Idaho’s Andrus, Smylie on top 50 list of longest-serving governors

Former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus and former Republican Gov. Bob Smylie appear on a list of America’s most grizzled governors.

The list appeared this week on the “Smart Politics” blog authored by Dr. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Andrus ranks No. 11, having served 14 years and 20 days, from 1971-77 and 1987-95.

But the 81-year-old Andrus has a Texan on his heels. If GOP Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t make good on his talk of secession from the Union, he’ll pass Andrus in January 2015. Perry became governor in 2001, succeeding to office when George W. Bush became president.

Smylie served 12 years, from 1955 to 1967. That ties him for 31st with seven former governors, all Democrats: Orval Faubus of Arkansas; Richard Lamb and Roy Romer, both of Colorado; John Burns and George Ariyoshi, both of Hawaii; Cal Rampton of Utah; and Edgar Herschler of Wyoming.

Smylie died in 2004.


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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