Mitch McConnell Ad Targets Women, Judd Supporters Say He Has a Problem With Women Voters

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"I would wonder whether Mitch can put up with getting it thrown back at him, because he will, and Mitch has never really had somebody ... who can give as good as they can take, and I think Ashley Judd can," Yarmuth said, before warning McConnell about playing rough.

"I think there is a problem with nasty campaigning when you aim at somebody who is as beloved as Ashley Judd is in Kentucky," Yarmuth said. "She's a very sweet person, so to go after her personally carries a risk, and I think the McConnell team knows that."

Monday the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee identified the race as a "top priority," but Executive Director Guy Cecil stopped short of embracing a Judd candidacy, noting there were "a handful of quality candidates in Kentucky," and "there's actually a deep bench."

Last week, the Louisville Eccentric Observer reported that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was re-evaluating Judd, and was now taking a "serious second look at recruiting" the Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes after the committee conducted a poll that showed Grimes running better than Judd against McConnell. Cecil responded to the story, saying his committee members "don't spend a lot of time talking to weekly newspapers about our recruitment strategy. That is certainly true in this case," but Yarmuth said Democrats needed Judd because they needed an unconventional campaign to beat McConnell.

"The DSCC is not always right," Yarmuth said. "The DSCC ought to come to Kentucky and see how popular Ashley Judd is before they start making a choice in a Senate race. They have often been wrong."

One woman who knows what it means to take on McConnell is Lois Combs Weinberg, who ran unsuccessfully against the senate minority leader in 2002.

Weinberg said she would support Judd, but warned McConnell was a "fierce competitor."

"I think she has star quality that will resonate in Kentucky even with the good ol' boys and with women -- her issues are ones that women of all ages will support," Weinberg said, noting Judd's work against domestic violence.

Weinberg also believes that unlike her own campaign of 11 years ago women Democratic activists and women voters in general would come together to put Judd over the top, noting that Democratic activists were much more organized than they were when she ran.

"I think it would be possible for her to galvanize the women's vote in a powerful way," Weinberg said. "Not only women, but young people. ... He [McConnell] has called her a Hollywood liberal as if she's a scarlet woman. She needs to go out there with her own message, go out with what's best for all of Kentucky. Let him rave and rant and spend his money."

Democratic State Senator Kathy Stein, another Judd supporter, said she, too, encouraged the actress to get into the race. "If Republicans are going to target women ... these commercials are going to be very entertaining. We will laugh a lot.

"It surprises me that someone as cagey politically as Mitch McConnell is worried about something," Stein said. "[He is] or they wouldn't be spending this much money trying to dissuade her."

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