So much for the Ashley Judd-Mitch McConnell showdown.
The actress-turned-activist announced this evening in a series of posts on Twitter that she won't be jumping in the race to unseat the current top Republican in the Senate:
"Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate: I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people & 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!"
Judd had seemingly been inching closer and closer to launching her campaign in recent weeks and, according to a Huffington Post report from earlier this month, was leaning toward making things official in early May.
Some GOP insiders had expressed optimism that they'd be able to turn Judd into "the liberal Democrat version of Todd Akin" thanks to her ties to Hollywood and outspoken liberal positions on things like the environment and social issues (a tough sell in Kentucky's coal country, but certainly less controversial topics than "legitimate rape," we should point out). Still, given the GOP's extensive preemptive attacks on Judd, it was pretty clear they viewed her as a formidable challenger to McConnell, no doubt in large part due to her perceived ability to garner national media attention and to bring in large amounts of cash from outside of the state.
With Judd stepping aside, the new front-runner to challenge McConnell is now Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.