Will Ashley Judd Challenge Mitch McConnell for Senate? Kentucky Democrats Think So


On Valentine's Day Judd had dinner with Yarmuth and other Democratic leaders in the state, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and former state treasurer Jonathan Miller, at the home of Louisville philanthropist Christy Brown.

Judd is also planning to meet with Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. According to a video posted on local television channel CN2 he said she could be a "very serious candidate," although he noted there are others who could be as well.

"I talked to Ashley Judd during the Kentucky Ball that was part of the inaugural ceremonies in Washington in January," Beshear said. "And then she's been trying to arrange, and will be arranging, some more conversations here in the next month or so."

Beshear knows McConnell can be tough. He challenged him and lost in 1996.

Miller called Judd a "change agent."

"She is offering a completely different candidate and to me that's why I think she is uniquely able to beat Mitch McConnell" -- even though, as Miller put it, McConnell is an "effective and brilliant politician."

One issue Miller knows about intimately and how it can hurt a candidacy in the state is the issue of mountaintop removal mining. Judd has spoken out against it extensively in the past and Miller says it can easily become an issue where she is labeled as anti-coal, calling it the "third rail" of politics in the state. Miller says his stance against the issue hurt his own gubernatorial candidacy. He ended up dropping out and supporting Beshear, who won in 2007.

Miller thinks it won't affect Judd the way it hurt him because she's "got this unique ability to not have to chase cameras because the cameras will be chasing her and she will get a chance to explain herself."

Miller says Judd "hasn't made a final decision," but she knows that "these kinds of opportunities open up very rarely."

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