Sen. Ashley Judd might not be just an invention of the chatter class after all.
Since rumors that she may run for office in her native Kentucky began earlier this year, Judd has consulted with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and commissioned a Democratic pollster to gauge her chances. Several people close to the star told Politico that Judd is serious about going after a Senate seat.
A big question is timing: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for re-election in 2014, but some believe Judd would have a better chance waiting until 2016, when Republican firebrand freshman Sen. Rand Paul faces his first re-election test.
Known for feminist roles in crime movies like Double Jeopardy and her environmental efforts in real life, Judd would be the latest in a long line of actors and performers who made the jump to politics, from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Al Franken.
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