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Governors impeached, removed from office

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A list of the eight U.S. governors impeached and removed from office:

WILLIAM W. HOLDEN of North Carolina, 1871.

Holden was removed after he sent a militia to quell violence by the Ku Klux Klan, and suspended the right of habeas corpus for accused Klan leaders. He also had several political opponents arrested.

DAVID BUTLER, Nebraska's first governor, 1871.

Butler was removed for misappropriating school funds, but the impeachment proceedings were later expunged from the legislative record and in 1888 he was elected to another term as governor.

WILLIAM SULZER, New York, 1913.

The state Senate convicted him of misappropriation of funds. Sulzer, a product of New York City's Tammany Hall political machine, snubbed its patronage demands after he was elected and launched an investigation of corruption. Legislators then dredged up charges of financial irregularities, which even some anti-Tammany forces agreed were true.

JAMES E. FERGUSON, Texas, 1917.

"Farmer Jim" Ferguson was convicted by the Senate on 10 charges, some stemming from a fight over control of the University of Texas. Ferguson resigned a day before his conviction was announced. His wife, Miriam "Ma" Ferguson, was twice elected governor, serving from 1925-27 and 1933-35.

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JOHN C. WALTON, Oklahoma, 1923.

He had declared martial law and ordered the National Guard to disband a grand jury that was investigating him. The House returned 22 articles of impeachment ranging from violation of the separation of powers to diverting public funds.

HENRY S. JOHNSTON, Oklahoma, 1929.

Johnston had ordered the National Guard to surround the Capitol to prevent the Legislature from assembling to investigate the governor. Johnston was impeached but not convicted in 1928, but was impeached again the next year and removed.

EVAN MECHAM, Arizona, 1988.

Mecham was convicted of attempting to thwart an investigation into a death threat allegedly made by an aide in fall 1987. The vote in the state Senate was 21-9, one more vote than the two-thirds needed. A second Senate vote then convicted him on an unrelated count.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois, 2009.

Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell the appointment to fill President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. He was impeached by the Illinois House on Jan. 9 and convicted and removed by the Senate on Jan. 29.


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