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Ashley Judd getting a divorce. Does that make a Senate run more likely?

Ashley Judd, an-eighth generation Kentucky native, has lived in Tennessee and Scotland with her husband. Some Kentucky Democrats would like to see Ms. Judd take on Mitch McConnell in 2014.

By Staff writer / January 30, 2013

Ashley Judd arrives at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball in Sept.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP



Actress Ashley Judd and her husband, race car driver Dario Franchitti, are getting divorced after 11 years of marriage. We’re sure this is sad for both of them, but we’re going to jump ahead to the question every bored aide in the Hart Senate Office Building asked themselves Wednesday when they read the news: Does this mean she’s going to run for Senate in Kentucky?

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[Editor's note: The original version of this story gave the wrong first name for Mr. Franchitti.]

Maybe you didn’t know that was a possibility. But it’s true: Some Kentucky Democrats are talking up Ms. Judd, an eighth-generation Kentucky native, as an ideal candidate to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.

Judd was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention this summer and is something of a political activist, so it’s not exactly like this is a wacky idea. Plus she’s been noncommittal in an encouraging kind of way when asked if she’s interested.

“I am incredibly honored and frankly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support – that the people of Kentucky are interested in having me represent them is the greatest honor of my life so far and I am certainly taking a close look at it,” said Judd before the Kentucky Society of Washington’s Bluegrass Ball in Washington on Jan. 19, according to a report in Politico.

OK, then. Does her impending divorce indicate she’s more likely to do this, or less?

Over at The Atlantic, Michael Catalini thinks it means Judd will take a pass.

“Given this development, there’s a chance Judd won’t want to jump into a messy political campaign,” he writes.

Catalini adds that this is “bad news” for Senator McConnell, since Judd would be politically weaker than other Democrats he might face. After all, Kentucky is a conservative state, and Judd’s own grandmother called her a “Hollywood liberal.” Plus, while she was a DNC delegate, she didn’t represent Kentucky. She represented Tennessee – the state she and Franchitti called home.


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