DSCC not committing to Ashley Judd yet

March 11, 2013

Ashley Judd kisses the University of Kentucky mascot during a timeout at a UK basketball game in 2010. Judd, an alum, is a mainstay at UK basketball games and is considering running for Senate in Kentucky in 2014. (James Crisp/AP)

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil wouldn't tip his hand Monday about the extent to which the committee is wooing Ashley Judd to challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but he mentioned her and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes as potential contenders for a race he characterized as a serious pickup opportunity.

Cecil, who called the contest a "top priority" for Senate Democrats' campaign arm on a conference call with reporters, wouldn't delve into details of the committee's recruiting strategy, saying the state features a "handful of quality candidates," before mentioning two possibilities by name: Judd and Grimes.

Judd recently met with DSCC officials and is weighing a bid. She was in Washington for widely covered speech this month but didn't hint at her odds of entering the Senate race.

Kentucky-based LEO Weekly reported Friday that unnamed Democratic sources said the DSCC was backing off its push for Judd in favor of taking a second look at Grimes after it conducted a poll that showed Grimes running better against McConnell. When asked about the report, Cecil suggested it didn't come from the committee and didn't say anything about polling.

"We don't spend a lot of time talking to weekly newspapers around the country about our recruitment strategy. That is certainly true in this case," he said.

Cecil vowed to focus on landing a candidate who can draw a contrast with McConnell in 2014.

"We are going to be focused on making sure that we recruit, and that ultimately a candidate runs that can take on Mitch McConnell and draw a very strong contrast, and in particular focus on his miserable record," Cecil said.

Polling shows McConnell is vulnerable to a strong challenge. And The Fix recently explained why Judd's profile could make her vulnerable to McConnell's campaign strategy.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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