March 27th, 2013
05:13 PM ET
10 years ago

Ashley Judd won't run for Senate

(CNN) – Actress and Democrat Ashley Judd, who was openly considering challenging Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky seat in 2014, announced Wednesday she was "currently unable" to run for public office.

"After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family," Judd wrote on Twitter.

The announcement comes after months of speculation that Judd – an actress with family roots in Kentucky - would jump into politics. The rumors sparked heavy backlash from Republicans, including McConnell, who began producing videos attacking Judd.

One featured footage of Judd representing the neighboring state Tennessee, 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."

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.

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.

McConnell, now in his fifth term, wasn'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.

Hilary Rosen, the Democratic strategist, said Monday her firm SKDKnickerbocker was consulting Judd on a potential bid.

“She seriously looked at it. There was a tremendous amount of support, and I think she would have made a great candidate,” Rosen said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“The timing just wasn’t right. She has a lot of other things going on,” Rosen added, noting Judd made her decision not to run within the last ten days.

The Kentucky Democratic Party wrote they had "great respect and admiration for Ashley Judd's humanitarian work and passion for Kentucky" but that they were "confident we will have a candidate who can give Kentuckians the voice in Washington they deserve."

Privately, some Democrats worried Judd was too liberal a candidate for Kentucky, which hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992, when Wendell Ford won re-election.

With Judd out of the race, Democratic eyes are turning to Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State. Grimes has not ruled out a bid against McConnell in 2014, and was touted as a top potential candidate during a conference call with Democratic officials earlier this month.

While the election is still more than a year away, McConnell has gotten a head start on fundraising. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican with broad support among the tea party, hosted an event this week that brought in north of $230,000 for the minority leader. In all, McConnell’s campaign had $7.3 million cash on hand as of their last filings with the Federal Election Commission.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Kentucky
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Future

    Just what we need. Duh....another liberal in our government.

    March 27, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Looks like Beaker really was just attacking a private citizen.

    March 27, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. David

    Oh no! WHO CARES????

    March 27, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. starsilluminate

    Ah,'s her life.
    I personally think that she would have been an awesome senator.

    March 27, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. tonyb

    Finally, a celebrity with the good sense to NOT poison politics with there hollywood mindset.

    March 27, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Whew

    Perhaps she realized that she's really not very bright?

    March 27, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Bert Maclin

    Good for her, being a politician is a catch 22. If you want to do it, you're too crazy to do it.

    March 27, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Four Two

    Acting isn't a job. A job requires effort and most of the time comes with moderate reward, if that. Acting comes with personal assistants, WAY too much money, an inflated ego, and eventually legal troubles which get glossed over by the courts.

    March 27, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. sma89

    awww you don't say. I wouldn't have guessed that. moron.

    March 27, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Alicia

    THIS is breaking new??? Come on, CNN. This is some mess I can see making it on FOX News. You're better than this...

    March 27, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Reason38

    I am currently unable to remember why I care about this woman. Oh, shes a pretty actress?
    Still unable to remember why I care about this woman.

    March 27, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Isis

    Please – please – Tell me I have not died and gone to a place where this is "News".

    What a stupid Culture we live in. Whatever happened to such intellect as Plato, Socrates, Galileo, Shakespeare and Voltaire ?

    We are idiots now. Who the f cares that a "Country Singer" is a Politician !???!

    Whatever CNN. Pass me a Donut, y'all suck.

    March 27, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Oj

    Apparently too busy on twitter? Lol.

    March 27, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. yo!

    thats breaking news? ... but she is good looking so i clicked on the link

    March 27, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Mark Acay

    Are you going to leave that old bag unoppossed. GBK.

    March 27, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. clem

    That's sad; we have to get the nutjobs out of there.

    March 27, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. staticphear

    When she calls so many places her "home", how can she expect to win an election? It's a good thing she bowed out, maybe a real candidate will step up.

    March 27, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Jeet

    CNN you need to reboot and report on stuff that matters.

    March 27, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Texas

    I guess she didn't want to be accosted by turdblossom Karl Rove antics. I don't blame her.

    March 27, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. DJ Reality

    Mitch McConnell is breathing a sigh of relief. He didn't stand a chance against her. He is the one republican that needs to go.

    March 27, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Texas

    Didn't want to be dragged through the mud...I don't blame her.

    March 27, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Jeremy Suede

    And this is news.....why?.......

    March 27, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. sjlucas

    Disappointed. I thought Ashley would make a great candidate against Senator McConnell. Senator McConnell obviously agreed, which is why he released his attack dogs nearly 2 years before the race.

    March 27, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Jason

    "Darn!" – No One.

    March 27, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. mario

    expect you back,, the futur is on your side ashley

    March 27, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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