Covering Kentucky

Nov 25, 2012 4:09 PM

Ashley Judd's Grandmother Skeptical Of Senate Run

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Polly Judd is skeptical of talk that her famous granddaughter, actress Ashley Judd, might run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky as a Democratic challenger to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

"I don't think there's any possibility of that happening," the 85-year-old grandmother of Ashley and her singer sister, Wynonna, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview last week from her home in the northeastern Kentucky city of Ashland.

Polly Judd, a political activist in Ashland where she once served on the city commission, praised McConnell, Kentucky's longest serving U.S. senator.

"I think Mitch has done more for Ashland than anybody else who has been in there," she said. "That means a lot. He's been here personally, and we don't always get that from politicians who represent us."

Ashley Judd, who has starred in such movies as "Kiss the Girls," ''Double Jeopardy," ''Where the Heart Is," and "High Crimes," hasn't ruled out a Senate run. The former Kentuckian said in a statement earlier this month that she's "very honored" to be mentioned as a potential candidate.

Her publicist said last week nothing has changed since the original statement was released.

"I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I'm very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let's focus on coming together to keep moving America's families, and especially our kids, forward," Ashley Judd said in the original statement.

Ashley Judd lives in Tennessee and would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid.

No Democrats have stepped forward to challenge McConnell, a political powerhouse who already has $6.8 million in the bank for his re-election.

In 2008, McConnell won re-election to a fifth term and became Kentucky's longest-serving senator. McConnell spent some $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.

He has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama and said early in Obama's first term that his top priority was to make sure the president wasn't re-elected.

Ashley Judd is a regular at University of Kentucky basketball games and the Kentucky Derby. She is married to three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and is a regular spectator at that race.

Polly Judd said her granddaughter enjoys traveling to races with her husband, and that serving in the Senate would make that difficult.

Polly Judd, mother of country music singer Naomi Judd, said she expects her granddaughter would be especially strong among college-age voters in Kentucky, a state that typically votes Republican in federal elections.

"She's a Hollywood liberal," Polly Judd said of her granddaughter. "It would be interesting to see what type of race she would run."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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