Yes, this story has been marinating for quite some time, but a new ad from American Crossroads depicts her as a left-wing, carpetbagging opportunist, who could unseat incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in what could be the “biggest upset ever for a celebrity politician.”
This week’s announcement that Ashley Judd and husband Dario Franchitti called it quits after 11 years of marriage had one surprising effect: Proof, claimed some pundits, that the 44-year-old actress is preparing a 2014 race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I’m old enough to remember when a fresh divorce signaled that a potential candidate wouldn’t be entering a political race. Progress!
Furthermore, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger noted that:
• McConnell isn’t beloved in his home state, but the savvy fifth-term senator has a huge war chest and an established political team on the ground. Judd has never run for elected office.
• Judd hasn’t lived in Kentucky since college; she now calls Tennessee home. (She was a delegate from that state at the 2012 DNC convention.) Aside from reestablishing residency, she’ll face charges of being a carpetbagger. (Not a problem for Hillary Clinton in New York, but a huge factor in Bob Kerrey’s losing bid in Nebraska.)
• She’s a progressive liberal. Kentucky is historically a conservative state. Currently, both senators and five of the six representatives are Republicans.
• She’s an actress best known for her pretty face and hot body. Actors (Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sono Bono, Al Franken) successfully transitioned from showbiz to politics. Actresses (Roseanne Barr and . . .) not so much.
Additionally, The Post compiled a history of celebrity politicians, and showed how history isn’t on Judd’s side.
The three biggest such political wins of the last 15 years all featured the celebrity winning with less than half of the vote in an unusual race.
* Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, ran in a very good year for Democrats in 2008 and also had a three-way race, with independent candidate and former senator Dean Barkley pulling 15 percent of the vote. Franken won with just less than 42 percent of the vote.
* Action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won his first term as governor of California in a 2003 recall election that was essentially a two-month sprint and featured dozens of candidates and an odd format. He took less than 49 percent of the vote.
* Jesse Ventura (I), a professional wrestler and actor, won a three-way race for Minnesota governor in 1998 with just 37 percent of the vote.
While she’s been outspoken on certain issues, Judd doesn’t have the kind of hands-on political experience of a Reagan, a Lodge or a Murphy. And it’s hard to see her benefiting from the kind of field that Franken, Schwarzenegger and Ventura had, because third parties don’t often field candidates in Kentucky — much less viable ones.
So, maybe Judd should just continue to make movies and television shows about ex-CIA agents trying to find their children. Bring back Missing!