Ashley Judd is the most discussed potential Democratic candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell' for his seat in 2014, but not all Kentucky Democratic statewide officers are supporting the idea. Auditor Adam Edelen said he'll be encouraging and supporting Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, for the 2014 senate race -- because of Grimes' focus on state, not national, issues.
“I think she’s a great candidate, she’s someone who draws a fantastic contrast with Mitch McConnell and she’s a great campaigner and has an outstanding network," Edelen said of Grimes.
To date, Judd's possible candidacy has received glowing remarks from Rep. John Yarmuth, the only Democrat in the Kentucky’s federal delegation.
But many activists are pointing to her stances against mountaintop removal -- and on coal mining in general -- as major liabilities in a hypothetical race against McConnell. Those include 2009 appearance at an anti-mountaintop removal rally on the state Capitol steps. The critics of a Judd candidacy also point to the fact that Judd currently does not reside in Kentucky, but instead in neighboring Tennessee.
Another potential Democratic candidate to run for McConnell's seat is Matthew Barzun, a former ambassador and fundraiser for President Barack Obama.
Grimes was the leading vote-getter in the 2011 statewide elections and her family has close ties with former President Bill Clinton, lending the opportunity for the former president to hit the campaign trail with Grimes should she run. Clinton was the last Democrat to win Kentucky in a presidential election.
Edelen said he hasn't had serious conversations with Grimes about running against McConnell.
“Not anything serious and nothing more than in passing, but Alison and I enjoyed campaigning a lot together last year, I think she would be an outstanding candidate and if she goes I look forward to supporting her,” Edelen said.
So far, Grimes has been non-committal about running in 2014.