Political spotlight for Judd's Washington tour
March 1st, 2013
10:30 AM ET
10 years ago

Political spotlight for Judd's Washington tour

Washington (CNN) - Ashley Judd is coming to Washington to headline two public events, and that's fueling speculation that the activist actress may launch a bid for the U.S. Senate.

Friday Judd will be in front of cameras as she's the featured speaker at a forum on women's reproductive rights at George Washington University's School of Public Health. Judd is expected to take questions from the audience after finishes her comments. Saturday she is scheduled to receive an award for her humanitarian work in India.

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While she's not expected to discuss her possible bid to launch a Democratic challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, her events in the nation's capital will put her under the glare of the national political spotlight. McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, is running next year for a sixth term in office.

Judd recently met with potential donors in Kentucky, and talked with top officials at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She reportedly will announce her decision by early May, around the time of the Kentucky Derby.

Judd's family dates back generations in Kentucky. While she spent much of her childhood in the state and graduated from the University of Kentucky, she's lived in Tennessee for years and represented Kentucky's neighboring state when she attended and spoke the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

McConnell's re-election campaign went up recently with an online ad that highlights the fact that Judd doesn't live in Kentucky. And earlier this year American Crossroads, the conservative super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, spent $10,000 on a web ad earlier that also hit Judd for her declared love of Tennessee.

Judd actively campaigned for President Barack 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 and refused repeated requests for television interviews, she directed her Twitter followers last month to sign up for her newly-created mailing list.

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

Judd's event Friday on women's reproductive rights comes just a week after Planned Parenthood went up with an ad that criticized McConnell's stance on birth control, spotlighting his joining with 10 other GOP lawmakers to support a lawsuit by a company that seeks to avoid mandatory health coverage of birth control pills in its employee health coverage.

Besides her residency, another issue that could hurt Judd in Kentucky is her fierce opposition to mountain top coal mining, a big industry in the state. And that's got some Kentucky Democrats concerned about the prospect of Judd as their party's 2014 Senate nominee. No other major Democrats are considering bids at this time.

But Judd does have the support of one of the top elected Democrats in the state.

"She's smart. She knows the issues, and she does it in a very pleasant way, she talks about them in a very unthreatening way. So I think she'd be a great candidate," Rep. John Yarmuth said last week.

Filed under: Ashley Judd • Kentucky • Mitch McConnell • Senate
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Attack ads and remarks against politicians come with the territory. There's a different working standard for what constitutes slander. Judd is not a politician, and neither has she ever run for elected office, so she cannot be callef a former anything. Ads that have been attacking her politically are grounds for slander in my opinion. It's not right for an elected official to launch attacks ads against a private citizen. What if it were mistakenly you?

    March 1, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Michael

    Mitch McConnell is a washed up political hack. He has no backbone. All he worries about is what the idiots at Fox News and the Tea Party think. Go a set of balls and do what is right for the country.

    March 1, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Al-NY,NY

    Mumbles McConnell has enough of the brain-dead drones hpnotized that he will bbe reelected easily....unfortunately

    March 1, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Yanni

    Ashley we need some deserving relief from the gridlock of Washington where politics is a football game for them to play. We are tired to be the causality in their grand standing feel good projection and pityness. We need real people like you, young, concerned, thoughtful and humanitarian to facilitate our effort to win the future of America through science, technology faith and hard work. Please don’t hold back the event of today should inspire you to be a leader in this dysfunctional town.

    March 1, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Evergreen

    This is one reason the same people get re-elected over and over again. Anyone who is not well contacted and want to serve their country is treated in this disgusting manner. Ideas and wanting to serve for the greater good of the country should the determining factor, not attack ads.

    March 1, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. plain&simple

    Republican tatic.....attack first!!!! Only ask questions latter....how's that been working?

    March 1, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. B

    Mitch McConnell's yellow streak that runs up his back is definitely showing from his actions of attacking a private citizen.

    March 1, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Ms. Judd will make a great US Senator. McConnell may not even get a chance to face off with Judd since he is the target of a Tea Party purge.

    March 1, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Switters

    Ashley, where do I sent the $$$....?

    March 1, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Randy, San Francisco

    Ms. Judd will make a great US Senator.
    And what do you base this assertion on, Randy?

    March 1, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    If vote for her , so what has mc connel done in the last five years except try to make president Obama a one term president which he failed at, along with the rest of the gop trash . The mummy look a like will fail again in his realection bid in 2014 gop train wreck !!!!

    March 1, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Getoverit


    Republican tatic…..attack first!!!! Only ask questions latter….how’s that been working?
    Funny you should mention that. The left is so afraid of Marco Rubio that they have already begun their attacks.....4 years before the next election.

    March 1, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |