The 1990 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 6, 1990 to elect the Governor of Texas. Incumbent Republican Governor Bill Clements did not run for re-election, so the election pitted DemocratAnn Richards against RepublicanClayton Williams. Richards narrowly defeated Williams on Election Day, winning 50% of the vote to Williams' 47%. As of 2019, this is the most recent election in which a Democrat was elected Governor of Texas.
Midland businessman Clayton Williams handily won the Republican primary. Williams's margin of victory, for example, exceeded that of former Congressman and soon-to-be-former Railroad Commissioner Kent Hance by more than 45 percentage points. Ironically, it was who did not run who perhaps had a good chance at winning re-election. T. Boone Pickens, CEO of Amarillo's Mesa Petroleum, was considered a likely candidate for much of 1989. However, on August 30, 1989, Pickens announced at a luncheon in Dallas that he would not run for the governorship in 1990. But Pickens, who also announced he would be relocating from Amarillo to Dallas, said he would consider a run for the governorship in 1994. 
George W. Bush, who had just become part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club, also declined to run for governor after briefly exploring a run for the governorship in 1990. He did so on the advice of his mother. 
Williams spent freely from his personal fortune, running a "Good Old Boy" campaign initially appealing to conservatives. Prior to a series of gaffes, he was leading Richards (the race was dubbed "Claytie vs. The Lady") in the polls and was in striking distance of becoming only the second Republican governor of Texas since Reconstruction. Meanwhile, Libertarian nominee Jeff Daiell was launching a TV campaign which, combined with personal appearances across Texas, boosted him to a showing of 129,128 votes. His drawing power made Richards the first Texas governor in many years elected without a majority.
In one of his widely publicized missteps, Williams refused to shake hands with Ann Richards in a public debate, an act seen as uncouth. Earlier, Williams made an infamous joke to reporters, likening bad weather to rape, having quipped: "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it". In addition, it has been claimed that as an undergraduate at Texas A&M, he had participated in visits to the Chicken Ranch, a well-known Texas brothel in La Grange, and the Boy's Towns of Mexico. As a result of his reported comments, Williams was occasionally parodied, such as in the mock political ad, "Satan Williams", which appeared on Dallas/Fort Worthpublic television during the 1990 campaign season. Richards was sworn-in as the 45th Governor of Texas on January 15, 1991.