Democrats Keep Options Open as Ashley Judd Considers Senate Bid


"If she runs, she's going to spend time in Kentucky, and it makes sense from a logistical standpoint (to live in Lexington) because it's in the center of the state," he said, adding that Louisville, where McConnell has a home, may not be a good choice either, because the rest of the state sees it as the "big city."

"Lexington is the second biggest city by far and everybody loves Lexington," he said. "UK is the place everybody loves, where everybody wants their kids to go to school."

As for timing, the informal adviser said only that he "hopes it's soon."

Judd's biggest and most vocal supporter in the state is Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, who told ABC News late last month: "I would be surprised if she doesn't run at this point."

Yarmuth said he still feels that way and in the same interview said, "I think she understands if she is not going to make the race, she needs to make a decision so someone else can make a decision."

Over the weekend the Huffington Post reported that Judd would announce around Derby Day in early May, a time when Kentucky candidates often announce races and national eyes are on the state, but Yarmuth said he hoped it would come "well before Derby Day."

"She wanted to give herself a window large enough to touch all the bases she needs to touch," Yarmuth said.

He also said the actress and Democratic activist is ready and has even done opposition research on herself to see areas McConnell will try to "exploit."

"In her world she is used to dealing with a lot of nonsense, so I think she will deal with it very well," Yarmuth said.

The race will be the most high profile in the nation and the attack ads could get nasty, but Judd will have the ability to raise national money to keep up with her opponent and every dollar spent to divert Judd is heading away from Republican coffers.

McConnell's team, as well as outside Republicans, are sure to not only pounce on the residency issue, but some of the more eyebrow raising comments she's made in the past that Dayspring referred to or even make use of some of the more risqué footage of her from past movies. Her strong support of the president -- she was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Tennessee -- is also sure to become an issue in red Kentucky,

The group Emily's List are encouraging her to run and a staffer there said they have been in touch with her, noting she was part of a panel of theirs at the DNC.

A close friend of Judd's, Silas House, a professor at Berea College in Kentucky, said he didn't know where she was in her decision, but is hoping she does go for it.

"We need something to happen in Kentucky and I think she would be the perfect person for that," House said. "We've gotten to a point in our state where we need to shake up politics and get people talking about it and I think she could do that."

But he said he worriesabout how nasty it will undoubtedly get if she does jump in.

"I know she's a good person and I hate to see her attacked, but I also know she's an incredibly strong person and a really smart person," he said. "Being an actress, she has a thick skin already. She would be able to handle it.

"I know that her primary call in life is to be of service and I think she really feels a deep commitment to serve others," House said.

Judd herself tweeted a quote from Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore late Sunday night that expressed that commitment to service, in a possible nod to the news around her potential candidacy.

@AshleyJudd "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." -- Rabindranath Tagore

This story has been updated.

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