An Ashley Judd Senate Run Splits Democrats, Even Clintons

Ashley Judd Paley - P 2013
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Ashley Judd Paley - P 2013

The actress, who is rumored to be mulling a run for a senate seat in Kentucky, has the encouragement of the former president, but some in the party are wary.

There is Hollywood drama going down in Kentucky.

Actress and liberal activist Ashley Judd is said to be mulling a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the news of her interest is being greeted with mixed reactions on both the right and left.

ABC News reports that former President Bill Clinton, a close friend of Judd, encouraged the 44-year-old actress to run during a conversation sometime between November's election and President Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Politico wrote last week that Clinton had more recently advised Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, to run for the seat as well; she's considering doing so, or running for governor or for a congressional seat.

Grimes' father is a former state party chairman in Kentucky and also a friend of the Clintons'. While Politico reported that the former first couple's support had shifted to Grimes, ABC notes they will support either as Democratic nominee.

Judd is an environmental activist who has opposed mountaintop removal for coal extraction, and some Democrats fear she is too liberal for Kentucky, which has a long history of backing Democrats but has more recently elected Republicans, including Tea Party darling Rand Paul. Others believe that she brings starpower and fundraising ability and that McConnell is weak in the state.

Republicans have already attacked Judd, with a Karl Rove-backed Super PAC slamming her in TV advertisements and Fox News' Sean Hannity facetiously begging her to run during a segment Thursday night.

Incidentally, Judd has a small role in this weekend's Olympus Has Fallen, portraying the first lady.