Craig James eyeing politics, not ruling out U.S. Senate run



Posted on January 7, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 8 at 12:48 AM

DALLAS ― Former SMU football star and ESPN Analyst Craig James has made news recently regarding his role with his son and former Texas Tech Football Coach Mike Leach. But James could be making news this year in politics, too.

His name is being tossed around as a possible candidate to run for Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat when she resigns.

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 think Americans today, if you placed us back in 1765, it would be the same scenario,” James said. “We’ve got the American revolution taking place again.”

James says he’ll be the keynote speaker at a Texas Public Policy Foundation Luncheon in Austin next week, also being attended by Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. John Cornyn, as part of his entry into politics.

As a candidate he would have very high name identification with strong personal and family stories.

He'd need to persuade voters he understands the complexities of policy issues, but other former athletes have been successful in making that switch.