Meriwether Lewis was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson to be the governor of the Missouri Territory in February 1807 after he had returned from the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s Corp of Discovery in 1806.
His partner, William Clark, later became the governor of the Missouri Territory in 1813, a post he held until Missouri became a state.
Clark became a candidate to become the state’s first elected governor when the Missouri Territory gained congressional authorization to enter the Union in 1820.
His opponent was frontiersman and politician Alexander McNair.
Surprisingly, as famous as William Clark was, he did not win the election. McNair received 72% of the vote and was the State of Missouri’s first governor, serving from 1820 until 1824.
Missouri was not admitted to the Union until August 1821, 11 months after McNair took office.
A constitutional provision prohibited McNair from seeking reelection and Frederick Bates was elected as the second governor of Missouri in 1824.