JoinCalifornia: Election History for the State of California

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Below is a list of the individuals elected to state or federal offices in California, but who never took the oath of office. Most died before assuming office, while others declined to serve. This list does not include cases like Bruce Bronzan who declined to assume office after winning reelection in the 1992 General Election (but had already served in the State Assembly for a decade) or Don A. Allen, who was returned to the Assembly in a June 1956 special election but deferred his seating for the rest of the session. Allen had previously served more than nine years and would (starting in 1957) serve another eight.


Name Office Year Days Reason
La Fayette Dunlap State Assembly 1850 0 Died before assuming office.
Lindsey Carson (Sonoma)
State Assembly 1853 0 Declined to assume office. (1)
James H. Carson (Calaveras)
State Assembly 1853 0 Died before assuming office. (2)
Samuel Brannan State Senate 1853 0 Declined to serve.
James W. Mandeville Controller 1857 0 Declined to serve. (3)
Thomas Robertson State Assembly 1859 0 Died before assuming office.
James Otis State Assembly 1862 0 Declined to serve.
George W. Seaton State Senate 1865 0 Died before assuming office.
W. J. Maclay State Assembly 1879 0 Died before assuming office.
Robert Desty State Senate 1880 0 Disqualified; not a citizen.
William L. Morton State Assembly 1882 0 Died before assuming office.
Charles L. Pond State Senate 1890 0 Died before assuming office.
J. H. Krimminger State Assembly 1904 0 Died before assuming office.
Charles F. Van de Water U.S. Representative 1920 0 Died before assuming office.
Jan Leja State Assembly 2000 0 Declined to serve. (4)

(1) Lindsey Carson was elected in the 1853 General Election on October 8th. Carson declined to be seated. A Special Election to fill the vacancy was held on December 23, 1853.
(2) James H. Carson was elected in the 1853 General Election on October 8th. Carson died December 12, 1853, before qualifying. A Special Election to fill the vacancy was held on January 10, 1854.
(3) Mandeville was elected Controller in 1857 but declined to serve and never took the oath of office. He was reeelected in 1875 and served 62 days before he died.
(4) Leja agreed not to serve as part of plea deal relating to 
campaign finance charges.



California's shortest serving officeholders of state and federal offices are listed below. Some died before assuming office, while others resigned, died, or lost reelection soon after assuming office. One interesting story is that of AD-54 in 1903; A. D. Duffey was a member for 37 days between when he was sworn in and when his seat was successfully contested by Harry S. Wanzer who then served for 34 days before resigning.

There are a number of current state and federal officeholders who have served less than 365 days in their new offices and would qualify for inclusion on the "Shortest Terms in Office" list if they left office today. Those elected officials (and the dates of their 365th day in office) are:

  • US Senator Laphonza Butler (October 3, 2024)
  • State Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire (February 5, 2025)
  • US Representative Vince Fong (June 4, 2025)
  • Members of the State Legislative Class of 2024 (December 5, 2025)
  • Members of the Congressional Class of 2025 (January 3, 2026)
Name Office Year Days Reason
Jesse S. Pitzer State Assembly 1853 3 Won recount. Lost re-recount. (1)
Sean Wallentine Board of Equalization 2011 3 Term Ended. (2)
William B. Dickenson State Assembly 1849 4 Lost election recount.
Barnabas Collins State Assembly 1901 4 Died.
F. C. Clowdsley Assembly Speaker 1934 4 Extra Session ended.
Nathaniel Bennett State Senate 1849 5 Resigned.
Milton S. Latham Governor 1860 5 Resigned.
John G. Downey Lt. Governor 1860 5 Became Governor.
William Van Voorhies State Assembly 1849 6 Resigned.
Jonas Spect State Senate 1849 9 Lost recount.
James Schwab Secretary of State 2021 12 Weber Confirmed (2)
Dana P. Eicke State Assembly 1935 20 Died.
Kathleen Kenealy
Attorney General
2017 21 Becerra Confirmed. (2)
J. Matthew Rodriquez Attorney General 2021 31 Bonta Confirmed. (2)
C. J. Freeman State Assembly 1851 32 Resigned.
Nathan Porter
State Senate 1878 34 Died.
Harry S. Wanzer State Assembly 1903 34 Resigned.
Adrian C. Fondse State Assembly 1981 35 Lost election recount.
A. D. Duffey State Assembly 1903 37 Lost election recount.
Alexander Gordon
Railroad Commission
1911 39
Office abolished.
Jonathan Dudley State Senate 1883 40 Lost election recount.
Andrew Johnson U.S. Vice President 1865 42 Became President.
Samuel Boring State Senate 1887 42 Term ended.
P. B. Cornwall State Assembly 1850 43 Resigned.
James S. Gillan Controller 1861 44 Term ended.
Arthur H. Breed, Sr. Lt. Governor 1917 45 Session ended. (3)
William R. King Vice President 1863 45 Died.
Walter Van Dyke State Assembly 1853 46 Lost election recount.
Alfred Wheeler State Assembly 1850 47 Term Ended.
William Grove Deal State Assembly 1850 50 Term Ended.
J. J. McLaurin State Assembly 1897 52 Lost election recount.
J. B. McDonald State Assembly 1895 53 Lost election recount.
John H. Harper State Senate 1852 54 Lost election recount.
Edward F. Burton Controller 1857 55 Custodial officeholder. (4)
Thomas M. Storke U.S. Senate 1938 55 Term ended. (5)
Eli Wright State Senate 1905 57 Expelled.
James W. Mandeville Controller 1875 62 Died. (4)
Richard W. Heath State Assembly 1849 65 Resigned.
J. W. Van Benschoten State Assembly 1850 66 Resigned.
Charles H. Hempstead Secretary of State 1855 66 Term ended.
Frederick Woodworth State Senate 1857 66 Term ended.
Albert Hart Secretary of State 1894 67 Term ended.
Horace W. Carpentier State Assembly 1853 67 Seat declared vacant.
Charles A. Hughes State Assembly 1883 68 Died.
John W. Bones State Senate 1877 70 Term ended.
J. Clark Kelso Insurance Comm. 2000 71 Low confirmed. (2)
J. F. Stephens State Assembly 1849 79 Resigned.
C. V. R. Lee State Assembly 1853 81 Resigned.
Harry S. Truman U.S. Vice President 1945 82 Became President.
Steve Shea Board of Equalization 2009 83 Horton confirmed. (2)
Andrew J. Gallagher
Board of Equalization 1938-39 90
Term ended.
Alexander Anderson State Senate 1852 90 Resigned.
John L. Harmer Lt. Governor 1974 94 Term ended.
Charles T. Meredith Supt. of Pub. Inst. 1898 100 Term ended.
Richard Alarcon State Assembly 2007 102 Resigned
Doris Allen Assembly Speaker 1995 102 Recalled.
Orrin Z. Hubbell State Senate 1903 103 Died
John C. Bell State Assembly 1860 104 Died.
Vanessa Delgado
State Senate 2018 110 Term ended.
A. A. H. Tuttle Secretary of State 1863 112 Resigned.
Brian Setencich Assembly Speaker 1995 113 Successor elected.
Oliver S. Witherby State Assembly 1849 117 Resigned.
Henry Stanley Benedict U.S. Representative 1917 117 Term Ended.
Michael J. Burns State Senate 1949 119 Died.
William M. Stewart
Attorney General
1854 ~120 Custodial officeholder. (4)
William G. Wood Supreme Court Clerk 1907 122 Term Ended.
Henry P. Haun U.S. Senate 1860 123 Term Ended.
Leon E. Gray State Assembly 1919 133 Resigned.
Pierre Salinger U.S. Senate 1964 148 Resigned.
Jesse W. Carter State Senate 1939 155 Term Ended.
Harry I. Thornton State Senate 1861 164 Resigned.
Paul Peek Assembly Speaker 1939 170 Session ended.
George W. Wright U.S. Representative 1851 174 Term Ended.
