White 1801–1805 1747–1821
Joseph McMinn 1805–1811 Democratic-Republican 1758–1824
Thomas Henderson 1811–1813 Democratic-Republican 1742 –1832
Robert Coleman Foster 1813–1815 Whig 1769–1844
Edward Ward 1815–1819 d. 1837
Robert Weakley 1819–1821 Democratic-Republican 1764–1845
Sterling Brewer 1821–1823 1766–1852
Robert Weakley 1823–1825 Democratic-Republican 1764–1845
Robert C. Foster 1825–1827 Whig 1796–1871
William Hall 1827–1829 Democratic 1775–1856 Became governor upon the resignation of Sam Houston
Joel Walker 1829–1831 Whig 1789–1844
Burchet Douglas 1831–1833 Whig 1793–1849
David Burford 1833–1835 Democratic 1791–1864
Jonathan Webster 1835–1837 Whig 1779–1849
Terry H. Cahal 1837–1839 Whig 1802–1851
Thomas Love 1839 Democratic 1766–1844
Levin H. Coe 1839–1841 Democratic 1807–1850
Samuel Turney 1841–1843 Democratic c. 1795–1863
Josiah M. Anderson 1843–1845 Whig 1807–1861
Harvey M. Watterson 1845–1847 Democratic 1811–1891
Josiah M. Anderson 1847–1849 Whig 1807–1861
John F. Henry 1849–1851 Whig 1808–1884
Munson R. Hill 1851–1853 Whig 1821–1867
Edwin Polk 1853–1855 Democratic 1818–1854
Edward S. Cheatham 1855–1857 Whig 1818–1878
John C. Burch 1857–1859 Democratic 1827–1881
Tazewell W. Newman 1859–1861 Democratic 1827–1867
Burton L. Stovall 1861 Democratic 1812–1879
Edward S. Cheatham 1861–1862 Whig 1818–1878 The state government was replaced by a military government in 1862
Samuel R. Rodgers 1865 Unionist 1798–1866
Joshua B. Frierson 1865–1867 Unionist 1806–1876
Dewitt Clinton Senter 1867–1869 Republican 1830–1898 Became governor upon the resignation of William G. Brownlow
Philip P.C. Nelson 1869 Republican 1828–1880


The following is a list of people who have served as Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee (formal title: Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate) since the current Tennessee State Constitution was adopted in 1870. The title of Lieutenant Governor was formally added in 1951; however, the speaker of the Senate has been the designated successor to the governor of Tennessee since Tennessee achieved statehood in 1796. Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (who served 2007–2017) was the first Republican to hold this office since the adoption of the current constitution, all previous ones having been Democrats.


  Democratic   Republican

Lieutenant governors of the State of Tennessee
No. Image Name Term Party Governor(s) served under Life
1 Dorsey B. Thomas 1869–1871 Democratic None 1823–1897
2 John C. Vaughn 1871–1873 Democratic 1824–1875
3 A. T. Lacey 1873–1875 Democratic 1821–1878
4 Thomas H. Paine 1875–1877 Democratic 1836–1903
5 Hugh M. McAdoo 1877–1879 Democratic 1838–1894
6 John R. Neal 1879–1881 Democratic 1836–1889
7 George H. Morgan 1881–1883 Democratic 1841–1900
8 Benjamin F. Alexander 1883–1885 Democratic 1849–1911
9 Cabell R. Berry 1885–1887 Democratic 1848–1910
10 Z. W. Ewing 1887–1889 Democratic 1843–1909
11 Benjamin J. Lea 1889–1891 Democratic 1833–1894
12 William C. Dismukes 1891–1895 Democratic 1850–1903
13 Ernest Pillow 1895–1897 Democratic 1856–1904
14 John Thompson 1897–1899 Democratic 1852–1919
15 Seid Waddell 1899–1901 Democratic 1849–1921
16 Newton H. White 1901–1903 Democratic 1860–1931
17 Edward T. Seay 1903–1905 Democratic 1868-1941
18 John I. Cox[a] 1905 Democratic 1855–1946
19 Ernest Rice 1905–1907 Democratic 1872-1950
20 E. G. Tollett 1907–1909 Democratic 1864–1926
21 William Kinney 1909–1911 Democratic 1863–1928
22 Nathaniel Baxter, Jr. 1911–1913 Democratic 1844–1913
23 Newton H. White 1913–1915 Democratic 1860–1931
24 Hugh C. Anderson 1915 Democratic 1851–1915
25 Albert E. Hill 1915–1917 Democratic 1870–1933
26 W. R. Crabtree 1917–1919 Democratic 1867–1920
27 Andrew L. Todd Sr. 1919–1921 Democratic 1872–1945
28 William West Bond 1921–1923 Democratic 1884–1975
29 Eugene J. Bryan 1923–1925 Democratic 1888–1958
30 Lucius D. Hill 1925–1927 Democratic 1856–1933
31 Henry Hollis Horton[b] 1927 Democratic 1866–1934
32 Sam R. Bratton 1929–1931 Democratic 1864–1936
33 Scott Fitzhugh 1931 Democratic 1888–1956
34 Ambrose B. Broadbent 1931–1933 Democratic 1885–1952
35 Albert F. Officer 1933–1935 Democratic 1899–1965
36 William P. Moss 1935–1936 Democratic 1897–1985
37 Bryan Pope 1936–1939 Democratic 1893–1973
38 Blan R. Maxwell 1939–1943 Democratic 1899–1943
39 Joseph H. Ballew 1943–1945 Democratic 1886–1972
40 Larry Morgan 1945–1947 Democratic 1896–1965
41 George Oliver Benton 1947–1949 Democratic 1915–2001
42 Walter M. Haynes 1949–1953 Democratic Gordon Browning 1897–1967
43 Jared Maddux 1953–1959 Democratic Frank G. Clement 1912–1971
44 William D. Baird 1959–1962 Democratic Buford Ellington 1906–1987
45 James L. Bomar Jr. 1963–1965 Democratic Frank G. Clement 1914–2001
46 Jared Maddux 1965–1967 Democratic Frank G. Clement 1912–1971
47 Frank Gorrell 1967–1971 Democratic Buford Ellington 1927–1994
48 John S. Wilder 1971–2007 Democratic Winfield Dunn, Ray Blanton, Lamar Alexander, Ned McWherter, Don Sundquist, Phil Bredesen 1921–2010
49 Ron Ramsey 2007–2017 Republican Phil Bredesen, Bill Haslam b. 1955
50 Randy McNally 2017–present Republican Bill Haslam, Bill Lee b. 1944
  1. ^ John I. Cox became governor of Tennessee on March 21, 1905 when Governor James B. Frazier arranged his own appointment to a vacant United States Senate seat and then resigned as governor.
  2. ^ Henry H. Horton became governor of Tennessee on October 3, 1927 upon the death of Governor Austin Peay. The legislature at the time met on a biennial basis, so the position of Speaker of the Senate remained vacant until January 1929. During this period, the designated successor to the governor was Selden Maiden, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.


  1. ^ The five-man council was the upper chamber of the territorial legislature. Its members were appointed by the President of the United States, and the council president was elected by the five members. The council president was not the first in line of succession (this role fell to the Territorial Secretary).
  2. ^ Historical Constitutional Officers of Tennessee, 1796 - Present, Territory South of the River Ohio, 1790 - 1796. Retrieved: 29 November 2012.