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. Frankie

    She is a smart lady graduating from UK with honors.

    February 19, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Snapshot

    Miss Judd would make a fabulous contender for Mr. McConnlel's seat.
    The GOP are worried sick about a challenge from intelligent Miss Juddd. McConnelll says he is not worrried. What! Karl Rove puts out a hate ad against her. You think not!

    Miss Judd is smart, intelligent. She would make a great ambassador to France...given she knows the French language fluently. She handles herself in a very professional way. I don't know, though, she may be lowering herself getting into politics.

    February 19, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Floyd from Illinois

    Chinless McConnell must really be running scared.

    February 19, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Pam from Iowa

    Oh, paaleeeze!
    Am I the only one who is getting tired of celebrities trying to get into politics??

    February 19, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Truth2012

    Amazing how they go after Ashley yet warped since of reality "NEWT" is their idea of the ideal American....
    Please... go get the obstructionist traitors...

    February 19, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. v_mag

    Ancient Texan - What makes you think the free-spending, never-pay-the-bills Republicans are the folks to stop the train wreck you talk about? After all, Ronnie Rayguns got us going by adding trillions to the national debt, and your home-boy GWB blew that debt out of sight with 8 years of unfunded wars, outright gifts to the 1%, and lack of economic oversight leading to the crash. If you're anywhere near as ancient a Texan as I am, and if Alzheimer's hasn't kicked in, you will remember all the damage done by your party, even if you won't admit it.

    How about just admitting that for once? Come clean about that. Your guys ruined the country more than anybody else did.

    February 19, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Namejerry

    I hope someone beats mcconnell.

    February 19, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC


    Ancient Texan – What makes you think the free-spending, never-pay-the-bills Republicans are the folks to stop the train wreck you talk about?
    The only time that Republicans notice spending is when they are not in the White House. Otherwise, they spend it like drunken sailors. The George W. Bush administration increased spending from year to the next from a low of 7% to a high of just over 9%. The increased the spending while implementing the biggest tax cuts since Reagan, and they did it twice.

    February 19, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. MTATL67

    The more they talk about Ms Judd the more it show just how scared McConnell is that she is going to jump in the race. I may live in Atlanta but I will give as much as I can to her campaign just as I did with Ms Warren in Massachusetts.

    February 19, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. DChicago

    So, trying to see if you can scare her off because you feel threatened by her. Makes sense.

    February 19, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Michael

    To have someone represent the state of KY like her in the senate would be a positive turnaround for a backward populace.

    February 19, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Animal

    No, please no. Kentucky has had enough problems.

    February 19, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. ART

    I'am confused did Mcconnell come out for blood or did he just decide to leave his coffin to see the sights

    February 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. dan

    Last time i checked Mcconell's approval rating in kentucky was about 30%. He seems to be a proud foot soldier in the Republican War on Women. Even if judd does not run, he makes himself look bad. Unforced error on his part like Aiken etc.

    February 19, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Michael

    Fired and ready to go( sound familiar )! Lets make Mitch a " Final Term " senator !!!

    February 19, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Michele

    Please Ashley, step up and help rid the country of Yertle McConnell.

    February 19, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. ray

    these crack heads who shoots kids in school and elsewhere, i wish they go into both houses of congress and aim on the right and do the same what the do to innocent kids and others and let this country gets on with its business and be abetter country without these racists on the right

    February 19, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Pander Bear

    This is going to completely backfire on McConnell. He's raising her profile and is coming across like an old misogynist white man in the process. She's quite intelligent and his trying to portray her as a "little missy who needs to sit there and look pretty" is not going to win him any female voters. He's creating his own demise. And I couldn't be happier.

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

    To the " other " Michael . That was a mean and biased statement about this beautiful , wonderful state . Yes we are conservative , but we are also diverse and educated as any other state . And yes we are very enthusiastic about Ashley running . Adios Mitch .

    February 19, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Foreseen

    Michael, I'll put my degree against yours any day.

    February 19, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. ratherbboating

    Didn't she spend time in a mental hospital for problems?

    February 19, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    Good for Ashley! (Aside from that disgusting movie 'Bug', I like her). I hope she runs against Mr. KKK and he loses horribly.

    February 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. eli

    Nice to know that she has lived outside the box and maybe she knows how the actual world works. You can love one state and be from another. Nothing wrong with that.

    February 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. California Gary

    The fact that they are already going after Judd, when she hasn't even decided if she will run, shows how vulnerable Mitch and his people think he is. The people of Kentucky probably thought they sent Mitch to the senate to try and accomplish some things for their state and for the country........instead, he focused all his time on only one goal.....making Obama a one term president.......and he failed at that. Mitch needs to go.

    February 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Kentuckian

    She won't win.

    February 19, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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