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So I'm happy to hear people already talk about the 2014 mid terms.  I'm looking forward to it because I'll have more diaries for all of you and I enjoy writing these diaries.  I will have a diary about my top targets and candidates for 2014 soon but lets talk about Kentucky and the big rumor going around right now.  Already there's speculation that beautiful actress, activist and Kentucky native Ashley Judd might be gearing up for a run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R) seat:

Ashley Judd a senator? Although the actress hasn't made any definitive statements to confirm that she will be running against Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014, people are talking about a Judd-McConnell race as if it will be the race of the century, and no one seems to know how the rumor started. - The Examiner, 11/11/12
Judd is a Kentucky native who lives in Tennessee.  I don't know if this is noise from a bored media or if Judd is serious but the rumor has caught Senator McConnell's team's attention:

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The rumor, or whatever it is, about Ashley Judd's possible senatorial aspirations even caught the attention of Jesse Benton, the senator's campaign manager, who told Us Weekly, "Senator [Mitch] McConnell and his wife are big fans of Ashley Judd's movies and appreciate her energy, particularly when it comes to getting young people engaged in the political process." - The Examiner, 11/11/12
John Yarmuth, who is now Kentucky's sole Democratic congressman loves the idea of Judd running against Kentucky's most powerful Republican politician:

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"If you had an Ashley Judd-McConnell race, I think it would be as high profile as a race as Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown," said U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth from Kentucky. "The money would pour in here as soon as she entered the race." - Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/8/12
Now here's Judd's response to the rumor:

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“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.” - The Daily Beast, 11/10/12
I am not sure how to feel about having Judd as a candidate.  I, like many Democrats and Kos community members, am very serious about defeating McConnell in 2014 and we have a long bench of great candidates to run including Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson and State Auditor Adam Edelen, just to name a few.  My personal choice is Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who isn't ruling out a run against McConnell:

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There has been a lot of encouragement, not only here in the Commonwealth but nationally. With the vice presidential debate coming here to Kentucky, there were a lot of eyes on what is happening here in this state and I’m very humbled and honored by those who have given me some excitement and energy and encouragement to pursue that. But right now, you know, I am 10 months on the job, just elected in November, led my party’s ticket, excited about that and currently our only female constitutional officer here in the Commonwealth, the youngest female secretary of state nationwide.

My responsibilities and my focus is putting my energy towards what I was elected to do, and that’s to be the best secretary of state this Commonwealth has had – to follow in the footsteps of people that I think have done some great work, who might not be of my same party, people like Trey Grayson, people like Bob Babbage and John Y. Brown. That’s where my energy and focus is right now. - cn|2, 10/22/12

Defeating McConnell won't be easy and unfortunately, McConnell doesn't have to worry about a Tea Party challenger:

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David Adams, an influential Kentucky tea party organizer who was the campaign manager for Sen. Rand Paul (R)’s primary campaign, said “there’s no one even talking about” running against McConnell. “It’s a list right now that is zero,” he said, noting that in the tea party movement in Kentucky, “an excess of anger has led to a resurgence of apathy” as people are feeling that little can be done about the growing debt and deficit. - Roll Call, 4/30/12
Not to mention McConnell has $5.1 million on hand.  But even McConnell knows that the Democrats have a deep bench in terms of candidates:
The Democratic bench to take on McConnell is deeper than the tea party’s, but no one is making much noise about the race.

“I’m not sure anybody is going to run,” one Kentucky Democratic operative bemoaned, with only a touch of hyperbole. The source noted Democrats’ resounding successes on the local and state levels and routine defeats in federal elections.

Crit Luallen, state Sen. Dennis Parrett, state Auditor Adam Edelen and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes are mentioned as potential contenders. Parrett is a conservative, anti-abortion-rights, pro-gun-rights farmer and businessman who knocked off a 15-year GOP incumbent in 2010. Edelen, 37, has the look of a rising political star, and Grimes, 33, is politically well-connected.

