Ashley Judd Not Running Senate

Ashley Judd has decided against a run for the Senate, deciding that that the timing wasn’t right to wage a bid for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s seat in Kentucky.

Judd announced on Twitter that “after serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities and energy at this time need to be focused on my family. Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate.”

Judd was the latest in a line of show biz figures to consider making the plunge into electoral politics, motivated by her participation in a host of issues including women’s rights as well as her role as a delegate at last year’s Democratic National Convention.

But even though she met with Democratic officials and strategists in Washington as she weighed a bid, Republicans seemed to savor the prospect of facing off against a left-leaning Hollywood celebrity in a red state. The American Crossroads SuperPAC put out a web video mocking her past statements, the most damaging of which was one in which she said “Tennessee is my home,” referring to her residence there.

But the fact that they were out with an attack ad so early was a sign that her potential opponents weren’t so sure that voters wouldn’t overlook her celebrity status and view her as a viable alternative to McConnell, who is relatively unpopular.

“I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people and new leader,” Judd said on Twitter. “While that won’t be me at this time, I will continue to work as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: the people and their needs, dreams, and great potential. Thanks for even considering me as that person and know how much I love our Commonwealth.”

Although industry figures like Val Kilmer and Alec Baldwin have weighed bids for elective office, they have not taken the plunge, with a heightened press scrutiny, more more than they are accustomed to, one of the impediments. One of the few Democrats to succeed is Al Franken, who won his Senate seat in Minnesota after a protracted recount in 2009. He has shunned national talk shows and the entertainment press since then, and faces re-election next year. But as Judd may have done should she had been elected, Franken has become a voice on some entertainment issues, including on the digital rights of artists, media c0nsolidation and intellectual property.

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