Could Craig James actually be leaving the broadcast booth after the 2011 college football season? Last week, Bloguin's college football site Crystal Ball Run (where I also work as an Executive Editor at Bloguin.com) received word from a source close to the situation that James plans on leaving the network at the end of the college football season to run for political office.
CBR sought comment directly from James regarding a possible political campaign and exit from ESPN. To his credit, James responded to the inquiry. Actually, he offered a classic non-denial instead of merely a "no comment." James wrote this in an e-mail statement to CBR about a possibly imminent political campaign:
"There are a significant number of strong business leaders in Texas that want me to run for office. But I love my current job and am heavily involved in college football and focused on my analyst responsibilities."
James' statement is interesting in that it leaves the door wide open for more questions to be asked about a long-rumored run for office, especially promoting his business connections in Texas. After all, even Urban Meyer flatly denied the initial reports linking him with the Ohio State job. James' comments don't confirm or refute the information given to CBR about his plans for the future.
In the last six months, AA readers have continually voiced their criticisms of the analyst. James won our Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament in a landslide to put his face on AA's Mount Rushmore and he currently leads the Pammy Awards by a mile. We've written about the ethical problems and lack of trust revolving around James several times, so maybe politics is his true calling.
Reports have been spreading for some time regarding James' interest in public office as a Republican candidate. James himself has made no secret about his desire to save the country. His organization "Texans For A Better America" was seen by many as a prelude to a run for office and this video reeks of a campaign ad. In early August, James said this regarding a future political candidacy according to The Hill:
"It's been on my radar for two years. And I've gone around the state and I've listened to people," James said on the "Coffee and Markets" podcast published on the conservative blog RedState. "I do believe right now it's too early to make that decision. In the state of Texas, no one's paying attention to the U.S. Senate race right now other than the hardcores. And I believe that somewhere late in the fall, it will become important and people will start paying attention."
James' name has been associated with the US Senate seat held by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is not running for re-election in 2012. The deadline for candidates to file in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate race in Texas appears to be January 1, so a departure around the end of the bowl season would make sense. We'll be following this story closely and will seek more information as it becomes available.
A shoutout to the entire Crystal Ball Run staff for their work on this story.