Edelen and Grimes both have the advantage of not being up for re-election until 2015. And both, Democrats note, would allow for a strong contrast between a fresh new voice for Kentucky and McConnell, who will be 72 in November 2014. - Roll Call, 4/30/12

Plus Kentucky Democrats have a strong message to run on against McConnell:
Crit Luallen, a former Kentucky state auditor and something of a senior stateswoman in Kentucky Democratic politics, explained that the campaign narrative against McConnell won’t be difficult.

“He’s lost touch with the people of Kentucky,” she said. “His real focus is on his national leadership role.” She said the Bluegrass State needs a Senator “not so caught up in the partisan rancor in Washington.” - Roll Call, 4/30/12

It's still too early to tell but whether it's Grimes or Judd, we will have a long battle ahead of us.  But it's an important battle.  McConnell is the face of GOP obstruction in the U.S. Senate:

Plus according to a poll conducted by the Louisville Courier-Journal back in September, McConnell has a 51% approval rating:

The poll of 606 likely voters was conducted Sept. 11-13 by SurveyUSA. Seventy-six percent of respondents answered a recorded questionnaire on their home phones, while 24 percent, who were pre-screened on cellphones, replied to written surveys sent to them on the Internet.

The poll numbers for McConnell and Paul indicate no potential re-election problems, said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

“Any member who can get over 50 percent now is doing great,” she said. “Remember, Congress has a job approval rating of 12 (percent). … This is not a beloved group of people.” - Louisville Courier-Journal, 9/16/12

Of course the right will use the "out-of-touch-Hollywood-liberal" rhetoric to discourage Judd's run.  We successfully helped Al Franken win his Senate race in 2008 but Minnesota is a very different state than Kentucky.  Then again, PPP did show that the Democrats best choice for U.S. Senate in Texas was Tommy Lee Jones:

But then again, Judd coming back to Kentucky to run for Senate could backfire just like it did for Bob Kerrey (D) in his return to Nebraska to retrieve his old seat.  I still plan on making McConnell one of my top targets in 2014 along with Governor Tom Corbett (R) in Pennsylvania and Governor Rick Scott (R) in Florida.  Judd is a very smart and passionate activist and knows how to work a crowd and I am all for sending more strong, smart women to the U.S. Senate but the question is who would be better candidate, Judd or Grimes?  Cast your vote below.  


Who do you think is the Democrats best candidate to run against Mitch McConnell in 2014?

62%73 votes
23%27 votes
6%8 votes
1%2 votes
5%7 votes

| 117 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Exactly what they need! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, Miss Blue, TheChocolateChips

    Democrats who continually "reward" the old tried-and-true members of the party lose and lose again.

    It's been written at this site that the coal industry will pull everything against her. She needs to get ahead of that by advocating for lots of research money to improve the way we mine and use coal. (It's not going away, no matter how much I'd like to make that happen.)

    When the general public begins to understand her depth of preparation and background, she'll fly.

  •  How much money does she really have? (0+ / 0-)

    I would only be interested in Judd in that she could self-finance.  That said, some pluses:

    1) Self-financing.

    2) McConnell could look like a bully - its doubtful he could run any truly nasty ads.

    3) Aren't the tea-partiers always talking about how you don't need no stinkin' degrees or experience to govern?  Could bring in some votes against the "establishment"

    4) Make him defend his seat and spend money.

    If its her or someone else who will lose by 30 and not make him spend money - I say go for it.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:02:00 AM PST

  •  So far stung support for Judd. Maybe we could (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, TheChocolateChips

    save Grimes for 2016, especially if Rand Paul actually decides to run for President in 2016.

  •  She's got my vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, eXtina

    She will also get my money and my time. If we can elect a Dem governor we can elect a Dem Senator.  I think she should go for it.

  •  Alison would be better for the state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mindful Nature, HistoryCARD

    Ashley doesn't even live here.  Alison's from the Lexington area.  I would want her in 2016 for sure.

  •  If she is the strongest candidate to unseat the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    loathsomely repugnant McTurtle, I'm all for it

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:36:14 AM PST

  •  The Choice Is Simple (0+ / 0-)

    Do we want to defeat McConnell, or is Kentucky just too red for that and therefore do we want someone who can at least articulate a progressive vision that will make the case of what Democrats can do for the state?

