(WASHINGTON) — Actress Ashley Judd is making moves to take on GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
She hasn’t announced it yet, but her biggest supporter in Kentucky, Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, tells ABC News, “I would be surprised if she doesn’t run at this point.”
“My impression is this is something she wants to do, and she is now taking the time to make the contacts she needs to make throughout the state to try and generate commitments of support and in some cases fundraising,” Yarmuth says. “She is certainly acting like a candidate, a potential candidate.”
“I think in her own mind … she has made a decision to run and she’s doing the right thing and not ruffling any feathers along the way,” he adds.
Yarmuth, the only Kentucky Democrat in Congress, says he expects the decision to come soon.
The race will be one of the most watched in the country, with outside money pouring into the state.
Yarmuth notes, “It would be a great economic stimulus. It would be Christmas for six months or more,” especially for local television stations that would run political commercials.
“I think the contrast would be so marked and I think it will be someone with a vision for the future and someone so stuck in a rut in the past that he no longer represents the future of the commonwealth,” he says.
One thing that’s guaranteed is it will be a brutal race — a 30-year veteran of Washington against a Hollywood star active in liberal Democratic politics from a legendary family. Judd’s mother is the country singer Naomi Judd and her half-sister is the singer Wynonna Judd.
Yarmuth says Ashley Judd is ready and has even done opposition research on herself to see areas McConnell will try to “exploit.”
“I think she has no illusions about what Mitch McConnell will do and the fact that his entire career he has demonized opponents and never talks about himself,” Yarmuth says. “In her world she is used to dealing with a lot of nonsense so I think she will deal with it very well.”
And it’s already started. McConnell released a Web video called “Obama’s Kentucky Candidate,” which shows the president trying to find a candidate to take on McConnell. It goes after Judd and other Kentucky Democrats who may get into the race.
The video focuses on an issue that is clear to become one in the race: that Judd lives in Tennessee and not in Kentucky. In it, Judd calls both Tennessee and San Francisco “home.”
Judd’s family does go back eight generations in the state, though, and she is from Ashland in eastern Kentucky.
Yarmuth says the residency issue would not be a “particularly effective” one because “her roots are so firmly established growing up here.”
“Everyone knows that Kentucky is her first love,” he says.
Yarmuth calls the carpetbagger attacks a “waste of time” and hopes McConnell “keeps making them.”
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