Edward Gilbert U.S. Representative 1851 174 Term Ended.
John C. Fremont U.S. Senate 1851 175 Term Ended.
Jeff Marston State Assembly 1990 177 Term ended.
Domer F. Power State Assembly 1956 180 Term Ended. (3)
Clarence J. Tauzer State Senate 1948 188 Died.
Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Vice President 1901 194 Became President.
Chester A. Arthur U.S. Vice President 1881 199 Became President.
James A. Garfield U.S. President 1881 199 Died.
Mike Gordon State Assembly 2005 202 Died.
Walter J. Little Assembly Speaker 1995 202 Session ended.
Connie Conway U.S. Representative 2022 204 Term Ended.
Abrahm P. Williams U.S. Senate 1887 212 Term Ended.
Ivan C. Sperbeck Board of Equalization 1942 220 Term Ended.
E. J. C. Kewen
Attorney General
1850 231
William D. Stephens Lt. Governor 1916 236 Became Governor.
Mona F. Pasquil Lt. Governor 2009 236 Maldonado confirmed. (2)
Jesse W. Carter State Senate 1939 237 Resigned.
Gerald R. Ford U.S. Vice President 1973-74 246 Became President.
Washington Bartlett Governor 1887 248 Resigned.
Robert W. Waterman Lt. Governor 1887 248 Became Governor.
Phil D. Wilson Board of Equalization 1919 252 Died.
Clair Engle State Senate 1943 253 Resigned.
Will S. Green Treasurer 1898-99 256
Term ended.
Thomas M. Eaton U.S. Representative 1939 257 Died.
Abel Maldonado Lt. Governor 2010 259 Term Ended. (6)
Laura Richardson State Assembly 2007 261 Resigned.
Thomas H. Hendricks U.S. Vice President 1886 266 Died.
Kevin McCarthy (of CA) Speaker of the House 2023 270 Seat vacated.
Howard Way Senate Pres pro Tem 1969 273 Successor elected.
Frederick F. Low U.S. Representative 1863 274 Term Ended.
Charles H. S. Williams State Senate 1859 277 Resigned.
H. P. Sullivan
Secretary of State
1970-71 277
Term ended.
Romualdo Pacheco Governor 1875 285 Term ended.
Spencer G. Millard Lt. Governor 1895 287 Died.
Jack Schrade Senate Pres pro Tem 1970 294 Term ended.
Barbara Alby Board of Equalization 2010 297 Resigned.
Larry Stirling State Senate 1989 299 Resigned.
Walter Capps U.S. Representative 1997 299 Died.
Katie Hill U.S. Representative 2019 303 Resigned.
Andrew M. Wilson Railroad Commission 1907 315 Resigned.
A. W. Way State Assembly 1949 320 Resigned.
Tony Miller Secretary of State 1994 320 Term ended. (2)
James L. English
Treasurer 1857-58 326 Term ended.
Don Anderson State Assembly 1958 331 Term ended.
Curt Pringle Assembly Speaker 1995 332 Term ended.
Warren English U.S. Representative 1895 334 Term ended.
Orfa Jean Shontz Board of Equalization 1935 340 Resigned.
William B. C. Brown Controller
1876-77 343
Term ended.
Joe Baca State Senate 1999 351 Resigned.
Isaac N. Quinn
Lt. Governor
1860-61 354 Replaced as Senate President.
Jimmie Hicks State Assembly 1961 362 Died.
John McDougall Governor 1851-52 364 Term ended.
David C. Broderick
Lt. Governor
1851-52 364
Term ended.
John J. Benoit State Senate 2008-09 365 Resigned.
John Campbell State Senate 2004-05 366 Resigned.
Pablo De La Guerra
Lt. Governor 1861-62 369
Term ended.
Laphonza Butler U.S. Senator 2023-24 401
Successor elected. (7)

(1) Pitzer was sworn in when Assemblyman W. C. Martin was disqualified, but the disqualification was overturned three days later.
(2) This individual held this office in an acting capacity in accordance with Government Code section 1775.
(3) Breed actually served as Acting Lt. Governor on three occasions, for a total of 50 days in office.
(4) Similar to holding an office in an acting capacity, custodial officeholders were appointed to hold an office for a set duration while the incumbent was unable to perform their duties (for Stewart, until Attorney General McConnell returned to the state and for Burton, until the impeachment trial against Controller Whitman ended).
(5) The legislative body was not in session for the duration of the term after the election, so Storke never introduced bills or voted on any legislative matters.

(6) Maldonado actually served seven days past the end of his term after his successor, Gavin Newsom, delayed his inauguration as Lieutenant Governor.
(7) Currently serving. Appointed to the US Senate in October 2023 to fill the vacancy created by the death of Dianne Feinstein. Declined to seek reelection. Successor to be elected at November 2024 General Election. 401 days is from appointment to day after the General Election.