Craig James Eyeing Texas Senate Run

Former football star and ESPN analyst Craig James is strongly considering a bid for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat.

News 8 talked to James who confirmed he is interested in getting involved in Republican Party politics, and he’s not ruling out a run for office.

James said in addition to his role as a college football analyst, he’s also been in business as a real estate broker and investor. He calls himself a conservative and very concerned about government intervention in business and health care.

James has been making the rounds meeting prominent Texas Republicans and donors raising his political profile, and he said he would not rule out running for the Hutchison seat. “I’m a Texan. I’m concerned for our country,” he said. “I disagree with the approach that we’re having, things that are taking place, and so whatever door opens up, I’ll look at it, if and when it opens up.”

James realizes his role in the controversy involving his son that led to the firing of Texas Tech Football Coach Mike Leach could affect him politically.
“Any mom or dad who knew what we knew at the time that we knew it would’ve taken the same action that we did,” he said. “Whatever the consequences are, we didn’t care about that. We cared about doing what was right and protecting and taking care of our son.”

His central message as a candidate for any office would be, “Why does the government have to be involved in everything we do?”

I’m guessing he’ll not get a lot of votes from Texas Tech fans, even though he was right to turn in Leach for his transgressions.  Josh Kraushaar says “he’d have a tough time winning many votes in west Texas right now. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call James one of the most loathed people in Lubbock.” See the comment thread on The Hill‘s coverage for a taste.  We’ve seen three prominent college coaches fired in short order for abusing the student athletes under their charge, so James was on the cutting edge of a revolution.

He was a legendary high school and college player in Texas, starring with Eric Dickerson as part of SMU’s Pony Express backfield before that team suffered the NCAA “death penalty” from which it is only now recovering.   After a brief stint in the defunct USFL, he played with the NFL’s New England Patriots and won an offensive player of the year award and Pro Bowl honors his first season.  He was the last Caucasian running back to rush for 1000 yards in a season, earning him the nickname “The Great White Hope.”  Injuries derailed his career shortly thereafter and he turned to broadcasting.

My reflex is to be skeptical when celebrities jump into politics at a high level, on the grounds that they don’t have policy experience.  But, given the depths to which the Senate has sunk, it’s hard to argue that more career politicians is what we need.  Alas, with his talk about a second American revolution, he’s not exactly my cup of tea.

via memeorandum

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Sports, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Our Paul says:

    This sounds just about right:

    My reflex is to be skeptical when celebrities jump into politics at a high level, on the grounds that they don’t have policy experience. But, given the depths to which the Senate has sunk, it’s hard to argue that more career politicians is what we need. Alas, with his talk about a second American revolution, he’s not exactly my cup of tea.

    But, will he be just what the tea bag crowd ordered? Will he be an empty headed Hoffman (NY 23) and be snapped up by Club for Growth? Only the Shadow knows!!!

    But there is hope, if he makes it to the Senate he sounds like the perfect candidate for the Banking Committee where dead wood Tim Johnson will probably reign as Chair.

  2. kth says:

    Hutchison isn’t giving up her Senate seat unless/until she beats Perry in the primary, which is marginally unlikely (Perry is up in the polls, and the current within the GOP favors the more conservative candidates).

    Even if Hutchison relinquishes the seat: James’ name recognition is more as a football analyst for the Bristol, CT based ESPN, than as an early 1980s standout for a now-moribund college football program. The Leach affair guarantees that James’ celebrity is, for conservative Texans, at best a wash, probably a bit of a liability at least at the moment.

  3. Trumwill says:

    It’s not just Texas Tech fans. The Houston Chronicle read an editorial in favor of the Leach firing and not only do the comments run overwhelmingly against the editorial, but the thumbs up/down ratings overwhelmingly show support for the hostile comments. The Houston Chronicle is hardly in Texas Tech country.

    With Mangino, once a couple complaints surfaced there was a tidal wave of allegations against him. Jim Leavitt was also a hard guy to defend. Leach, though, remains a lot more popular than the people that fired him and the ESPN analyst that lead the charge.

    James’s political career is over before it began.

  4. vnjagvet says:

    Remember Bill Bradley?!