Politics

Citing baggage, Kentucky politicians not enthusiastic about Ashley Judd campaign

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

WASHINGTON — As actress Ashley Judd makes an appearance here in the nation’s capital for a speech on Friday, a number of politicians back in Kentucky are busy pouring cold water on the idea that she could win if she runs for Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

“I think McConnell would like to see her in the race, because she’s got a lot of defects right out the gate,” Thomas Massie, a Republican congressman from Kentucky, told The Daily Caller in a brief interview.

But what’s more immediately damaging to Judd is how a contingent of politicians in her own party are skeptical of a Senate campaign. A sampling of quotes in recent media stories from Kentucky Democrats about Judd:

“I think that there’s probably better candidates out there to run against Senator McConnell,” said State Sen. Johnny Ray Turner.

 

“I don’t think she runs at all and given her position on mining, it would probably be a race that Democrats like myself would have trouble supporting her,” Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said.

 

“There’s no question that the issue of coal and her position on mountaintop mining, in my opinion, would be harmful to her in coal regions of the commonwealth of Kentucky,” State Rep. Rocky Adkins said.

 

“I don’t believe she needs to be running for U.S. Senate,” said State Sen. Dennis Parrett.

 

“She’s taken some stances on a few issues that would be detrimental to her,” State Sen. Ray Jones.

 

“I don’t know that her background would lend itself to running a political campaign and or serving in Washington necessarily,” said State Sen. Robin Webb.

 

“If Judd runs, the conversation will be about her being a liberal, Hollywood star. It’s not going to be about (McConnell). And I don’t think that’s the ground we want to be on,” said Jimmy Cauley, a Kentucky Democratic strategist.

 

“I have yet to talk to an elected official in Kentucky — other than [Rep.] John [Yarmuth] — who thinks Ashley should run or thinks she can prevail in this contest,” said Dale Emmons, a Democratic operative in Kentucky.

 

TheDC reported earlier this week about some of the baggage she would bring with her into a Senate campaign, mostly in the form of statements that would likely not go over well with the conservative-leaning voters of Kentucky. (RELATED: Judd has history of bizarre comments)

Among those statements: She said it’s “unconscionable to breed” while there are so many starving children in the world, criticized the tradition of fathers “giving away” their daughters at weddings, compared mountaintop removal mining to the Rwandan genocide and characterized Christianity as a religion that “legitimizes and seals male power.”

As she continues to flirt with a run, all eyes will be on her speech Friday at the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services. The topic of her address is “Progress and Perspectives: Women’s Reproductive Health, a conversation with Ashley Judd.”

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