Craig James seeks support for possible Senate run

By James Clark - email

DALLAS, TX (KCBD) - ESPN Commentator Craig James continues putting his toe in the water to see if he can successfully make a run for U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

James is best known in Lubbock as the father of Texas Tech football player Adam James.  Many blame the elder James for pressuring Texas Tech to fire football Head Coach Mike Leach in December 2009 amid allegations that Leach abused Adam James.  Leach denies any abuse occurred.

Monday morning on WBAP radio in Dallas, the elder James took questions from host Mark Davis and radio station callers.  The premise of the interview was that James is considering a run for Senate, but Davis made it a point to ask a few questions about Texas Tech and the perception that James is partly responsible for Leach's demise.

Davis asked, "Is it your feeling that you got to make this Tech thing go away if you have the slightest hope of success?"

Craig James responded, "You know what? I guess because I've lived it for over a year and I've seen the reaction around the country, Mark. Obviously it was a big deal. People come up to me from all over the country and say, 'Hey, thanks for standing up for your son.'"

Davis also asked about possible support, or lack thereof, in Lubbock.  James was on record in January saying most folks in Lubbock supported him, but James says he was quoted out of context.

James said, "Basically most folks in Lubbock and the good people of Lubbock understand the situation.  They understand supporting your son."

A poll conducted in West Texas and released Monday by Washington D.C.-based Lincoln Park Strategies shows a lack of support for James in the greater Lubbock area.  Lincoln Park says in a written statement, "While the entire region is not overly friendly territory for Craig James, he has an especially acute problem in the Lubbock area."

The written statement goes on to say, "52 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of James, including 35 percent who are very unfavorable. Furthermore, 71 percent of voters in Lubbock with an opinion on the matter say Coach Leach did not deserve to be fired; which includes 29 percent of voters who put the blame squarely on James' shoulders."

James also denied lobbying Leach's staff for his son Adam to have more playing time prior to Leach's firing.

As for politics, James says he believes in limiting the size of the federal government."... Give the states the rights.  We know locally what's best for us.  Our state knows what's best for us."

It's not just fiscal issues; James is also a social conservative.  "Hey, when I grew up you said, 'Yes ma'am, please and thank you.'  A man opened the door for a woman and they walked through.  Character, honesty & integrity mattered."

Although not the focus of the interview, at one point the conversation turned to James' days of playing football at Southern Methodist University.  The NCAA canceled SMU's 1987 schedule amid allegations that SMU had a slush fund and paid players under the table in violation of college football rules.  Did James take money during his time at SMU as other players have been accused of doing?

James responded, "Hey, I'm not going to tell you that once I was there that someone didn't shake my hand with a 20-dollar bill.  I'm an apartment boy.  Man, let me tell you what, when you're 18 years old and someone shakes your hand and you got $20..."

James also explained, "I never had a lifestyle-changing experience financially when I was there.  I still ate at Poncho's on Sunday night for $2.99, all you can eat..."

James says he wants to run for Senate to serve the America that gave him so many opportunities.

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