Patrick John Gunning (b. November 3, 1940, Aliceport, Scoita, is the 19th Governor of Scoita. He has held the position since 1991. Governor Gunning is considered to be one of the most active Governors in Georgeland, as well as the most contraversial, the most right-wing and the most consistently popular with the electorate.
Governor Gunning was born in 1940 in the small Scoitan town of Aliceport, the son of a state politican, George Gunning, who was the state's Attorney General at the time. He was sent to a Catholic boarding school in 1952 and upon leaving in 1958 attended Oxford University, graduating with a law degree in 1962. In 1964 he was admitted to the Bar.
A member of the Conservative Party of Georgeland since 1970, Governor Gunning became active in several political campaigns. He became the party's state Vice President in 1981. In 1984 he ran for the state legislature, but lost. In 1987, Gunning was appointed to the Scoitan Supreme Court as an associate justice. In 1990 he resigned to run for Governor, winning in 1991 with 65% of the vote against Geoff McGough.
Gunning is a staunch Roman Catholic and very conservative, opposed to all forms of abortion and gay rights. When the government of Campbell Rhodes succeeded in gaining the power to legalise abortion nationally in 1997, Gunning was a leading opponent and considered launching a legal challenge, though he eventually declined to do so. Gunning was also strongly opposed to the legalisation of stem cell research and human cloning in 2002 and the acceptance of gay marriage in 2004.
Under Scoitan law, he is not required to be non-partisan in his job, though he did not work actively against the Labour governments of 1988-1996. He has, however, become a firm ally of the Tory administrations of John Sutherland and Mick Pearson.
Governor Gunning was re-elected for a fourth term in 2003 with 60% of the vote against businessman Thomas Byers. Prior to the election he stated that his fourth term, ending in 2007, would be his last.
On August 3, 2006, Governor Gunning stepped down temporarily after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The Governor's office said he would remain stood down until such time as the Governor 'felt comfortable' resuming his duties. In the interim, Governor Gunning's office will be filled in an acting capacity by the Chief Justice, Murray Whelan, in the meantime. On August 23, the Governor's office issued a statement saying Gunning's condition had 'improved', and that he was expected to return to work within a week.