    If we want the former I think we probably need to look elsewhere.  If we want the later Judd just might fit the bill.

    I'll leave the rest to the Democrats of Kentucky.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:47:37 AM PST

  •  but she's shown her boobies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in movies. those aren't the family values Kentuckians want

  •  If Judd decides to run, she should make the (0+ / 0-)

    announcement soon.  In her case, she needs to move back to Kentucky before 2013.  My concern is that because she lives in Tennessee we might see a repeat of what happened in Nebraska.  Of course Kerrey ended up not having a shot, except for that brief moment where he was surging.  He came back to Nebraska too late so Judd should come back to Kentucky before the new year begins.  Help her get settled and get to make a personal connection with Kentucky residents.

  •  I've talked to Alison on several occasions ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She is not going to tip her hand just yet on what her future plans are, but you'd have to be stupid to not believe she has ambitions down the road. She's quite popular in KY and probably would have a better chance that Judd to be honest. I've already promised her I would support her if she decides to run.

  •  Why should she run for the Senate just because (0+ / 0-)

    she's an actress?  It doesn't make sense.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:07:18 PM PST

  •  Not impressed (0+ / 0-)

    I can't go into detail but I have had personal contact with Ms. Judd for a substantial period of time and found her a total self-absorbed snob.

    Her mom and sister on the other hand were absolute dolls, in fact, Naomi had to apologize for Ashley's behavior on several occasions.

    Not to say she wouldn't make a good politician, I don't know.  

    My bumper sticker says "If Romney Wins I Will Die" Evil lady at gas station laughed at me saying"He's going to win where do I send the flowers?" She laughed at me/to her the uninsured are funny-ArtemisBSG 2012

    by ArtemisBSG on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:31:40 PM PST

  •  "There's not enough money in politics" (0+ / 0-)

    ...that was the ludicrous statement by one of the most ludicrous crackpots to ever buy themselves a political office by prostituting themselves completely to the filthy rich. And, McConnell has never, to the best of my knowledged backtracked from that insane position.

    It seems to me that McConnell's worship of money and his being part of the cesspool of filthy political money should be a key message against him.

    And, with the insanity experienced by many people throughout this country in the last election, all of the filth politics fueled by secret, corporate money thanks to Citizens United, McConnell's former and current position that there is "not enough money in politics" exposes how completely amoral and insance he is.

  •  There is NO WAY she could win (0+ / 0-)

    I saw this on an Alaskan blog yesterday and all the comments (from people NOT from Kentucky) were gushing about how intelligent and educated she is and how her celebrity status would be such a plus for her - which is bullsh*t.  I told them this:

    "I grew up in Louisville and my father's family is from eastern Kentucky and I'm convinced that she couldn't win. While you might initially think that her celebrity status, coupled with her native ties to the state, would be a big plus for her, her persistent public protests against mountain top removal mining would doom her in any run for office in coal country like Kentucky.  

    She would portrayed to voters by the opposition (and, indeed, already is) as anti-coal and, thus, anti-job in a huge region of the state where people depend on mining for employment because there simply isn't any other major industry there."

    This whole idea of her running to unseat McConnell is a stupid and pointless exercise in futility.  I mean no disrespect to Ms. Judd by that statement and I appreciate and agree with her activism against mountaintop removal mining, but it's simply the truth.

    •  I was waiting for someone to give a strong (0+ / 0-)

      dissenting argument against the idea of Judd running.  I stand by my ideal choice, Alison Grimes.  Unless you have any objection to her running which I am interested to hear and interested to hear your pick.  

      •  Jerry Abramson, the current Lieutenant Governor (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is the only one I think has a real chance of unseating McConnell.  He's the best politician of the bunch, has enjoyed a consistently high popularity rating (there's a reason he was called "Mayor for life" when he was Mayor of Louisville) and he has the most political experience.  

