For the past few weeks I’ve used this forum to theorize why Ashley Judd should not run for the U.S. Senate. Wednesday afternoon, Judd made a responsible decision and opted not to challenge Mitch McConnell in 2014. I applaud her action, and her promptness in making the announcement right away. She originally set Derby Day as the deadline. But I -along with many others-urged her not to drag things out that long. Whether she chose to listen to some of those collective voices or not, I don’t know. But Judd has made a good call in remaining sidelined as a candidate.
My reasons for wanting Judd not to run have been listed here several times, so I’ll not rehash those, but I will give her another suggestion. Don’t sit on the sidelines if you have any other future political aspirations. If Judd is truly serious about being considered for public office, she needs to get involved in local politics. It matters not where she gets involved, she should just do it! Ashley Judd has a powerful pulpit with her celebrity recognition, to inform, and enforce change no matter if it’s in Kentucky or Tennessee. To sit back and fire potshots randomly is a waste of that power and forum. I would really like to see her show some respect for Kentucky voters and stump hard for whoever the 2014 Democratic Senate nominee may be. Just because Judd may not have been right for this race, doesn’t mean she won’t be right, or ready in the future. We need voices like hers to keep moving forward, and anyone willing to consider a run for public office still deserves our thanks and respect.
If that nominee next year is Secretary of State Allison Lundergan-Grimes, it becomes even more important for Judd to be out there helping. For such a powerful force like Judd to sit by and not campaign for another female candidate would be a travesty. I trust her backers in Kentucky like John Yarmuth, and The Recovering Politician himself Jonathan Miller will advise her of that and continue to advise her in her future political forays.
Grimes was coy about her plans following Judd’s announcement, but with so many Kentucky pundits and Democratic heavy-hitters advising her to take the plunge, I suspect she will opt in to challenge McConnell. If she can avoid a primary fight, Grimes could very well be the one who KO’s McConnell for the first time in his political career. As for other Dems who might consider a run? Well several are possible, but Grimes seems to be the top chpice among those in the know. As mentioned her last week, she’s assured of serious backing from national Dems as well as Kentuckians. No less than Bill Clinton has consulted with her about the race, and I’m hearing several other national figures are in her corner as well. That virtually assures Grimes of enough money to undertake such a campaign. McConnell himself has called money “the mother’s milk of American politics.” The senior Senator from Kentucky has millions already in his war chest, and undoubtedly will raise millions more before the race even begins, so money is what Grimes will need the most.
Grimes has already proven she knows how to campaign and is very camera friendly, so she has that covered. She must be sure she has Judd’s endorsement to bring in the ultra-liberal wing of the state Democratic Party. Why? Because that means Louisville and Lexington. Both of the population centers in the state. Grimes has already shown her ability to win in both Eastern and Western Kentucky. Put it all together, and we could be looking at a win for Grimes next November.