FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told a Washington, D.C., radio station Wednesday that actress Ashley Judd was "way damn too liberal for our country and our state."
Judd has been mentioned as a possible Democratic candidate against longtime U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 or against Paul in 2016. Washington-based website Politico ran a story this week saying that Judd has talked to several high-ranking Democrats about a run in Kentucky.
Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, did not dismiss Judd as a possible candidate Wednesday but said he wouldn't run against McConnell in 2014.
In an interview with WMAL in Washington, Paul was asked about the possibility of Judd running against him in 2016.
"I heard she lives in Scotland," Paul said. "I thought she was running for Parliament."
Judd is married to Scottish race car driver Dario Franchitti. She lives in Tennessee, but her family roots are in Kentucky.
A spokesperson for Judd responded: "I'm not sure who has misinformed Senator Paul about Ashley's residency, since like many Kentuckians she visits her in-laws around the Christmas holidays, but she lives here in the U.S."
Paul also said that Judd's previous outspoken comments against some coal-mining practices will not serve her well in Kentucky, a pro-coal state that voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Judd has spoken at rallies against the practice known as mountaintop removal.
"She hates our biggest industry, which is coal," Paul said. "So I say, good luck bringing the 'I hate coal' message to Kentucky."
Speculation about a possible Judd Senate run first surfaced shortly after the Nov. 6 election. At the time Judd said in a statement that she was "very honored" to be mentioned as a possible candidate and did not rule out a possible run.
Her spokesperson said Wednesday that statement from Judd stands: "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."
Judd, 44, spent much of her childhood in Kentucky and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an avid UK sports fan and usually attends several basketball games each season. Her mother and half-sister, Naomi and Wynonna Judd, are country music stars who are both natives of Ashland.
Ashley Judd spoke for the Tennessee delegation at the Democratic National Convention in September. She has a home outside Nashville and would have to re-establish residency in Kentucky to seek office here.
Beshear said at a news conference Wednesday on an unrelated topic that he does not know whether Judd would seek the Democratic nomination.
"Her success has been a Kentucky success," Beshear said. "Whether she will end up in the elective political arena or not, I don't have any idea. I think it's too early to know what direction she will go."
Beshear said he is confident Democrats will have a credible candidate to take on McConnell, the Senate minority leader. "It will be a difficult race as we all know. ... One of the senator's strongest assets is his ability to raise money."
Beth Musgrave: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.