If Ashley Judd challenges Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky senate seat in 2014, they may be the most visually different opponents ever. PHOTO: AP
Ashley Judd, yes, that Ashley Judd, star of movies like Heat and Smoke, and most recently appearing in the TV show Missing, is considering challenging Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when he runs for reelection in 2014. “She is doing all the things that a serious candidate exploring a race should do,” Democrat Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky told POLITICO. “I think there are a lot of people, and I was one of them, who wanted to let her know that her candidacy would be an exciting prospect for us. That’s what I wanted her to know. A lot of the labor unions, they were telling me that too.” She is currently doing opposition research against herself, to see what attacks the McConnell team would come at her with.
Judd, of course, would not be the first celebrity to make the leap into politics. Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger made the jump from screen to the California governor’s mansion, and more recently, Al Franken retired his Stuart Smalley bit and squeaked out a senate victory in Minnesota in 2008. In some ways, Ashley Judd would be the most ambitious of them all. She would be running as a liberal Democrat in a conservative state against the leader of the Senate Republicans.
Though Judd’s family has Kentucky roots going back eight generations, she currently splits time between Tennessee and Scotland, where her husband is from. She has never run for office, but Judd has made her presence known in a number of causes, including the AIDS epidemic, environmental protections, human rights in Africa, and abortion rights. Her liberal views could be a tough sell in a state generally considered to be a conservative stronghold.
Still, just looking at her and McConnell side by side. Judd is a fresh face, beautiful and dynamic. McConnell looks like he has kept himself alive for more than a century with some secret tonic available only to senators.