How Ann Richards Trumped Her Rival Clayton Williams

She was a seasoned politician and he was a businessman who made rape jokes. Sound familiar?

By Laura RiceOctober 10, 2016 12:49 pm,

He was a businessman who liked to brag about his financial success, cracked rape jokes around reporters and kissed “just about every woman within arms’ reach.”

She was a Democrat who shattered many ceilings, with real-world political experience and demanded that her opponent disclose his taxes.

These two also wouldn’t shake hands.

This season’s presidential race is giving a lot of Texans flashbacks of the 1990 gubernatorial race between politician Ann Richards and wealthy businessman Clayton Williams, known as Claytie. In fact, one longtime Texas politico has said that Donald Trump is “Claytie on steroids.”

If this year’s contest turns out anything like Claytie vs. the Lady, there’s one key demographic that can swing the vote. 

Margaret Justus, press secretary for former Gov. Ann Richards, says they focused on bringing out women to vote in her showdown with Williams for the governor’s seat in 1990.

“We had women in droves from Dallas County and Harris County come over for Ann,” Justus says.

Justus says Hillary Clinton knew, much like Richards did, that she was a “savvy, experienced politician running against a political neophyte.”

“Trump, though, did have experience being in public light,” she says, “but he did not have experience being a politician under a stark spotlight. And there’s a difference.”

Another similarity between Williams and Trump is their reluctance to release their income tax statements. Justus says the similarities between the two races – 26 years apart – are noticeable, but this year, fewer moderates means fewer opportunities for bipartisanship and election fatigue has set in.

“We had a lot more moderate Republicans who were able to get along with moderate Democrats,” she says. “I hope that with this election we just get it over with, for god’s sake. It just seems like it’s just not going to end. We’ll see something come from the new Republican Party and I hope it’s an opportunity for more reaching across the aisle.”

Post by George Economos.