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Kentucky Democrats lining up behind possible Ashley Judd Senate bid

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Feb. 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM   |   Comments

Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Kentucky Democrats are loving the idea of Ashley Judd running for Senate.

If she runs, Judd would be challenging Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just happens to be the least popular Senator in the country. According to a Public Policy Poll released in December, McConnell has just a 37 percent approval rating--with 55 percent disapproval--among Kentucky voters.

In a hypothetical match-up with against the five-term Senator, Judd trailed by just a few points 47 to 43, in the same poll.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has come out as Judd's most ardent supporter in state, telling ABC that he would be shocked if she doesn't make a play for the seat.

"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 said. "She is certainly acting like a candidate, a potential candidate.

And Yarmuth is hardly alone, but the party leadership is non-committal--for now.

Kentucky Go. Steve Beshear told the Courier-Journal he had already spoken to Judd about a possible run and planned to meet with her to strategize.

"There are a number of people that are still talking about running for the U.S. Senate, and I think she would be a very serious candidate, and there may be others that would be also,” Beshear said. “But you know, I’m going to encourage as many as possible to take a look at it, and we can come up with the best candidate.”

“The governor is happy to talk with her and anyone who is considering the race,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Dan Logsdon said in a statement.

And the Democrats aren't the only ones taking Judd's candidacy seriously.

Even as Judd conducts opposition research on herself ahead of what will certainly be a brutal race, both McConnell and the Karl Rove-run American Crossroads PAC have fired preemptive strikes in her direction.

McConnell's ad targets other potential opponents, but makes sure to hit Judd for her California and Tennessee residency (she grew up in Kentucky, but owns a home in Williamson County, Tenn.). And the American Crossroads ad hits Judd for her support of President Obama and liberal stances.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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