Beshear rules himself out as McConnell challenger

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(AP) — Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear ruled himself out Wednesday as a potential challenger to Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the political powerhouse who comes up for re-election in 2014.

Beshear, who challenged McConnell unsuccessfully in 1996, said he expects a credible Democratic candidate to step forward.

"I have no interest in running for that or any other office," he told reporters in a Capitol press conference.

The name mentioned most in recent weeks as a challenger to McConnell has been actress Ashley Judd, well-known in Kentucky because of her success in Hollywood and because of her famous mother and sister, country music stars Naomi and Wynonna Judd.

"Whether or not she will end up in the elective arena or not, I don't' have any idea," Beshear said. "I think it's too early to know what direction she will go or what direction a lot of other people who are thinking about it will go."

Ashley Judd, a former Kentucky resident now living in Tennessee, hasn't ruled out a run. But neither has she said anything to suggest that she would enter the race.

Her publicist said Tuesday nothing has changed since the actress released a statement last month saying she was honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate.

Beshear is the latest of several top tier Democrats who have said they won't challenge McConnell. That list includes Attorney General Jack Conway and former state Auditor Crit Luallen.

"I don't have any inside information on who might be thinking seriously about running at this point," the governor said. "I think a lot of people are looking at it and thinking about it, but whether they will get serious about it is yet to be determined."

Beshear offered no names of potential Democratic candidates.

"I feel confident that we will have a credible candidate," he said. "It will be a difficult race as we all know because one of the senator's strongest assets is his ability to raise money. He's always had that ability, and has developed it to the highest art form."

With the election still nearly two years away, McConnell has banked more than $6.8 million. He spent some $20 million on his last election to defeat wealthy Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford by 6 percentage points.

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  • Beshear has been a good governor, in spite of having to deal with Williams, the head of the Senate (who like Mitch, played the obstructionist role), whom he beat in the last election and who held a mean grudge. In spite of the way that 1072 meant to cast ill will towards the governor, Beshear is "done in KY"...that is what he is saying and the law says he can't run for governor any more. Mitch will always get the moron vote...that is unless he is found with a live boy, or dead girl.

  • Don't let it fool you folks. As bad as Mitch is hated around here, he isn't going to be easy to beat. Some comments are nothing more than wishful thinking & The democrats need to get the very best person to run against him & if all the voters don't get out & vote then Mitch will die in Washington! Nothing has changed & money will win this race like it always has.

  • Bashear has done nothing for our state. No new industries has come here. He is done in Ky and he knows it. Mitch has filled his pockets on our behalf and he still has time to continue to do so until he's defeated. He's a pain for the Republicans, nothing the Democrates can do, that **** to. Time has pas Mitch bye. It's hard for me to think that people in Ky continued sending him back to Washington. Bye Mitch..IT WASN'T NICE KNOWING YOU

  • as bad as mcconnell is, i'd be hard pressed to vote for beshear. he's done absolutely nothing but rail against the epa for threatening his bank account...er...i mean big coal. i take that back. he did rid us of david williams. kentucky just doesn't have a lot of politicians with a clue. i'd really like to hear what ms judd has to say. we seriously need to shake things up.

  • Anyone could beat McConnell now but may I suggest that if you are going to challenge him in the election legally change your name to " Anybody else but Mitch Mcconnell" you will the next Senator by a LANDSLIDE.

  • It's embarrassing to even mention Ashley Judd! Steve Beshear just beat the pants off David Williams. He might be the only one other than Crit LuAllen are the only two that can beat him. The only two. If anyone else runs it is a waste of time and money. If governor Beshear wants to grow the Dem Party, he needs to step up and lead. Otherwise we might as well not even hold the election. Save the taxpayers money. Governor Beshear, YOU must run!

  • McConnell would eat him for lunch.....not that I like McConnell but it's a fact and that's why he won't run against him. But no matter who does run against him I would vote for them just to get rid of McConnell. He is a do nothing senator for the POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS people of Kentucky.