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Ted Cruz: Half Governors & Half Senators

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Thanks to a media inquiry, I did a little fact-checking on Senator Ted Cruz's comment at the First in the Nation summit:

"Here’s what history teaches us. About half of the presidents have been governors; half of them, senators. There have been good and bad presidents who were both."

Is he close?

It is more complex than that, it is more like one third and one-third, and five presidents were both.  

The run-down is this with 43 presidents holding office:

Senators: 16
Governors: 18
Neither: 14

James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, William Harrison, John Tyler, and Andrew Johnson are counted in both categories, because they served as governors and senators.  Although Garfield was elected to the Senate in 1880, he never served since he became president, so he is in the neither category.

(Source: William A. DeGregorio and Sandra Lee Stuart, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee NJ: Barricade Books, 2013)

Bryan Craig is a Senior Researcher for the Presidential Oral History Program

Date edited: 04/24/2015 (4:45PM)


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