Craig James Jumps Into Texas Senate Race

College football analyst Craig James left ESPN on Monday, and entered the Republican race for the open U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

He submitted his paperwork to the Republican Party of Texas on Monday, the last day of the normal filing period.

''Washington is busted up, and I understand how the economy works because I have been concerned about continuing to provide jobs in this economy, not 10 years ago, not 15, not 20 years ago. I live in this economy, I get it,'' James told the AP.

The race for the Senate seat which is being vacated by retiring Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, is host to a number of established politicians. James faces an uphill battle against a crowded field of candidates who have been campaigning and meeting in candidate forums across the state for months.

''We need someone from what I call Real Street; this is what separates me (from the other candidates),'' James told the AP.

Roy Bailey is a close friend and Republican fundraiser who on Monday said that James's candidacy was good for the state.

''It's great for Texas. Anytime you have someone with Craig's street smarts and business sense and willingness to serve the public, it's a great thing,'' Bailey said according to the AP.

James is more than likely counting on his name recognition from his work for ESPN as well as his ties to college football to offset his late entrance into the race. But his name could also hurt him.

In 2009, Texas Tech fired popular football coach Mike Leach, who holds the record for most wins in school history, after James complained to school administrators that Leach mistreated his son, who was a player for Leach.

Leach had denied mistreating the player and had said James called other coaches trying to get his son more playing time. Leach sued the University and named James as a defendant. The case is pending before the Texas Supreme Court.

The Republican primary is April 3.

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