Ashley Judd continues Washington tour amid speculation over Senate run

Actress Ashley Judd will be honored for her humanitarian work on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., a boost for her growing profile in the nation's capital as speculation mounts over her political future.

Judd is weighing a bid against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and if she runs, the race will headline the 2014 Senate cycle.

While the contest is not yet official, Judd has met with top Democratic campaign officials as well as political leaders and potential donors in her home state, Kentucky. 

ADVERTISEMENT
She was in Washington Friday to speak at a George Washington University (GWU) event on women's health issues. On Saturday night, she will attend a gala in downtown D.C. for the Global India Fund.

The group plans to honor Judd for her years of activism on global AIDs and other issues. In particular, the event will highlight the challenges facing India's women.

"Ashley has been a tireless advocate for girls and women in India, and across the developing world," said Dr. Amita N. Vyas, founder of the Global India Fund, in a recent statement.

"Through her extensive travels and global advocacy efforts Ashley has raised the profile of women and girl’s health issues among politicians, policy makers and the general public."

Judd's D.C. tour has aroused significant media interest, as election-watchers wait for signs that she will definitively challenge the Senate's top Republican.

On Friday at GWU, she was mum on the possibility and avoided discussing it with reporters.

The speech addressed her experience with sexual violence — Judd is a three-time victim of rape — and gave her an opportunity to describe her Kentucky upbringing to the assembled D.C. press corps.

Republicans have already slammed Judd, who currently lives in Tennessee, as a would-be carpetbagger, and it's clear her team sees the attack as a possible source of trouble.

While ostensibly separate from Judd's political prospects, a Global India Fund statement Friday referred to Judd as an "eighth-generation Kentuckian."

"I am honored to accept this award from the Global India Fund on behalf of the many inspiring girls, women and health workers I have met over the years who are far more deserving than I of recognition for the work they do every day," Judd said in a recent statement.

"Access to basic healthcare should never be a barrier for a girl or woman to reach their full potential."

Judd has said she will announce her decision sometime before the annual Kentucky Derby in early May.

She currently works with Population Services International, a global health organization, as a board member and an ambassador on youth AIDs.


More in Campaign

GOP lawmaker to run for Rubio’s seat

Read more »