McConnell campaign puts the spotlight on Judd
February 19th, 2013
08:41 AM ET
8 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.

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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. geggyg

    Did mcConnell criticise Romney for him having 3 home states during the Presidential election , Utah, Michigan and Massachusets, he kept claiming all 3 states as his home states during the campaign.

    February 19, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. Malory Archer


    Wow. All the Obama trolls out in force. Ashley Judd?? What a farce.


    No, the REAL farce is a career politician and his mouthbreathing brethern attacking a private citizen.

    February 19, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. Neil

    Mitch 'the turtle' has to go, he's a disgrace to the senate and to the American electoral system. I believe Ashley would fight for the average American, not big money interests. I would love to see a US senate with both Warren and Judd in it.

    February 19, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. RJ

    Great.. just what we need. Another celebrity holding political office.
    And what are her qualifications beyond being rich enough to afford a run?

    February 19, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  5. Atul C.

    Wow, liberals are on a troll. Obama and his thuggery has shown in last couple of elections to depict what really politics is? From no issues, they made issues. Now that you have voted a guy who have never had a job, pay the consequences. Gas prices are $4+, jobless situation not improving, Korea has nuclear tested twice, ready for the third and Iran is happily enriching uranium. Americans are getting killed around the world. World still hates us.

    February 19, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. yanni

    What can I do to help Ashley Judd?

    February 19, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    McConnell must be running scare since he is spending resources to target Judd who isn't an official candidate. He should spend more time worrying about his own party. Tea Partiers want to purge him from the party.

    February 19, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. encie

    ashley judd is for the people and that is why it scares the heck out of mcconnell. she is not a member of the clan that is only interested in money for them selves and their corporate buddies

    February 19, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Al-NY,NY


    The egos of these hollywood actors are mind boggling. Sure Ronald Reagan became president but he was active in politics his entire life and was governor of California. Ashley I recommend that you start out running for city council first and maybe get a little experience under your belt.

    do the names Fred (Gopher) Grandy (Republican) and Arnold S- (Republican) ring a bell? At least Sonny Bono (R) was mayor of Palm Springs

    February 19, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    She has only expressed interest and is getting hammered about having connections to other states. This is too much. I guess that he has to show his "manhood" and pound her down before she even officially gets into the race.

    February 19, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Ancient Texan

    Another far left celeb that thinks they have all the answers as to what this great nation needs.... They live in the World of Make-Believe folks and are removed from reality.

    February 19, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Jimmy

    Nice to see everybody getting along.
    Thanks to the left wing folks we now have the TEA party.
    Judging from the comments we are more divided than under GWB.
    Thanks Mr. POTUS for bringing us together...........

    February 19, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. ezduzit757

    This is just a ploy. They WANT her to run and are trying to goad her into it. They think they can beat her and are afraid they would loose to a more serious democratic cantidate – and they're right, they would. All the dems have to do is play McConnell saying "Our number one goal is to make Obama a one term president" over and over – interspersed with commentary like "not jobs", "not the economy", "not the deficit", "not bringing our soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan", no, Mich McConnell's number one priority was making Obama a one term president. To hell with the country, let's just do whatever it takes to make Obama a one term president.

    February 19, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. nothing new here

    Each state has residency requirements for certain government jobs and elected positions. The current laws of each state should be the guideline to determine who can run for public office.
    So why are we having this conversation?
    I swear, these politicians and their stupid rhetoric – it is an insult to the American people.

    February 19, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. It's simple, really

    We can all agree, can't we, that it's time for Mitch McConnell to head to the pasture?

    February 19, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    How could she do worse then brain dead mc mummy.he's failed at everything and only makes the economic worse, gop out in 2014!!!!

    February 19, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. B

    Old man McConnell is obviously scared out of his wits!

    February 19, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    I see Karl Rove's talking points are making the CNN air waves via his regiment of talking parrots. Jimmy comes to mind.


    February 19, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. For what it's worth

    And all the democrats need to do is show any video of the cross eyed goon the republicans have elected the last couple of terms. Keep repeating that his one and only goal was to disrupt congress the last 4 years and is responsible for the slow growth of our economy.

    February 19, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Mr.Bobo wrote:

    The egos of these hollywood actors are mind boggling. Sure Ronald Reagan became president but he was active in politics his entire life and was governor of California. Ashley I recommend that you start out running for city council first and maybe get a little experience under your belt.
    Actually, Republicans aim higher than a Senate seat.
    I cite the example of then radio host Herman Cain running for POTUS.

    February 19, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. HenryMiller

    Yet another rich Hollywood Leftist determined to raise everyone's taxes...

    February 19, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Katie

    I wish I lived in Kentucky, I'd vote for her. I think she truly wants to help the US. And unlike many of her potential colleagues, I don't believe she could be swayed by money.

    As an aside, I truly wish there were term limits on senators and representatives. The fact that there isn't is half of our problem, imho.

    February 19, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. McBob79

    No chance... she needs to move to New York, California or Minnesota...those loons elect celebrities.

    February 19, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  24. Oh Well

    Ancient Texan

    "They live in the World of Make-Believe folks and are removed from reality."


    You're right. She should run as a Republican.

    February 19, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. ashley

    Get her out. She is a racist liar coming from a screwed up family. We do not need her political racist views.

    February 19, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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