A Politico profile of Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell's reelection campaign describes the effort as using a "scorched earth" policy against any potential challengers.
McConnell has already aired $200,000 in TV and radio ads and has approached state Republican lawmakers in the state in an effort to "lock down" support in his party. The U.S. Senate Minority Leader could potentially face a primary challenge from the right, in addition to a potentially well-funded Democratic opponent in the general election.
With actress Ashley Judd announcing this week that she will not challenge McConnell, many political observers will now renew their focus on the possible Senate candidacy of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Actress Ashley Judd announced on Twitter Wednesday that she will not run for U.S. Senate in 2014. She had been rumored to be considering a run against Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.
In a series of posts, the Kentucky native and current Tennessee resident said "After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family. Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate."
"I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people & new leader. While that won't be me at this time, I will continue to work... as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: the people & their needs, dreams, and great potential. Thanks for even considering me as that person & know how much I love our Commonwealth."
It's likely that with Judd's announcement there will be increased attention on Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a potential Senate challenger many establishment Democrats favored over Judd in the first place.
High-ranking members of the Democratic Party—including a former President—are reportedly trying to convince a new candidate to challenge Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell next year. Some Democrats are concerned about the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd, who has been the subject of intense media speculation lately.
According to a report in Politico, some prominent Democrats are trying to convince Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes to launch a Senate campaign. The 34-year-old Grimes comes from a family with deep connections to Kentucky Democratic Party politics.
The online political journal says former President Bill Clinton met with Grimes for 35 minutes in Owensboro earlier this month, when Clinton was in town for a fundraiser benefitting the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center. Grimes has also reportedly met with officials from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) isn't ready to throw its weight behind a possible Kentucky Senate run by actress Ashley Judd. Politico reports the group's executive director, Guy Cecil, called Judd just one in a "handful of quality candidates in Kentucky" who could take on U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Cecil, in a conference call with reporters Monday, refused to deny a separate report in the Louisville Eccentric Observer that said the DSCC is reevaluating Judd, while giving a second look at another possible Democratic Senate challenger: Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Citing a poll that shows 55 percent of Kentuckians view McConnell unfavorably, Cecil described the Louisville Republican as "one of the most unpopular senators in the country."
Meanwhile, The Huffington Post's Howard Fineman has reported Judd has told advisors that she plans to announce her Senate candidacy around the time of the Kentucky Derby, which is May 4.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the $85 billion in broad-based federal spending cuts due to take effect on Friday "modest" and downplayed risks that the reductions would damage the nation's economy.
The Kentucky Republican's outlook on the potential ripple effects the cuts might have on a still-fragile economy differed starkly from officials in President Barack Obama's administration, who warned of dire consequences.
"This is a quite modest reduction," McConnell told reporters at Louisville's airport. "We ought to be doing a lot more than this."
The White House recently put out a news release showing that a cross-section of Kentuckians would feel the budget cuts.
Kentucky state Senate Democrats are largely lukewarm about the potential for actress and activist Ashley Judd entering the 2014 race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Judd's recent activity indicates a real possibility that she'll enter the 2014 race. She has met with Democratic senators, may soon speak with Gov. Steve Beshear and recently addressed on Twitter the controversial statements made by a liberal Super Pac regarding McConnell's wife.
Most state senators represent multiple counties and act as de facto party chairs for their districts—so their opinion will matter. With this in mind, we asked those 14 Democratic state senators whether they thought Judd was a viable U.S. Senate candidate.
Taken as a whole, Democratic state senators were unenthusiastic about the idea of a Judd candidacy.
But not all. Walter Blevins (Morehead), Kathy Stein (Lexington) and Gerald Neal (Louisville) expressed direct support for a Judd candidacy.
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.