Movie star Ashley Judd is being touted by Democrats as a potential top challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, but it’s unclear whether the Kentucky native is seriously considering a bid for public office.
Judd, who has always been a prominent activist, has said before she might one day consider a run for office. But she’s never mentioned the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican McConnell, the Louisville Courier-Journal
Several other Kentuckians are being mentioned as potential challengers as well, including Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, and Matthew Barzun, President Barack Obama’s chief fundraiser.
But Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth told the Courier-Journal he believes Judd's entry in the race could turn it into a high-profile battle similar to the Massachusetts Senate campaign this year between Democrat Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Republican Scott Brown.
McConnell is seen as vulnerable, and Jesse Benton, his campaign manager, accuses Democrats of sharpening their knives for the fight ahead against one of Washington’s most powerful senators.
“Their desperation is understandable, as they no doubt realize what a daunting task it will be to run against Sen. McConnell,” Benton told the newspaper.
According to the Courier-Journal, McConnell already has $6.8 million in his campaign war chest. And Benton suggested that the minority leader is prepared to run an expensive "presidential-level campaign" that will be "ready to take on all comers."
Former state auditor Crit Luallen said that while Judd would be “an attractive candidate," the best challenger would be either Beshear or Abramson. But Beshear has said he has no plans to pursue another office. Abramson, meanwhile, has expressed no interest up to this point, not publicly anyway.
Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler, who lost his bid Tuesday for re-election, has also been mentioned as a possible McConnell challenger. But the Courier-Journal reported that Chandler has said he won't be a candidate.
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