Perry's Term Thrice as Long as Average Texas Govs'

Texas Gubernatorial Term Lengths: 1846-2011
Texas Gubernatorial Term Lengths: 1846-2011

Most people know that Gov. Rick Perry, inaugurated to a third full term Tuesday, has served longer than any other chief executive in Texas history.

What's remarkable, though, is just how much longer than the state's previous governors — even those who've served during the modern era, according to historical data maintained by the Legislative Research Library.

This bar chart illustrates that longevity, which now spans more than a decade in office. No previous governor has served more than eight years, not even since the early 1970s, when the late Dolph Briscoe became the first governor under a new four-year gubernatorial term.

Perry has served four years longer than his predecessor, George W. Bush, who left early to serve as president. And he's served twice as long as 40 previous governors, including Ann Richards, Mark White and Bill Clements (who, in fairness, served two non-consecutive four-year terms). Since 1846, the average length of time in office for Texas governors is 3.5 years.

Assuming Perry doesn't run for president, or leave office early, he will have served Texas longer than the late Franklin D. Roosevelt served as president. FDR's tenure lasted just over 12 years.

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