By now, many have already heard the rumor of an Ashley Judd potential against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), previously discussed by dailykos diarist dot farmer and who's statement regarding the rumor was noted by Meteor Blades. The statement said...
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.
But there are some hurdles, serious ones, that make me, as a Kentuckian question her ability to win. More below...
There are areas in Kentucky with high populations of Democrats, our cities of Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, and Ashland somewhat, and south-eastern Kentucky (though typically they vote conservative or republican despite the increased number of democrats compared to republicans). Could she win our biggest cities? I used to think yes, until Democrat Ben Chandler from our district near Lexington lost last week to Republican Andy Barr, giving this state only one democrat in the House representing our interests (Yarmoth of Louisville). Now I am on a "maybe" with that. Regarding that situation....
"................Barr featured coal miners in his TV ads, talked incessantly about the Obama administration's "war on coal," and raked in campaign cash from wealthy coal executives angry about federal environmental regulations that have made it more expensive to unearth coal.
By the time the race was over, President Barack Obama had been vilified as an enemy of the mining industry, and Chandler had been portrayed as his surrogate in Kentucky. That turned out to be Chandler's undoing. Obama lost Kentucky overwhelmingly, and took Chandler down with him................"
I live in coal country, My county voted only 24% for Obama. Next door in Perry County, 19% Obama. Why? The so called "War on Coal" people here perceive Obama as having launched against their livelihoods. Now, despite the fact that cost of production, a recession and competition of natural gas are the real forces creating the overwhelming majority of that industry's problems, the "narrative" locally is it's Obama's EPA. Our democratic Governor has even gotten aboard the "attack the EPA" wave.
But, back to Ashley Judd, in light of this, her open stance against mountain top removal mining is not something that she has been shy about....
Things like that, have gained her alot of "coal country" distrust, or disdain. In 2010, the Huffpo reported this billboard (below), not 30 miles from my house, going up in response to her activism on coal.
"..."The billboard, which featured Judd covering her breasts with her hands, was put on display at StoneCrest Golf Course in Prestonburg last month, accompanied by the question: "Ashley makes a living removing her top - why can't coal miners?" Speaking about the incident for the first time, Judd tells BlogTalkRadio.com, "It's as old as the social construction of gender; let's sexualized a woman to discredit her. I'm not comparing myself to Catherine the Great, but the political cartoons in Western Europe showed her with her skirt hitched up."
"A lot of times with me and certain other artists, the fact that we're artists is used to discredit us, so it's absolutely nothing compared to what people are living through in the coal fields with their foundations cracked and their wells going dry and their water contaminated, spending $420 a month on bottled water and putting soda water in sippy cups to prevent children from ingesting toxic material."
Judd, who recently gave an emotional speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to highlight the environmental damage caused by mountaintop removal mining, insists she's still deadly serious about outlawing the practice: "Mountaintop coal mining, to be clear, is a distinct form of radical strip mining. It's different from deep mining and it's being practiced on a large scale; more than 800 mountaintops have been irreversibly blown to smithereens."..."
So, Ashley Judd is already launching from a start of negative perception in the coal areas of the state and will most certainly have that entire industry financing against her and demonizing her in shameless ways. That is my major concern for her viability here as a candidate. But it is not my only one, politics is a new venture for Ashley Judd, short of her activism and 2010 Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard, she doesn't have much experience to brag about. She is going to have to convince the people in coal country that she isn't going to take their jobs away, as well as bringing in more jobs and industries. On top of that she's going to have to convince many here that she is more than just another actor or actress running, she is going to have to show that she can take the responsibilities and perform the job.
I am all for anyone who can get Mitch McConnell out of the Senate, he certainly in no way represents my interests. I just have serious concerns that if they try to go with Judd, turtle man would remain. I would support her personally, but a win, would surprise me.
As of now, the "Draft Ashley Judd for Senate: Defeat Mitch McConnell" page on Facebook has 2031 likes since starting last week, the twitter @AshleyJ4Senate however only has around 47 followers (including me). Lets hope if she decides to do this, that those pick up greatly.