As the political world began to transition from 2012 to 2014 last week, some of the most tantalizing buzz centered around actress Ashley Judd and the possibility that she might seek the Democratic nomination to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward,” she said in a statement Nov. 9, according to The Associated Press.
Recent comments from Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., also gave the story legs.
“If you had an Ashley Judd-McConnell race, I think it would be as high profile a race as Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown,” Yarmuth told the Louisville Courier-Journal, referring to the Massachusetts Senate race this year. Other Democratic names on the Kentucky political radar, per the Courier-Journal, include Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and Obama fundraiser Matthew Barzun.
Kentucky is considered a reliably conservative state. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the state by 23 points, and Democrats lost a seat last week in the House delegation.
However, the two most recent Senate races earned national attention. Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s 2010 race was seen as highly competitive, but he ended up winning by 12 points in what was a GOP wave year.
In 2008, the most recent Democratic wave year, McConnell had something of a scare, but he ended up winning by 6 points.
According to the Courier-Journal, Judd lives in Tennessee, but she grew up in Kentucky. Over the years, she has been politically active in Democratic Party politics. She has donated to the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and attended the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Additionally, she has strong ties to EMILY’s List, a political group that seeks to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights to the House and Senate. An EMILY’s List spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the group is seeking to recruit her.
Interestingly, Judd’s mother, country singer Naomi Judd, named President George W. Bush as one of the men who makes her “temperature rise” in People Magazine in 2001.