- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Actress Ashley Judd announced Wednesday she will not run for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, ending hopes within some Democratic circles that her star power would give her a chance of knocking off Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 election.

“After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family,” Miss Judd said via Twitter.

Miss Judd, 44, had flirted with the idea of running for weeks, and political observers said she would have climbed onto the political stage with a number of pluses and minuses.

On the one hand, she had spent part of her high school years in the state, graduated from the University of Kentucky and could have used her notoriety to raise the sort of money needed to compete against a political heavyweight like Mr. McConnell.

On the other hand, she is a political novice, having never run for political office, and she carried a ton of baggage from her days in Hollywood that Republicans inevitably would have used against her.

“Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate,” Miss Judd said on Twitter. “I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people and new leader. While that won’t be me at this time, I will continue to work as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: the people, their needs, dreams, and great potential. Thanks for even considering me as that person & know how much I love our Commonwealth. Thank you!”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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