Ashley Judd Senate Run: Actress Planning to Declare Candidacy, Sources Say

NEW YORK | Saturday, March 9th, 2013 7:27pm EDT

The actress and social activist is planning to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate this spring.

Member of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s political team have voiced his hope that Ashley Judd will join the 2014 Kentucky Senate race. Photo: paul.tatara/Flickr

44-year-old Ashley Judd is expected to announce her desicion to enter Kentucky Senate race this Spring, The Daily Mail reports.

During past few days there’d been rumors that the Hollywood actress and social activist is planning to challenge incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Speaking with one close ally the actress revealed her 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,” Judd said.

However, she had no intention to specify which “stories,” did not say what wasn’t “accurate,” and did not respond when asked whether she decided to run or chosen a time to announce her plans.

“I know she knows she has to declare soon,” said one source, an official who wished to remain anonymous 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.”

According to numerous sorces the Hollywood actress has discussed her plans with former Gov. Wendell H. Ford, the 88-year-old dean of Kentucky Democrats, among others.

President Obama-supporter Judd has so far refused to speak publicly about her political aspirations, but all the signs are pointing towards a confirmation sooner rather than later.

Last week, the star arrived at Washington D.C. to take part in several public speaking engagements, including appearing before an audience of George Washington University Public Health students on March 1.

Judd has also been reportedly meeting with well-financed Democratic donors, and a source familiar with the matter told reporters that her political aspirations are very real.  

“She has devoted herself to many important causes and stepped away from the Hollywood spotlight so this seems like the logical next step,” said the unnamed source. “I don’t know if she will be successful, but her heart is in the right place.”

Still the question arises whether Judd could become the type of Democratic challenger who could appeal to enough of the electorate. As one of Kentucky’s favorite people the Hollywood star would undoubtedly help with public recognition and fundraising.

On the other hand, her fame can also cause a credibility issue and residents of Kentucky may see her as too much part of the Hollywood elite to be taken seriously.

“Ms. Judd is coy about the issue of whether she will run, but she is obviously infatuated with the idea and probably will pursue the idea,” Litigation and crisis communication expert Gene Grabowski told media. 

“In the short run, she will be a plus for Democrats. In the longer run however, she will be extremely vulnerable in a general election facing a veteran Republican who knows the issues inside and out.”

There are also some debatable questions to aswer to. As it’s still unknown whether Judd’s status as a screen siren, one who has repeatedly flashed her flesh and romped around in the bedroom for art’s sake, will haunt her.

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