April 1st, 2013
09:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Why didn't Ashley Judd run for Senate? Sabotage, adviser says

(CNN) - It would have been one of the most interesting races of the 2014 midterm cycle: Actress Ashley Judd challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky for the seat he has held for nearly three decades.

But Judd decided not to launch a campaign for the Democratic nomination, and her top adviser explained why on Monday: sabotage.

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"Really the establishment on both sides turned against Judd," Jonathan Miller said on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront, clearing the way for another Democratic candidate.

"Some of them wanted another candidate, (Kentucky) Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, some for good reasons … they thought she'd be a stronger candidate, but others sought to either profit from her, working on her campaigns, or would love to have a friend in the U.S. Senate," Miller claimed.

Also working against Judd were "people who weren't friends of Secretary Grimes, who wanted to push her into the Senate race so she wouldn't be running for governor or lieutenant governor back home because she might be a rival of one of their preferred candidates," he continued.

Miller wrote an op-ed for The Daily Beast Monday that also claimed that Democrats circulated lies about statements Judd had made or former President Bill Clinton's involvement in the race.

Although Judd cited her family, Miller suggested that if not for the sabotage, Judd could have been a viable candidate.

"Now, I don’t pretend that Ashley Judd was a perfect candidate, or that there weren’t a significant number of Democratic insiders who opposed her candidacy," he wrote in op-ed. "But in her early calls, she was winning over many skeptics, including the incumbent governor and the House speaker, the latter being the most prominent politician from Appalachia, the region purportedly most hostile to the actress because of her public opposition toward a controversial coal-mining technique."

Members of Judd's own party "duped" reporters into believing falsehoods about his candidate, he said.

Filed under: Ashley Judd • Kentucky
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Fred

    Of course the real reason was that she might have been an honest representative of the people and
    they couldn't possibly allow that.

    April 2, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. Bob Saget

    Maybe because she's stuck up and no one likes her but Greys Anatomy fans?

    April 2, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  3. VTbobb

    Isn't that politics? It sounds like maybe she has thin skin...

    April 2, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  4. Blaine

    Or maybe it was the fact she has zero political background. Or maybe it was because since she does not actually reside in the state and could not run anyway since she does not meet state residency guidelines. I could think of a hundred reasons why she should not have run and none of them would involve her being railroaded.

    April 2, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  5. gdouglaso

    Quite the game. It must be difficult to be involved in the process for too long without becoming extremely jaded. If it is not the opposite party trying to take you down, it is your own "friends". This must ged old very quickly. So, who are we left with. In some cases, some pretty amazing people. In others, we are left with those who were crafty and were able to manipulate their way in, stepping over candidates that wanted to play by the rules.

    April 2, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  6. tayllor1234

    Amazing. Sabotage-The same reason as to why Mickey Mouse doesn't run for Senate.

    April 2, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Judd might not have been prepared for the position but it certainly gave the old guy quite a scare. I think that if the Democrats find the right candidate that he can be beaten.

    April 2, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  8. Cheerios

    The last thing this country needs is yet another smug, arrogant, Hollywood elitist holding political office of any kind. They are the most detached from the reality that I and most others know.

    April 2, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  9. Conrad Shull

    A lesson for Ashley Judd: there's no place in the big leagues if you can't play big league ball.

    April 2, 2013 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  10. Casey Hendrickson

    In a state where only three of the 120 counties went to Obama, Judd would not be a viable candidate. The speaker of the house doesn't have as much pull over the coal counties as this guy would have you believe. He comes from one small county, and they have voted him out once before. Maybe Judd should try to run in one of the states where she is an actual resident.

    April 2, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  11. Trent Mercer

    Spoken like a true politician. "Hey! It's everyone else's fault and not mine! I would have run, but the party, the Republicans, the people of Kentucky...They sabotaged my chances." Sure it's their fault and not yours. It couldn't have been because of the crazy liberal stances you took. It couldn't have been because you insult, demean and want to take away a vast section of the state's livelihood. Nope. It's sabotage. Got it.

    April 2, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  12. Guest

    Welcome to politics. Rigged from the beginning.

    April 2, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  13. topperG

    we have enough drama in the senate, we don't need anymore....

    April 2, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  14. BBell

    So will Judd now publically condemn the Democrat party artifice for what it is? Even better, how about condemning the party structure of both major parties, generally, and opening her eyes to alternatives? I mean, sabotage is a strong claim. At the same time, though, her candidacy never made sense to me. Just wondering if she recedes to her typical talking points or expands her thinking now that she's seen just inside the door...

    April 2, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  15. SonnyRey

    Her vowing out shows she simply does not have the 'right stuff.' She cannot stand toe-to-toe with that Kentucky turkey now in that Senate seat.

    April 2, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  16. IvotedforObama

    I don't care who beats McConnel, just as long as he is ousted.

    April 2, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  17. Casey Hendrickson

    She was never a viable candidate. Only three of the 120 counties went to Obama, and the speaker of the house does not wield much influence over eastern Kentucky, so winning him over means nothing. Maybe she should try to run in one of the states where she is a resident

    April 2, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  18. Latelamentedtruth

    The republican dirt machine went into full blown alert and damning evidence was about to be unearthed. Whether real or imagined, dirt was going to be presented for the public. And republicans know how much the American people love dirt. They'll believe a falsehood any day, but the truth is always questioned as if it were coming from an enemy encampment.

    April 2, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    ".... Appalachia, the region purportedly most hostile to the actress because of her public opposition toward a controversial coal-mining technique."
    I assume that means the technique is unusally hazardous, but highly profitable to mining companies.

    April 2, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. steven

    I like Ms Judd. I also think she would have been ripped apart in the campaign. Good decision on all sides. Kentucky needs a credible, experienced Democratic candidate that can win over the voters and dismiss past practices of voting in folks like Mitch. Ms Judd would have failed in that endeavor.

    April 2, 2013 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  21. mdenis46

    Had Judd run she would have had my vote. But reading the comments, and hearing the talk over a significant portion of Kentucky, Democrats weren't too thrilled about her. She IS too liberal for most Kentuckians (not me, but the southern and western parts of the state), even the moderates; she lives in Tennessee and was seen as a carpetbagger by many; she is against mountaintop removal (as am I) which means she'd lose the eastern 1/3 of the state; plus many Kentuckians believe there IS a stronger candidate out there. We can't take a chance on Ashley to defeat McConnell - we MUST defeat McConnell.

    I'd urge Judd to run for the House of Representatives from Tennessee - Lord knows TN could use some sensible representatives!

    April 2, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Dern Foley

    I still think Ms. Ashley could have beaten Mr. Turtle..........

    April 2, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  23. Pete

    That's what scares republicans someone who might do what she says she'll do for her constituents not not trash talk...Judd will be a thorn in republicans sides no matter where she's at either running for a political position or helping someone campaign for one because she's dangerous either way isn't she republicans and you know it!!Her name alone can raise more contributions than republicans can challenge and remember republicans even though McConnell outspent his last election competitor over 10-1 he just barely won didn't he!!So the writtings on the wall and its time for McConnell to retire or see a nasty defeat against anyone that has Ms Judd behind them,ain't it so democrates and remember you read it on CNN didn't yah!!

    April 2, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. lottie

    hope she hase'nt given up on politics all together.

    April 2, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Scott

    THe good people of the state realize that McConnel has been taking care of them. They realize that a liberal would ruin things for them. After all look at what the Liberals have done to this country. Stay the course.

    April 2, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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