Media Fantasy? Ashley Judd Mulls Senate Bid
Is Ashley Judd going from Hollywood to Capitol Hill?
The media sure hope so. Otherwise Mitch McConnell’s reelection race will be deadly dull.
The well-known actress was mooted as a potential candidate for US Senate from Kentucky last month in what merely seemed to be a light-hearted post-election story. After all, the list of celebrities who have mooted runs for public office could fill a phone book, precious few have actually followed through. But it seems Judd is serious.
Politico is reporting that ”Judd has spoken with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about the possibility of a run, has discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and has begun to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the Bluegrass State.” Further, as Kentucky’s lone Democratic congressman, John Yarmuth, told Politico, “She is doing all the things that a serious candidate exploring a race should do. I think there are a lot of people, and I was one of them, who wanted to let her know that her candidacy would be an exciting prospect for us. That’s what I wanted her to know. A lot of the labor unions, they were telling me that too.”
This doesn’t make Judd a real candidate yet, but it does make her an entirely credible potential candidate (as opposed to say, Donald Trump for president or Charles Barkley for governor of Alabama). The question then becomes how the media treats Judd. Is she still a celebrity who spouts off for pet causes, or is this someone who should be treated as a bona fide contender? The answer is, of course, the latter.
Once Judd actually starts formally considering a run for office, she has to be taken seriously for good or for ill. Until she formally bows out of running, she has to expect that every public utterance is on-the-record and that every comment about politics she makes is treated with the same regard as that of her prospective opponent, who is the Senate minority leader. Judd had better be prepared for tougher scrutiny than she gets from the entertainment press.
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