Craig's GOP connections could help late Senate run

By Jim Vertuno

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Dec. 16 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

James also is a political novice who has never held elected office. He would be joining a primary already crowded with wealthy, powerful and experienced candidates.

"Late starts are just killers," Miller said. "If you want to succeed in this business, you've got to give yourself time to campaign and raise money. He's done neither of those."

But James has friends among key Texas Republicans and could marshal a team of heavyweight fundraisers to help him catch up.

Bailey has worked with former New York mayor and former Republican presidential candidate Rudy Guliani.

Jim Lee, a Houston investor who was Gov. Rick Perry's campaign finance chairman in 2010 and is helping raise money for Perry's presidential campaign, is one of three founding partners on Texans for a Better America, a nonprofit James set up in April to promote conservative policies.

Lee, who did not return telephone messages seeking comment Friday, has already sent potential James supporters an email trying to drum up financial commitments.

James also is a board member at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that is highly influential with Texas Republicans.

He will need those connections and national fundraising muscle to compete. He will likely find it difficult to raise enough money in Texas alone to effectively compete with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and his $200 million personal fortune, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz, all of whom have spent months campaigning, raising money and collecting endorsements.

That means James will have bank on his contacts and fans outside the state to finance his campaign, something that his celebrity and name recognition should make easier.

After college, James was drafted by the Washington Federals in the USFL and signed with the Patriots before the 1985 season. He retired from football in 1989.

As a businessman, James has been involved in ventures providing video content for the Internet as well as real estate holdings and development, according to the Texans for a Better America website.

Associated Press reporter Danny Robbins in Dallas contributed to this report.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere