McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd
February 19th, 2013
08:41 AM ET
2 years ago

McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd

(CNN) – With more than 20 months to go before the midterm congressional elections, incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell's team is already attacking Democrats for not yet fielding a candidate to challenge the Senate minority leader.

McConnell's campaign released Tuesday its first web video of the campaign, a parody that attempts to depict President Barack Obama as being frustrated with the potential crop of Democratic contenders in the state.

Among those targeted include actress Ashley Judd, a potential Senate hopeful who's expressed interest in the seat and who's been on McConnell's radar for months.

The video features footage of Judd representing the neighboring state Tennessee, a state where she's lived for years, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She's also seen saying in the video that San Francisco is her "American city home."

The video continues a line of attack that blasts Judd for not being a true resident of Kentucky. While she partly grew up in the state and graduated from University of Kentucky, Judd has lived elsewhere as an adult, including California and Scotland. She was married to Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti, but they announced they were getting a divorce earlier this year.

Her website, however, labels Judd an "at least 10th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

Judd actively campaigned for Obama during the 2008 and 2012 elections and has been known for advocating for poverty reduction, immigration rights, environmental issues, public health, and human rights issues. She also graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a master's degree in 2010.

While she has stayed quiet on questions about a potential bid, she directed her Twitter followers this month to sign up for her newly-created mailing list.

"You'll be the first to know, well, all sorts of things," she wrote.

But the web video released Tuesday suggests that Judd is not Obama's type of candidate.

"We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target," Jesse Benton, McConnell's campaign manager, said in a statement. "We thought we would have a little fun with the problems they've been had (sic) finding someone to carry President Obama's banner in Kentucky."

McConnell, now in his fifth term, isn't the only one to preemptively go after Judd. American Crossroads, the conservative super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, spent $10,000 on a web ad earlier this month, also hitting Judd for her declared love of Tennessee, where she owns property and where she spent some time as a child.

"This is just a fun way to kind of get under her skin a little bit and kind of show her what a campaign would really be like if she makes this decision," Jonathan Collegio, the communications director for American Crossroads, told CNN on Thursday.

The nearly three-minute web video also makes light of other Democratic elected officials in Kentucky, including Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

READ MORE: Almost two years out, it's rough in Kentucky

In the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats will again seek to regain the House majority they lost in 2010. Republicans currently hold a 232-200 majority in the lower chamber. Three seats are vacant. In the Senate, Democrats will be defending 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs in 2014.

– CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Ashley Judd • Kentucky • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. steve

    I cant imagine KY voters voting for any Democrat. To much like the deep south.

    February 19, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. NFL

    And...what about her living other places...wasn't Cheyney from TX, but changed his "home state" to WY just to be allowed to be VP?? Didn't hear anyone complaining...and I am proud that Hillary Clinton served NY despite living in IL and AR.

    February 19, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Don

    Great, just what this country needs, another Hollyweird politician.

    February 19, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. lolo

    Is old mush mouth running scared? Quit blaming President Obama for this. Blame you and your big mouth. Kentucky is tired of old coot McConnell. He has been in the senate to long and is definitely racist. I hope Ms. Judd wins. Wake up Kentucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. connielynda

    The liberal machine is moving in to all cities across the South. They are rallying democrats who live in the South to run for political office. The liberal machine is out to destroy the South because they are church going, gun-owners, & conservatives who value family & morals. Liberals will NOT rest until they demean every single person who is not a liberal. They will move to places & live amongst those they HATE in order to convince conservatives they are nice people. Do not believe a liberal. As we see from the Obama administration on its daily rant against republicans and the destruction of Mitt Romney (whom they claimed murdered a woman (& people believed it(. Democrats will stop at nothing to spread their plan of equality of misery throughout our nation. Liberals are buying Southern newspapers & filling it with liberal crap. They are teaching the children. They are in the colleges/universities. They are on network TV spreading the idiocy of their so-called "free-thinking", "guilt-proof" way of life trying to brainwash conservatives to think as they do. It is a cancer spreading very fast. Stop this ACTOR from becoming another liberals making personal decisions for you. This woman must be taken on NOW; question her views; protest everywhere she goes. Work for conservatives in your area & contribute to their campaigns. Liberals will not stop until they have destroyed everything good, fair, profitable & moral. They have already done it in many towns/cities in America. Wake up folks. Ashley is one drop in a pool of contaminated water that has spread to sicken our nation.

    February 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. gg

    Looks like Mitch Mcconnel is using Obama tactic, remembered what Obama's campaign did to Romney? that's exactly what's Mcconnel is doing to Judd: identify her before she interoduce herself.

    February 19, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Joe

    Sounds like what the Former Repub Presidential loser did when he ran for Gov. of Mass. I think what is good one should be good for all. Hate for him to start tripping over his feet this early in the process.

    February 19, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. independant jim

    any one that doesnt stink of Bigotry- Coruption and Selfishness is doomed in KY the only true Americans in KY are the horses

    February 19, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. NamBrittee

    Someone is running scared!!! Remember the nasty adds won't help you win!! It didn't work for Rommney

    February 19, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. larry,oakland,ca

    They are trying to bully her and intimidate her .... bad move old white boys club ... she has courage, charisma and intelligence.

    February 19, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. wooville

    Rand Paul....not from Kentucky (and wish he'd go back to whichever rock he crawled out from under), so I believe Ashley can lay more claim to Kentucky than he can

    February 19, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. jake

    Wow..the democrats don't even have a pick for the state and the gop are already scared out of their minds. Just tells you the truth about the gop. They know they have become a redundant party and cannot be taken seriously anymore. The beginning of the exctintion of the gop. And not a day to soon either.

    February 19, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. penguin

    I lived in Kentucky five years and was impressed (in a negative way) with how ignorant a large portion of the population is. All politicians in Ky are controled by the coal industry. Mountain top removal is prophecy- you know, the mountains shall be lowered and the valleys raised. It's biblical

    February 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Dan5404

    McConnell is running scared. No one starts a campaign against anyone before they've even declared. His total negatavism and plot to cause Republicans to not do anything to help the economy or Obama do anything continues for a 5th year. His leadership has failed and he has allowed his House of Representtives to be taken over by the right-wing minority Tea Party and Grover Norquist. However, any state that would elect Rand Paul to any office or allow McConnell to end the two-party system with filibusters during an 8 year Democrat term wouldn't vote for anyone that would work for the good of the country anyway. I lived there for almost 40 years and hate to see it turned into another civil-war throwback, because there are a lot of Democrats and moderates in the state, trying to move forward.

    February 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. banasy©

    Weel, go ahead and attack everyone who may run against you, Senator, even those who are not in politics... Stay classy.

    February 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. devin

    Lovely, a certifiable loon wants to jump into politics. She will probably do well.

    February 19, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. ohio

    i feel badly for my neighbors to the south. Ohio has almost turned blue and i say come on Ky.
    get some decent candidates and go after it!

    February 19, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    Republicans have to be the biggest hypocrites ever. You bash any and everyone democratic that has ANY affiliation to Hollywood, yet you praise Ronald Reagan and his prune of a wife. Were they not actors?? My question is exactly when did Hollywood become persona non grata?? It couldn't be after Reagan..... If so how did Arnold become a GOP favorite?? At least until it came out that he had a thing for old, fat chicks that clean his house.

    February 19, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. TPF

    She's too off the looney charts to be a serious candidate. We already have an overload of these!

    February 19, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Pander Bear

    Connielynda – you forgot to add that liberals are adding fluoride to the water in a conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    February 19, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. Frank Lindsey

    I'm a Kentucky resident and would gladly vote for Ms Judd. Mitch has damaged both my state and country, he needs to GO!

    February 19, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Me

    Two things. Carpet bagging is as American as apple pie. She isn't really doing that.
    Second the GOP has no room to attack Hollywood candidates. How about Fred Thompson or that old guy Ronnie Reagan. Also didn't they parade Clint Eastwood for votes.

    February 19, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. chris

    the best thing that could happen to the Republicans is giving Obama a majority in the House and Senate at midterm. We all witnessed first hand the horrible beating having all three gave the Democrats in 2010. Who is Obama going to blame then? Oh yeah. right. Anyone else....

    February 19, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. KY Rick

    Mitch is very powerful..a true toe taper that will never come out. For so many years he and Congressman Hal Rogers have brought billions in federal funds to unneeded and unwise government programs all the while talking out of the other side of their mouths about reducing government spending. With their power they took control of the Tbaggers and instead of being at the top of the Tbag hit list they were controling it. Ashley Judd would make an excellant Senator but my fellow Kentuckians prefer talk to action and prefer deals made in the mens room during toe taping.

    February 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. AZ Girl

    All of you posters spouting about "egotistical, far left, liberal Hollwood celebrities" that "don't know anything about politics", please tell me one thing:

    What part of "Master's Degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University" are you not understanding? It's not like she passed the most prestgious actors workshop in NY. Oh wait, I think she might have!

    A woman with beauty, poise, and brains. Kentucky would be well represented.

    February 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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