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Elected to be the first female Mayor of Austin as a Democrat, Strayhorn (then McClellan) campaigned unsuccessfully for a U.S. House seat as a Democrat in 1986. In 1994, Strayhorn (then Rylander) was elected as a Republican to be the first female member of the Texas Railroad Commission. In 1998, she was elected as a Republican to be the state's first female Comptroller and re-elected in 2002. A foe of incumbent Governor Rick Perry, she originally announced that she would run against him in the Republican primary, but then decided to run in the general election as an Independent. She runs second behind Perry in most polls.