The Lieutenant Governor of Delaware is the second ranking executive officer of the U.S. State of Delaware. Lieutenant Governors are elected for a term of four years in the same general election as the U.S. President and take office the following January.
As in many other states, the Lieutenant Governor also serves as President of the State Senate; though in Delaware the only vote he or she can cast is to break a tie.
Although in practice the candidate for Lieutenant Governor is nominated as a ticket with the candidate for Governor, the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor are voted on separately in Delaware. In 1972, 1976, and 1984, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor were elected from different parties.
The National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) provides detailed information on the roles that Lieutenant Governors play in state government throughout the nation.
President of the Senate
The first constitutional duty of the Lieutenant Governor is to preside over the Delaware State Senate which consists of 21 senators. In the absence of a Lieutenant Governor, the Senate Pro Tempore may preside or appoint another Senator to preside over the Senate. The Pro Tem or other Senator presiding would be permitted to vote, whereas the Lieutenant Governor could vote only to break a tie.
President of the Board of Pardons
The other constitutional duty of the Lieutenant Governor is to serve on the Board of Pardons with the Chancellor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer and Auditor of Accounts. In the Lieutenant Governor's absence, the Board of Pardons will continue to have hearings and present their recommendations to the Governor.
There have been 25 different Lieutenant Governors in the State of Delaware since the office was created in the Delaware Constitution of 1897.
The office has been vacant for short periods on two previous occasions. They occurred when Lieutenant Governors assumed the office of Governor to complete the terms of Governors who had been elected to higher offices.
David Buckson served as Governor for 17 days in 1960. Dale Wolf served as Governor for 17 days in 1993.