        Abramson previously served as the longest serving Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. Before his most recent term as the Metro Mayor of the merged city-county government Louisville Metro (a merger he championed), Abramson was the only person to have served three terms as Mayor of Louisville, fulfilling the allowed term limit. Abramson's original third term was extended by one year as part of a state-mandated transition to align the dates of local and federal elections.
        Abramson's long period of service to Louisville as its mayor, as well as the fact that Abramson had never faced strong opposition in mayoral elections, led to the nickname of "mayor for life" being used locally, including by Louisville's own popular radio personality Terry Meiners. Abramson's popularity resulted in Bluegrass Poll approval ratings ranging from a 91 percent high in 1990 to a 73 percent low in 1994.[2]
        From 1993 to 1994, he was President of the United States Conference of Mayors. He was a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[3] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.
        On July 19, 2009, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced that Abramson would be running for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky on his ticket in 2011.[4] Abramson has also served as an executive-in-residence at Bellarmine University.[5]
        •  I'm liking what I'm reading plus he would be KY's (0+ / 0-)

          first Jewish U.S. Senator.  If guys like John Yarmuth and Steve Cohen can win in the south and with Abramson having a great reputation in Louisville and winning Lt. Governor, it could be possible.  Any word if he's said anything about running in 2014?

          •  No word about him running (0+ / 0-)

            but he would be the best shot, in my opinion.  Beshear would be my close second choice, as far as having a real chance at unseating McConnell.  Grimes simply doesn't have the instant name recognition either of those two do and that would be a big factor in getting the attention of voters.  McConnell is practically an institution in Kentucky and you would have to have a very big political name recognition advantage right from the start to have any chance at all against him.

            •  Ok, just read that Abramson is considering running (0+ / 0-)

              for McConnell's seat.  It sounds like there are a lot of potential candidates and I'm happy to hear that a lot of Democrats are pretty eager to make a run for this seat.  We'll just have to wait and see.  I can already tell you that a lot of Republicans are gearing up to take on Mark Begich in Alaska including Tea Party clown Joe Miller.

  •  She would be a good bid... (0+ / 0-)

    on name recognition alone.  Something probably ignored by non-Kentuckians is that she is considered the number #1 fan of University of Kentucky basketball and is well known among Kentuckians on that basis alone besides being an activist/actress.  Being connected to UK basketball vs. McConnell (who went to U. of Louisville) would certainly be dinner table discussion.

    (Seriously college basketball is life in Kentucky for anyone who doesn't live here!)

  •  I don't know what it would take... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cindiloohoo, poopdogcomedy, Paddy999

    to unseat Yertle; but Ashley has three problems: she is a woman; she is a political novice or lightweight, and, despite her love of Kentucky, she can easily be painted as a left-wing, Hollywood, elitist Liburl.

    It is a sad reflection on the electorate in Kentucky that her strongest asset may be that she is a strident University of Kentucky Basketball fan. Yertle attended the University of Louisville, their arch-rival. McConnell did get his law degree from U of K but does not "bleed blue" to the extent that Judd does.  With many Kentuckians basketball trumps religion or politics.

    I never liked McConnell but when he took credit for bringing the Toyota Assembly Plant to Georgetown, KY; my uncaring antipathy turned to outright, intense loathing. He has about 5 years of age on me so I hope I outlive him for no other reason than to piss on his grave before I die.

    Back in the 1980's I had a small part, among of scores of people within Governor Martha Layne Collins (D) administration's long, hard, intensive effort to win that plant for Kentucky; his announcement in DC. the night before the official announcement in Georgetown is just another example of Rethug treachery and immorality. He is scum.

    I am all for whomever the we Dems put up and will do whatever I can to help get McConnell out of the Senate.  But let 's not kid ourselves, Mitchie is a tough, well-connected, amoral, vicious, pol who is good at winning. It will be an uphill battle regardless of who we Dems put up.

    In the above poll I chose Jerry Abramson because he is overall the most qualified and a true progressive but I would only put his chances to unseat McConnell at 30-40%.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:35:15 PM PST

    •  Agree with everything you said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and think Jerry is the best chance against McConnell, as well, even though you're probably right about the percentage.  I think it's going to take catching ol' Yertle red-handed in something so horrible it can't be forgiven or forgotten by KY voters to budge him from his seat.  

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