State Watch

Texas oilman and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams dies at 88

Texas oilman, philanthropist and one-time gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams died Friday at the age of 88.

Williams died at his home in Midland, Texas, after a battle with pneumonia, his nephew Clay Pollard told the Associated Press.

An alumnus of Texas A&M University, Williams gave millions of dollars to the school over the years, and the school's alumni center is named after him.

He was also remembered by others in the Texas community as a "generous benefactor," according to the wire service.

State Sen. Kel Seliger (R) of Amarillo told the Austin American-Statesman that Williams "was a giant in our community and leaves a legacy that won't be soon forgotten."

Williams's 1990 run for Texas governor was derailed after he made a joke about rape, comparing it to the weather and saying, "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it." The then-candidate remarked on the comment afterward saying that it was "barnyard language." 

Despite being favorited in the race, Williams lost to liberal Democrat Ann Richards.

When asked if he thought the incident would tarnish his legacy in 2011, Williams replied: "There's nothing I can do about it. My grandfather had a saying: If you can do something about it, do it. If you can't don't worry about it."

Williams was also known for his colorful cowboy persona.

"He had just a huge personality," Pollard said. "He did things big. He was big in oil and gas. He was a wildcatter. He was a risk taker."

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