Targeting Ashley Judd, McConnell’s campaign gets an early start

Ashley Judd in New York City on March 13, 2012.
Ashley Judd in New York City on March 13, 2012.
Jude Domski/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for his 2014 re-election campaign with his first attack ad against Kentucky Democrats including actress Ashley Judd, who has been on the Republican party’s radar as a potential leading contender. The ad, a web video, mocks President Obama and the Democrats’ search for a viable candidate who could challenge the Kentucky senator.  “We all know President Obama and his liberal allies have made Senator McConnell their number one target,” said Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager. “We thought we would have a little fun with the problems they’ve had finding someone to carry President Obama’s banner in Kentucky.”

The video also uses footage of Ashley Judd at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Tennessee, a state she called “home.” Although Judd grew up in the state of Kentucky and graduated from the University of Kentucky, Republicans have happily pointed out the actress refers to Tennessee as her home state. While she has remained silent about her bid for Senate, Judd has been included in recent polling, which has made Republicans nervous.

Earlier this month, Judd was already targeted by Republican strategist Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, which took out a $10,000 buy on a web ad. The actress set up a feature for soliciting emails addresses on her website and sent out a teasing tweet this past month.

Finally, I did it! You may sign up to be on my mailing list: You’ll be the first to know, well, all sorts of things.

— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) February 8, 2013

McConnell’s three-minute web video also features several Democrats in Kentucky whose names have been floated as possible candidates. Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson has stated he’s not interested in running, and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is shown in the video talking about herself in the third-person.

The Hill reported Monday that McConnell could face a Tea Party-backed challenge in the Republican primary next year. With 21 months to go till the 2014 midterm election, the Senate Republican leader is making it clear that he’s prepared to fight hard for a sixth term.

Targeting Ashley Judd, McConnell's campaign gets an early start