Report: DSCC 're-evaluating' Judd following Kentucky Senate polling

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According to the Louisville Eccentric Observer, after receiving the results of the poll, the DSCC is "re-evaluating" its initial "all-in" support for Judd.

The poll was conducted for the committee by Fred Yang, who formerly worked for Gov. Steve Beshear (D), The Hill has learned. 

It reportedly showed Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes (D) might be a stronger contender against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Judd's potential challenge to McConnell has picked up steam in recent weeks. She's met with donors in Kentucky, the DSCC and, reports indicate, Democratic leaders in Washington.

But some Democrats in Kentucky remain skeptical of her candidacy, concerned that she could cost them a winnable race due to her liberal political leanings and connections to Obama, which could they fear could be toxic in a state that voted for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by more than 60 percent in 2012.

Judd also currently lives in Tennessee, though she grew up in Kentucky, and Republicans have already sought to make her residency an issue.

One Kentucky Democratic operative, Jim Cauley, who ran then-Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for president in Kentucky in 2008, has been an outspoken critic of her potential run, calling it a potential "catastrophe" for down-ballot races in one report.

But he said in recent weeks he had been told to tone down his criticism by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office.

Cauley told The Hill that a Reid aide told him that he was "a little rough" on Judd and that he "might want to ease up on her a bit cause she could become our candidate."

The DSCC says Judd is one of several potential "quality candidates" in Kentucky.

On a Monday-morning conference call with reporters, after the news of the poll broke, DSCC Political Director Guy Cecil demurred when asked about the committee's stance on the candidate.

“We think there are actually a handful of quality candidates in Kentucky, that there’s actually a deep bench,” he said, though he didn't deny the existence of the poll.

“Quality candidates would include folks like the secretary of state and folks like Ashley Judd.”

DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky echoed Cecil's comments, noting that there were numerous options for Democrats in Kentucky.

"Mitch McConnell is one of the least popular candidates in the country and there are any number of qualified candidates in Kentucky who would run a strong campaign against him," he said.

Grimes, who received more votes than any other statewide Democrat in her 2012 election, is considered ambitious by Democrats in Kentucky.

Her father, Jerry Lundergan, is a former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman and a top Democratic donor in the state. Though one of Judd's advantages as a candidate is her ability to self-fund and bring in millions more from donors nationally, Lundergan indicated he would be willing to put his considerable personal wealth behind his daughter, if she chooses to run.

"I have five daughters. If any of them wants to do something, I try to support all of their desires and wishes," he told The Hill.

He said that Grimes had not yet made a decision and is currently focused on getting her legislative agenda passed. But during the upcoming legislative recess, "I'm sure Allison will have plenty of free time to look at" a potential Senate bid he said.

And though she hasn't yet made a decision on her political future, Grimes last week met with former President Bill Clinton during his visit to the state for a dinner held in honor of former Gov. Wendell Ford (D).

Lundergan was Hillary Clinton's Kentucky campaign chairman in 2008, and the Clintons are "friends" of the Lundergans, he said. Democrats in the state say he and Hillary would be likely to support Grimes if she were to run.

Judd has told Kentucky Democrats she plans to make her intentions clear by May 3, when the Kentucky Derby takes place, while Grimes has offered no timeline for her decision.

Any candidate is expected to announce by mid-summer, as Democrats will face a tough fight from McConnell, who has already amassed over $7 million in his war-chest and is raising more by the week.

--This piece was updated at 10:01 p.m. to reflect a revised headline and information included in the LEO report.