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 reelection, so the election pitted DemocratAnn Richards against RepublicanClayton Williams. Richards narrowly defeated Williams on Election Day, winning 49% of the vote to Williams' 47%. The 1990 election marks the last time that a Democrat was elected Governor of Texas.
Williams spent freely from his personal fortune, running a "Good Old Boy" campaign initially appealing to conservatives. Prior to a series of legendary 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. Senator John Tower had similarly refused to shake the hand of Democratic opponent Robert Krueger in a 1978 appearance in Houston but went on to win a fourth term by a narrow margin.
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. His sense of humor was again demonstrated when he urged Hispanic Americans to support his candidacy because he met Modesta in a Mexican restaurant. 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.