For Kentucky political junkies, that's the big question surrounding a potential Ashley Judd challenge to Kentucky's senior U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell. Judd says she's considering what would be her first ever run at elected office, and that alone has been enough for a Republican PAC to target her with an attack ad.
The New York Times has this look at how some Democrats in Kentucky are viewing a potential Judd Senate candidacy, with some believing the actress has the star-power to challenge McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, but others saying she could be a liability to the party should she enter the race.
The lone Democratic member of Kentucky's Congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, is taking Judd very seriously.
“I would actually be surprised if she didn’t run right now,” Rep. Yarmuth told the New York Times. “She’s done everything a serious candidate would do.”
Actress Ashley Judd has made no decision about running for U.S. Senate, but the Kentucky native is already the subject of an attack ad. The online video was posted by the conservative super PAC American Crossroads.
The ad mocks Judd’s past comments about her commitment to President Obama, in which she calls him “brilliant” and says she “will go wherever the president wants me to go.” The ad also borrows a quote from Judd's grandmother who called her a “Hollywood liberal.”
The ad posted on YouTube goes on to show a clip of a speech the actress made in which she called Tennessee home. Judd grew up in Kentucky and went to college at U-K, although she has lived in Tennessee for several years. She was a Tennessee delegate to the Democratic National Convention last year.
A feisty Mitch McConnell promised to take the fight to any opponent as the Senate's top Republican got a head start on a 2014 re-election campaign that could squeeze him between challenges from his own party as well as from Democrats.
Kentucky's longest-serving senator opened a campaign office in his hometown of Louisville on Saturday, about a year earlier than in his previous campaigns. It was a clear message to critics as he vowed to wage the "biggest and best campaign this state has ever seen."
"They want to take me out," McConnell told a group of supporters. "This is the only race in the country with any national significance. And that's why we're up and running this far in advance."
The Senate minority leader then declared, "If they want to fight, we're ready."
The effort to legalize industrial hemp is picking up more support--this time, from the highest-ranking Republican U.S. Senator.
Kentucky's Mitch McConnell issued a statement Thursday announcing he now backs the legalization effort.
"After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy," said McConnell in his statement.
Politics makes strange bedfellows. That wise old adage is being proven once again in Kentucky, where some liberal activists and left-wing super PACs are telling Tea Party groups they'll support a conservative challenge against U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 GOP primary.
Politico reports the goal for liberals would be to "soften up" McConnell in the primary, in hopes that he would then be vulnerable against a strong Democratic challenger in the November general election.
No big-name Democratic challengers have thrown their hats into the ring yet, with only Owensboro home-builder Ed Marksberry so far committing to the race. Rumors have been swirling regarding a potential Senate run by Kentucky-born actress Ashley Judd, but Judd recently said she is undecided about entering the race.
McConnell finds himself taking heat from the right, with some Kentucky Tea Party groups accusing the GOP incumbent of being too moderate in recent negotiations over the fiscal cliff.
And a recent Courier-Journal Bluegrass poll shows 34% of those surveyed said they would vote against McConnell in 2014, with just 17% saying they'll vote for the Louisville Republican. Forty-four percent said they were undecided.