It was like a remake of The Cowboy and the Lady, except that this time they weren't friends. The 1990 Texas governor's race pitted Republican Clayton Williams, a politically conservative rancher and oil millionaire, against Democrat Ann Richards, an experienced progressive politician noted for her toughness and quick wit. Their differences offered voters a choice not only of policies and programs but also of stereotypes and myths of men's and women's proper roles.
Claytie and the Lady is the first in-depth look at how gender affected the 1990 governor's race. The authors' analysis reveals that Ann Richards' victory was a result of a unique combination of characteristics. She was simultaneously tough enough to convince voters that she could lead and feminine enough to put them at ease. At the same time, she remained committed to the progressive and women's issues that had won her the early support of feminists and progressives. The authors also show how Clayton Williams' appeal to the Texas cowboy myth backfired when he broke the cowboy code of chivalry to women.
The authors set their discussion within the historical context of twentieth-century Texas politics and the theoretical context of gender politics in order to pose a number of thought-provoking questions about the effects of women's participation in political life. Interviews with key players in the 1990 election, including Governor Ann Richards, add a lively and insightful counterpoint to the text.
Sue Tolleson-Rinehart is an associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University. Jeanie R. Stanley is Director of Research and Legal Support in the office of the Texas Attorney General.
"[Ann's] made it easier for every woman...Every schoolgirl in Texas can dream now. Used to be, when I was growing up in East Texas, the only role models were Ma Ferguson and the Kilgore Rangerettes. Now there's another."
"...a very significant contribution to gender politics...the first rigorous examination of the role of gender and sex role beliefs in an actual election—one that draws upon poll data and field interviews with campaign participants and observers, as well as a careful monitoring of written materials (press reports, campaign literature)."
—Janet K. Boles, associate professor of political science, Marquette University
"I am not aware of any other book which offers what this one does—a carefully researched and lively case study, placed thoughtfully in both historical and contemporary context, enlarging what is known and understood about the myriad impacts of gendered perceptions and expectations."
—Diane D. Blair, professor of political science, University of Arkansas
Liz Carpenter Award, 1994
The Texas State Historical Association