In an election year that's left many Americans craving better options, a new analysis of state governor salaries might help explain why so many talented leaders avoid running for public office altogether.

In sum, it doesn't pay to be chief executive of a U.S. state. And certainly that applies to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Public payroll data from all 50 states indicates that the average U.S. governor earns $137,415 per year in salary, with variances ranging from a low of $70,000 to a high of just under $200,000 per year.

By those measures, the average governor's pay is nothing to slouch at — especially when considering that the median household income in the United States hovers around $52,000 per year.

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