Power Players

Sens. Stephen Colbert and Ashley Judd? The rocky road from stardom to politico

Power Players

Top Line

The speculation for the 2014 elections has already begun, and some of the Senate names being discussed you would expect to see on the silver screen rather than a ballot. Can you imagine a Sen. Ashley Judd? How about Sen. Stephen Colbert?

There's a long, and somewhat checkered history of celebrity politicians proving that Hollywood success can pave the road to Washington--Ronald Reagan being the ultimate example. Of course there are other examples as well, like the Govenator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura who wrestled his way to governor of Minnesota.

When celebrities become candidates, their notoriety brings attention to their race. As useful as name recognition may be when running for office, what's more important--and sometimes more difficult to determine--is whether they are qualified to hold public office and, of course, if they're serious.

Ashley Judd seems serious about considering a run for senate in her home state of Kentucky. The actress has actually come to Washington to talk with senators about challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in 2014.

Stephen Colbert, on the other hand, seems to be floating his candidacy as more of a publicity stunt than a serious venture. While Colbert has been cracking jokes about filling the seat vacated by resigning Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., don't count on this candidacy extending beyond the comedian's late night show.

So what's the secret recipe for turning celebrity status into a strong candidacy for national office? Being actively involved in the community they are running to represent helps lay the groundwork for a successful campaign for a national office. This may be the area where Judd runs into some problems, she doesn't actually reside in Kentucky; she instead lives in Tennessee.

To hear more about potential celebrity senators in 2014 and what makes for a successful candidacy, check out this week's Top Line.

ABC's Jordyn Phelps contributed to this episode.

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