Actress Ashley Judd is reportedly considering running for a Senate seat to represent the state of Kentucky. Sources say she is considering running in 2014 against the top Senate Republican, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, or possibly waiting until 2016 to run against Sen. Rand Paul.
Judd has discussed her possible run with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and as well as a Democratic pollster. The native Kentuckian has also started conducting research to see where in the state she would have to fight the toughest battle, as defeating McConnell would be a considerable challenge. For Democrats, Judd is an attractive choice to take him on because she could raise a lot of money and is already well known in Kentucky.
"I do receive a lot of encouragement to run," Judd said at an event at the Democratic National Convention. "And my deepest desire is to be useful. I want to help serve my fellow [citizens]. And I may be doing that to the best of my capacity … in the space I'm already operating in. Or it may be time to look at possibly running for office."
The actress could face difficulty in an election because she currently splits her time living in Tennessee and Scotland (her husband's native country), and could be criticized for being out of touch with conservative Kentucky—she's been active on liberal causes like abortion rights and the environment. She has a master's degree from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, but has no experience running for public office.
McConnell is currently serving his fifth term in the Senate, and is an extremely powerful player in Kentucky's Republican politics. His campaign has made it clear that anyone entering the race to challenge him in 2014 will face a very difficult battle.
"It's going to sting," said Jesse Benton, McConnell's campaign manager. "We're going to make sure that you don't come out with your nose clean. We're going to drive your negatives up and very aggressively and publicly litigate your record before the citizens of Kentucky."
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