It looks like the dirt-digging campaign against Ashley Judd might not have scared off the latest celebrity candidate after all: According to an "insider" interviewed by Fox News, the actress is seriously considering running against famously unpopular (and famously powerful) Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014. "At least in Ashley's mind, it is happening," according to this anonymous source speaking with Fox's Hollie McKay. The choice to enter politics, the source explains, would be an extension of her high-profile second career in philanthropy: "She has devoted herself to many important causes and stepped away from the Hollywood spotlight so this seems like the logical next step. I don't know if she will be successful, but her heart is in the right place."
The report is a bit short on detail, but it otherwise validates the almost comically early and aggressive campaign to discredit Judd in the eyes of Kentucky voters, before she's even said if she was interested in jumping in. Beginning with a pair of ads — one by Karl Rove, the other by McConnell's re-election campaign — suggesting Judd was insufficiently dedicated to Kentucky, the muck-racking campaign continued with a spate of articles in conservative outlets, whose reporters dugg up Judd's voting record and reprinted some of the angrier sections of her 2012 memoir, All that is Bitter and Sweet. (One sample: "It’s unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.")
Meanwhile, the Judd camp has been pretty demure when addressing questions about her potential future in office. She's coy in public appearances, to the point that a tweet about a liberal Super PAC's attack on McConnell's wife last month may have been the closest thing to interest she's shown. (She's also engaged briefly on Twitter with the very muckrackers who've been after her.) Responding to Karl Rove's ad against her, Judd's publicist told The Washington Post, "Ashley thanks Senator McConnell, Karl Rove, and their negative allies for all the attention as she considers her future political plans, although a decision hasn’t been made yet."
Incidentally, the latest effort to impugn Judd's character arrived on Friday morning. The National Republican Senatorial Committee pushed out a mock fundraising email that plays up the fact that Judd lives on a farm in Tennessee but "desperately" wants to run for office in Kentucky:
"Despite the fact that she lives in Tennessee, Judd desperately wants to run for Senate in neighboring Kentucky," the ad reads.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.