Did You Know 4 Michigan Governors Weren’t Born in the U.S.?
Not sure if you noticed, but another election season is upon us in Michigan. (If only there were TV commercials to remind us, right?)
The Michigan governor's race is one of the nation's most hotly contested in 2022, and it got us wondering... what does it take to run for governor of Michigan?
Turns out, there aren't a lot of requirements. According to state law, a resident has to be at least 30 years old. He or she must also "have been a registered elector in this state for four years next preceding his election."
That's it. There's nothing stating that someone has to be a Michigan native (as a matter of fact, less than a third of Michigan's governors were born in the state). There's not even a requirement that someone be born in the United States at all.
That got us wondering. Has Michigan had any foreign-born governors? The answer is yes.
47 different people have served as Governor of Michigan. These are the four that were born in places other than the United States.
Republican Fred Warner was Michigan's first governor to have been born outside the United States. Orphaned at three months old in Hickling, Nottinghamshire, England, he was adopted by a member of Michigan's House of Representatives as a baby and would grow up to realize his own political aspirations. Warner was elected to three 2-year terms as Michigan's governor, serving from 1905 to 1911.
WWII veteran and Democrat John Swainson served one 2-year term as Governor of Michigan from 1961 to 1963. Born across the river from Detroit in Windsor, Ontario, Swainson was raised in the Port Huron area.
The surname Romney is more associated with 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney these days, but Mitt comes from a political family. His father George Romney was born to American parents living in Chihuahua, Mexico, in 1907. The family would flee back to the United States during the Mexican Revolution. George Romney moved to Michigan in his early 30s, and would go on to serve as Governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969.
Democrat Jennifer Granholm was Michigan's first female governor, and served from 2003 to 2011. She was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, raised in California, and is currently Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy.