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. joe dokes

    Wow! Mr. Turtlehead must be afraid of losing... to a GIRL.

    February 19, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. BCW

    It is too early to speculate. What GOP and Karl did on TV ads shows weakness; not strengths.

    February 19, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Ed Philpot

    She'd be the choice of the low-information voters, inner city food stampers and union workers sitting around demanding more coffe breaks. The illiterates in KY are teh Democrats and she has their votes too.

    February 19, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    "The liberal machine is out to destroy the South because they are church going, gun-owners, & conservatives who value family & morals."

    No, Liberals are getting tired of the hypocrisy that comes from folks – regardless of where they live – who whine about "big" government, but don't have a problem with taking in more in federal aid than their state pays into the kitty; who think that reasonable regulation of weapons is the same as confiscation; who believe that parking their fanny in a pew once a week gives them a lock on what it means to have values, morals, ethics, etc.

    Personally, I'm also tired of people who can exist in my world, but I could not exist in theirs because of their obsession with being "free" of anyone not like them; of people who are so insecure in their own faith that they want everyone to believe as they do; who are unable or unwilling to accept that the GOP and its lackeys continue to manipulate them into voting against their own self-interest.

    Folks like these live everywhere; for their sake and ours, I hope they can join us in the 21st century and continue moving our country forward.

    February 19, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. RR

    I will give to Ashley's campaign if she decides to run. You go girl!

    February 19, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. AZ Girl

    ~~~> Kentuckian

    Yup, OK, now I know what to do...

    ROTFLMAO!!! Whew, you guys are so easy and predictable.

    February 19, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Liberals have mental illness


    Why don't you go to North Korea, China or Cuba if you want to be a SOcialist/Communist and leave the ones of us who LOVE America alone? Maybe King Obama will go with you!

    February 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Kev

    Just givin' the Dems a little of their own 'smash mouth earlyy & often' politics, deal with it HOLLYWOOD.

    February 19, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Frank in Kentucky

    You people who seem to want to interfear with politics in Kentucky this wrong you demicrats are about to ignite a powder keg in this state and you are obama wants total control as in dictator and the reason we vote for Mitch is because he takes the time to listen to what we the people want. Miss Judd no disrespect to you or your family my family and I live not to far from Lexington we like your movies and your family's music if you want to enter politics start at local level frist and get to know the people you represent before you move up to the senate level you would do better and be a better representive.

    February 19, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. mike0404

    If McConnell’s prediction of beating Judd is as accurate as the one he made about making Obama a one term president, we will be seeing a lot more of Senator Judd.

    February 19, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Woman In California

    What's there not to like? She's young, intelligent, people oriented and popular (those things alone are a step above what occupies the Kentucy senate seat now). I'm also sure her #1 priority will never be to bring down the POTUS even if it is a republican in office while people need jobs. A real winnner if ever I saw one.

    February 19, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. ingyandbert

    Ironic to see the party of Ronald "Bedtime for Bonzo" Reagan criticizing Ashley Judd for being an actress. (At least her movies have been A-listers, lol!)

    The girl has a degree from Harvard, she's no dummy. And even if she were, she can't possibly do any worse than Turtleman....

    February 19, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. UDidntBuildThat

    I would love to see her run!! She is typical wacko hollywood. Clueless and cannot relate to average folks in KY.

    February 19, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. havamom

    Why start smearing this lady before she announces – only fear does that. The Rs continue their war against all women by trying to pick them off, one at at time. But have to admit – it is cool to know that Rove and co are afraid.

    February 19, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. UDidntBuildThat

    I'm sure she will use our hard earned tax payer dollars for more face-lifts.

    February 19, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. UDidntBuildThat

    She should run for Governor instead. I heard Alec Baldwin also wants to get into politics. He could be her running mate! LOL!!!

    February 19, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. UDidntBuildThat

    Oh shut up u liberal idiots aka low information voters! Repubs lauching a premetive strike is akin to the Dems going after Marco Ruibio right now. Liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    February 19, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. JohnW

    "We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target." Wow. Somebody's got a high opinion of himself.

    February 19, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. JJ

    Judd is another Hollywood, bimbo, Commie that doesn't know anything about politics, governing, finance, budgets, etc.

    February 19, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. JohnW

    Oh shut up u liberal idiots aka low information voters! Repubs lauching a premetive strike is akin to the Dems going after Marco Ruibio right now. Liberal hypocrisy knows no bounds.
    Can't use proper English, and uses a name that references an obfuscation of impressive proportions. Yeah, we're really gonna take you seriously.

    February 19, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. greg

    Always about the next election with Republicans, never about solutions, love the US of Absurd...

    February 19, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. TomGI

    How embarrassing when Mitch McConnell loses his seat. I'm going to LMAO.

    February 19, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. yem

    The actress will do a much better job than the current obstructionist. Go for it !!!

    February 19, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. Gregory Faith

    If former TV / Movies actors have done it, got for it my dear!!!!

    February 19, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. mmk

    Being a ky resident, I can tell you she is not very popular here................being boo-ed at a UK basketball game tells you alot........................

    February 19, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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