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Would Tennessee let Kentucky steal Ashley Judd for a U.S. Senate run?

10:23 PM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
Ashley Judd/file
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By Michael Cass / The Tennessean

Actress-activist Ashley Judd has made some noise as a Tennessee Democrat this year, attending the Democratic National Convention as a Volunteer State delegate in September and penning a Tennessean op-ed last week calling on controversial Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais to hang it up.

But Huffington Post political analyst Howard Fineman said on "The Chris Matthews Show" Sunday that Judd's old Kentucky home could be calling her north to run for the Senate from there in 2014. The Democrats' target would be a big one: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican first elected in 1984.

"The Democrats are desperate to beat Mitch McConnell, the icon of Republicanism in the Senate," Fineman said. "They think they have a candidate in Kentucky to run against him - no kidding, Ashley Judd, who's from Kentucky, who's very active politically. They want her. I know they want her. The money people in Kentucky want Ashley Judd."

"Everybody's going to remember that one," Chris Matthews said as the segment wound down.

Judd, 44, grew up in Kentucky and went to school at its flagship university, whose so-so basketball team she continues to very publicly support. (That was sarcasm, UK fans. Put the pitchforks down. I'm just a poor Georgia fan who needs an occasional laugh.) But she lives in Williamson County with her husband, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti.

Judd told The Tennessean in an interview in August that Tennessee Democrats had not approached her about running against U.S. Sen. Bob Corker in tomorrow's election. (Instead, they managed to nominate - and promptly disavow - Mark Clayton.) She said she wouldn't have run even if they had.

"The way I'm doing my service right now is the best use of me," she said.

Of course, Tennessee's other senator, Republican Lamar Alexander, will be up for re-election at the same time as McConnell. Assuming the Tennessee Democratic Party can get its act together, let the political bidding war begin.

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