Well, I hate to say I told you so. Ashley Judd has confirmed (maybe, kind-of) to “politi-friends” and key advisors that she will be announcing her candidacy against Senator Mitch McConnell on or near the date of the Kentucky Derby, held the first of May. McConnell, the most powerful Republican in the Senate as minority leader, is seeking his sixth term. Judd already has a pollster, and has been interviewing consultants and potential staffers, according to a Kentucky political insider.
Obviously, there are many that are taking Judd’s campaign seriously. As reported in a previous article written by this author, in which her progressive leanings were detailed, Judd has been “in-bed” with EMILY’s List, a grassroots national organization (PAC) with the sole purpose of raising money to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.
As for the GOP response to an imminent announcement by Judd, Karl Rove and his super-PAC, American Crossroads, released a scathing video mocking Ms. Judd’s intended run.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), has also added his two cents on a possible run. In December, he offered this opinion on candidate Judd during a radio interview. Sen. Paul described Judd as “way too damn liberal for our country,” and needled her for making one of her homes in Scotland. Paul also noted Judd’s opposition to some forms of coal extraction, which he said won’t fly in a state with an economy buoyed by the fossil fuel. “She hates our biggest industry, which is coal, so I say, good luck bringing the ‘I hate coal message’ to Kentucky.” Recently, Sen.Paul told CNN that Judd “doesn’t really represent Kentucky.” Paul then said, “Ashley Judd is a famous actress, she’s an attractive woman, and presents herself well and from what I understand is articulate.” He also emphasized that Judd “was a representative for Tennessee last year. She lives in Tennessee. So, yeah, I think you do need to make sure people know about that,” he continued. “So people don’t think she’s really from Kentucky or lives here.”
But, McConnell has his own problems. A recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll found that 34 percent of Kentucky voters said they planned to oppose McConnell, while only 17 percent said they would support him. Forty-four percent said they’d wait to see who ran against him before deciding whom to support. A poll is not the most trustworthy tool, as we witnessed in the presidential elections, but after reading various comments concerning Ms. Judd, it is easy to conclude that there are just as many on the right as there are on the left who adamantly oppose the re-election of Sen. McConnell who they see as not conservative enough.
Kentucky Democrats are certainly taking a Judd run seriously. In a recent article for NyMag.com, one Democrat, speaking to the Times, “dismissed concerns that Ms. Judd would be a liability. On the contrary, he said, she would neutralize Mr. McConnell’s fund-raising advantage and energize opposition”.
The “neutralizer”? Her millions versus his millions.
It’s a “win-win” situation if/when she runs. Even if Judd loses the race, she will have secured major financial contributions from Hollywood to the East coast to help ensure voter turnout for Kentucky state Democrats.