McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd
February 19th, 2013
08:41 AM ET
10 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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='KilloughCNN']

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. WachetAuf

    What liberal would in his right mind would want the likes of McConnell, Palin, Ryan, Cantor or Boehner defeated? Their re-election is essential to the defeat of the rigid right wing ideology. As long as they are the face of the GOP then the GOP loses ever time. So keep sending them back to Washington. Please. When you do not have candidates who look like Hitler or Stalin, McConnell, et al are sufficient.

    February 19, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. don in albuquerque

    Kentucky Secede Now!!!! Please.

    February 19, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. jj

    Senate, nothing. How about Ashley Judd as VP for President Hillary Clinton

    February 19, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. CB

    @Larry L who said "I'm from Texas and for the sake of America's future I'd support asking all of the South to quietly (and quickly) leave the United States. I'll "immigrate" to a blue state – if they'll have me once they know my place or origin...

    I'll sign the petition too.
    Come on up to the Pacific Northwest. We don't care where you are from, just where you are going. 🙂

    February 19, 2013 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Kentuckian

    To AZ Girl:
    Grow up. You have time to move to Kentucky, become a citizen of Kentcuky and vote for whomever you would like.
    In the meantime, stay OUT of politics in Kentucky, IAB!

    February 19, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Moderationplz

    Oh please, I am tired of seeing,"Low information voters" from ditto-heads parroting what the fat one Rush vomits. The only low information people are the ones who listen and watch Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, and Beck rather than read and look in depth about subjects. To just emote whatever these paid by number talking heads say is a total surrender to laziness and stupidity.

    February 19, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. lottie

    this is a well educated lady . I will wait and see what she has to say. Being an entertainer should have nothing to do with her deciding to run. What's wrong with you people are you prejudice against entertainers.???

    February 19, 2013 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. jms58

    I suppose Rand Paul is from Ky. More likely it's KY.

    February 19, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Cathy

    McConnell and company must be terrified of running against Judd, who is not even a declared candidate, to start attacking her so viciously.

    February 19, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. harbharb

    The liberals should be out to destroy the south because they are nuts. And I say this as a daughter of a Kentucky son. The right-wing lunatics need to go.

    February 19, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. us_1776

    Ashley Judd will win easily.


    February 19, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. Pete

    Just remember one thing republicans McConnell spending well over 10-1 over his past opponent just barely won.Ms Judd has deep financial pockets and her donors are world wide not just in Kentucky like McConnells..His end is near and after voting against his own proposal on the floor just recently you have to think he has her on his mind as his next and last opponent,one that'll send him packing to the rest home in the mountains of Kentucky!!

    February 19, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. Steve

    "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."

    Zealots have no sense of humor and even less a sense of "fun". I really have a problem with hypocrites.

    February 19, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Memo to McConnell: At a certain point in the campaign Perry, Romney, Gringrich, Trump and Cain decide to "have some fun" attacking president Obama. We all know the results. We can expect a repetition of the deed. Kentucky might send Judd to the Senate because they figure anyone would be an improvement over the man that publicly announced that his mssion was to make Obama a one term president. Money meant nothing. Have a care.

    February 19, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. bombastus

    Wasn't it McConnell who said that the number one priority of the GOP is to make Obama a one termer…not fix the economy….kick Obama out? Time to go, Mitch. He's the epitome of old out-of-touch white republicans. But Ashley Judd? Why the heck not. Could not be worse than what's in there now but Kentucky? No way. They'd elect a crippled possum before a Hollywood liberal.

    February 19, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. Royal Flush

    The GOP is probably worried that Judd could cause them a whole lot of trouble if she decides to run.

    February 19, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  17. me

    you lefties are all against career politicians...unless they happen to be democrats what a bunh of tools you truly are

    February 19, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. RapidOne

    Haha the scum are scared - the worthless to America Republicans are going down. There base is truly limited nowadays to the ignorant and hateful.

    February 20, 2013 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
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