Ashley Judd Senate Run Not Happening

Actress and activist Ashley Judd announced Wednesday she would not challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2014.

Judd tweeted the news on Wednesday:

Sources told The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza "the timing just wasn't right" for a Judd Senate run.

McConnell had appeared wary of a challenge from Judd, and early rounds of polling gauging the matchup -- including one from his campaign -- suggested that she could have provided a viable challenge.

With Judd out of the race, eyes will likely shift to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Politico reported in March that high-profile Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, had been quietly attempting to woo Grimes into a Senate run, believing she'd pose a bigger threat to McConnell than Judd.

UPDATE: 6:13 p.m. -- Joe Arnold of WHAS in Louisville reports Grimes plans to take the next step toward a Senate run:

UPDATE: 6:35 p.m. -- A source close to Ashley Judd, who two weeks ago described her as "95 percent there" on a decision to enter the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate, told HuffPost's Howard Fineman late Wednesday afternoon that she had "gone back and forth in recent days."

The source, a close political adviser, said that there was no single factor driving Judd's decision not to run, but that one consideration was a recently arising "family situation" involving a relative -- "not one of the famous ones" -- that "caused her to consider how she wanted to spend the next two years or more of her life." The source refused to be more specific.

A few weeks ago, HuffPost had reported that Judd told at least three Kentucky political allies that she planned to enter the race. That led other Kentucky Democrats to step up their search for an alternative, focusing on Grimes.

UPDATE: 10:27 p.m. -- As late as Monday, Judd was still toggling back and forth, according to Rep. John Yarmuth, the Louisville Democrat who was one of her leading supporters.

Judd called Yarmuth Monday night to say that she had concluded that the timing was not right. But a few hours later, she texted him to say that she was reconsidering -- again -- because some of her most ardent supporters were very "convincing."

Judd may not be through with the big Kentucky tease. She is said to be buying a home in her ancestral state and has given the impression that she indeed wants to run for U.S. Senate.

If that's so, look for Judd to start talking about running against Sen. Rand Paul (R) in 2016.

Now THAT would be an entertaining race,



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