LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ashley Judd, the 44-year-old actress and social activist, has told key advisers and political figures that she is planning to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate here this spring.At this point, I'd say the chances of Ashley Judd running are 87%, unless of course she feels now may not be the right time.
Judd told one close ally that she plans to announce her run for the Democratic nomination for the 2014 race “around Derby” -- meaning in early May when the Kentucky Derby brings national attention to Louisville and the Bluegrass State.
Reached for comment by email Saturday, Judd offered a not-quite-ironclad denial to The Huffington Post. “I am not sure who is saying this stuff, but it is not I! I’d prefer as a fan of your journalism that you stay accurate and credible. We told everyone who called us yesterday these stories are fabrications.”
But she declined to specify which "stories,” did not say what wasn't "accurate,” and did not respond when asked directly whether she had, in fact, decided to run or chosen a time to declare her intentions.
“I know she knows she has to declare soon,” said one source, a highly placed elected official who declined to be identified because he was discussing private plans.
"She could always change her mind," he added. "I changed my mind twice before I finally declared. But as of now it is a done deal.” She has discussed her plans, sources say, with former Gov. Wendell H. Ford, the 88-year-old dean of Kentucky Democrats, among others.
However, being that the Kentucky Democratic Party really can't get its act together, let alone be a real Democratic Party in general, I think it's Judd who really has the fire in her belly and will pretty much be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. Apparently the name Alison Grimes is floating but really, it's just floating. There's really no one who is man or woman enough to even go against Mitch McConnell. Why? Because they're scared.
But Ashley Judd isn't scared. In fact, it seems she's ready to take on Mitch McConnell from Day 1:
Judd made her intentions clear at a private dinner last month at Brown's Louisville home. Asked if she was tough enough to take on McConnell and the GOP national attack machine, Judd reportedly answered, “I have been raped twice, so I think I can handle Mitch McConnell.”Judging from the following videos, there's no question Ashley Judd is a tough woman. She's been through a lot in her life yet still manages to be a knowledgeable, passionate and beautiful at the same time while still being a fighter for progressive causes. She's another Elizabeth Warren.
Aside from this, Judd has backing from Rep. John Yarmuth, the one lone Democratic Congressman in Kentucky and from the looks of everything, looks like all the most prominent Democrats in the state are focused on 2015.Of course, as I've cited in previous diaries, an Ashley Judd candidacy is probably what is needed so that the citizens of Kentucky get a real U.S. Senator, instead of the bozo clown Mitch McConnell, who seems to at this point in his life be nothing more than an old fart.
Judd has some prominent backers in the state, led by Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville; Christy Brown, whose family controls the Brown-Forman distilling fortune; and Brown’s son-in-law Matthew Barzun, the former ambassador to Sweden (and probable future ambassador to the United Kingdom), who was Obama’s finance chairman in the 2012 campaign.
Normally a candidate such as Judd would have to fight through a difficult field of seasoned, and generally more conservative, Kentucky Democrats. But several of them are focused instead on the governor’s race in 2015, and others doubt whether they could beat the experienced and tough McConnell.
The Kentucky Democratic establishment gathered in Owensboro Wednesday night at a banquet -- headlined by former President Bill Clinton -- in Ford’s honor and much of the private talk centered on which Democrat, if any, could mount a primary challenge against Judd, whose candidacy many of them fear.
“We don’t really have anybody,” said one.
The most likely alternative is Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 34-year-old secretary of state. The well-connected daughter of former Democratic state chairman Jerry Lundergan, Grimes is polite, earnest and cautious. She recently worked to ensure that Kentuckians in the military serving abroad could vote electronically.
Her father was a prominent Clinton supporter, and the former president took time in Owensboro to privately advise Grimes and her father after the Ford event.
Still, many residents said Ms. Judd’s character, which they admired, was more important than her politics.
“She may be a little too liberal for me,” said Janice Taylor, a 71-year-old retiree. But neither was she a fan of Mr. McConnell’s.
“I’ve got tired of him,” she said. “He’s always against everything.”
Perry Dalton, 67, who retired from the AK Steel plant in Ashland, said he was a Republican but liked Ms. Judd because she was not a typical politician.
“I know she wants to come back to help her state, her community, just from her heart,” said Mr. Dalton, holding the hand of a granddaughter before a ride on an electric indoor train at the Town Center mall. “I know she’s more liberal than me. But honesty is more important to me than anything.”
Joan Christian, 42, a hospital technician, said she previously voted for Mr. McConnell but would not rule out Ms. Judd even because of her current residence out of state.
“I think she’s as qualified as anyone,” Ms. Christian said. “She was an educated professional woman before she was an actress.”
At this point, I think we have another fighter in our mist and if we need at one reason why we must keep our eyes on November 2014, Ashley Judd serves as a reminder why we need to keep our eye on the ball.
Ready for Judd to become Senator Ashley Judd? She's our Shirley Black!