Why Ashley Judd's Breakup Is Bad News for Mitch McConnell

The Atlantic

Actress Ashley Judd and Indy Car driver Dario Franchitti are ending their marriage after 11 years, and, yes, the news impacts Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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Judd is weighing whether to jump into politics and challenge McConnell in Kentucky in 2014. She was in Washington for the inauguration and attended an event at EMILY's List, the group that backs pro-choice Democratic women running for governor or Congress. Judd even carpooled with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who demonstrated she knows how to win in a red state after defeating the self-injurious Todd Akin. 

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In a statement, the former couple said they mutually agreed to end the marriage. Judd tweeted at Franchitti suggesting they plan to remain close — making a reference to "family," an awfully politically correct tweet. 

Family forever. @dariofranchitti

— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) January 30, 2013

Given this development, there's a chance Judd won't want to jump into a messy political campaign. If she doesn't enter the race, it would be bad news for McConnell, whose campaign has publicly telegraphed that they're looking forward to running against the actress. In addition, there are other more-conservative Democratic candidates waiting in the wings, such as Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who would be better-positioned to give the vulnerable McConnell a serious challenge. The Bluegrass State is a difficult place for Democrats. Mitt Romney beat President Obama by 23 points there, and Rand Paul defeated the establishment-backed Republican in the 2010 primary before going on to win decisively in the fall.

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Judd has previosuly said she's not certain if she'll run against McConnell, but she's "certainly taking a close look."

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"The people of Kentucky need a fighter," Judd said when she was in Washington, according to USA Today. "And certainly going back 10 generations, I've got some fighters from those hills in my family."

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