Craig James Reportedly Riding Into U.S. Senate Race

The Dallas Morning News reported that the ESPN announcer and former SMU star will file for candidacy by Thursday.
Wed December 14, 2011 8:44 pm
Screenshot | Texans For a Better America

The Dallas Morning News reported that ESPN announcer and former SMU football star Craig James will file his candidacy for Kay Bailey Hutchison's senate seat by Thursday. James, who previously flirted with the notion in 2010 when Hutchison was thought to be resigning, is the founder of the conservative activist group Texans for a Better America.

"The promotional video for James' organization plays out as an elongated campaign advertisement, hitting all of the political sweet spots on his biography and ideological stances," wrote Amanda Sakuma of  Texas on the Potomac , before noting that "even with the momentum from highlighting his “God-given talents” and conservative values, James would still have an uphill battle in the Senate race against well-known (and very wealthy) Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert."

"Great news if you're a fan of inept political campaigns, or if you just want less awful announcing on your TV," cracked Richard Connelly of Hair Balls , who also speculated that James' "smugly coy" evasiveness about whether or not he accepted illegal benefits during his time at SMU wouldn't fly under the greater scrutiny of a political campaign. 

These days James is staring down another scandal, one involving his son Adam James, the Texas Tech player who was allegedly mistreated by former head coach Mike Leach. In the eyes of Leach and many Red Raiders fans, Craig James led the charge against Leach, who was eventually fired. Earlier this year, Texas Monthly 's Paul Burka reported on a poll which found that James was less popular with the people of Lubbock than President Barack Obama. (The reason for the poll was never publically revealed; it could have been for another senate hopeful, or it could have been related to Leach's lawsuit against James and Texas Tech.) 

In part because of his involvement in the Tech affair, James is also an unpopular announcer. As Deadspin noted, when ESPN Game Day went to the big LSU-Alabama game in Tuscaloosa last month, somebody held up a giant "FIRE CRAIG JAMES" banner ( #firecraigjames is also a popular Twitter hashtag).

"James has a modest intellect, speaks purely in vapid cliches, displays a smarmy bonhomie, works back-room channels like a snake and played football in the Southwest Conference," wrote Ty Duffy of  The Big Lead . "He’s shameless. He’s a natural name-dropper. In short, he’s the ideal Texas Republican candidate."

Like Rick Santorum , James also has a Google problem. Tim Rogers at D Magazine 's Frontburner blog aimed his computer keyboard squarely at this 800-pound gorilla, asking in his headline, "Did Craig James kill five hookers?"

As Rogers explained, "in your little Google box up there in the corner of your browser, start typing 'Craig James.' Watch for the first auto-fill option."

The result comes up because the college football blog  Every Day Should Be Saturday , disgusted with what they believe to be James' role in getting Leach dismissed, encourages all its writers and commenters—as well as other college football bloggers and message board posters—to include some variation on that phrase in everything they write. (For the record, nobody is saying that James actually did this.)

James is currently scheduled to call next Tuesday's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, for ESPN. On Tuesday a spokesman for the network said, "Craig told us today that he hasn't decided if he plans to run."

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