Grandmother of Judd dismisses talk of Senate run

Ashland activist praises McConnell

Associated PressNovember 26, 2012 

FRANKFORT — 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.

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 near Nashville and would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid. She was a Tennessee delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in September.

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. McConnell spent some $20 million on that election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy 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, a University of Kentucky graduate, is a regular at UK 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."

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