Ashley Judd is reportedly nearing an announcement of her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, but for now is closely guarding her plans.
Citing sources familiar with the star's political activities in recent weeks, The Huffington Post
reported Monday the announcement likely would be made some time near May 4, the date of this year's Kentucky Derby. But when reached by the website, the 44-year-old Judd characterized the stories of her political intentions as "fabrications." Still, she would not confirm or deny whether she has decided to seek the 2014 Democratic Senate nomination in Kentucky.
Should she decide to run, many in the party expect that other Democrats considering a run against McConnell would clear the field, a move that would create a high-profile contest between the outspoken Hollywood actress and activist and the powerful Senate minority leader, who has been in office more than 28 years.
Sources told The Huffington Post Judd already has spoken to pollsters and media consultants and to leaders of Emily’s List, which works to elect women to Congress. Meanwhile, the sources say, advisers in Lexington are preparing the necessary filing papers and assisting her in resolving other issues related to a possible campaign.
If Judd steps into the race, she would be able to count on the support of several powerful Kentucky politicians, including Rep. John Yarmuth. She could also count on support from Christy Brown, whose family earned a fortune from its Brown-Forman distilling business, the maker of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.
Judd was raised in Kentucky and went to college there, but currently lives in Nashville. To run for the Senate, she would be required to establish Kentucky residency November, , one year before the 2014 general election.
Judd is expected to be a strong contender against McConnell and the Republican machine, which has already begun running ads against her. But some Democrats fear she may be too liberal for state voters to accept.
Nonetheless, The Huffington Post reported, Judd made it clear last month at a private dinner at Christy Brown's Louisville home that she's ready to run.
When asked if she was tough enough to tackle McConnell, Judd reportedly answered, “I have been raped twice, so I think I can handle Mitch McConnell.”
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