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Actress Ashley Judd opts not to enter Kentucky Senate race

Cast member Ashley Judd arrives at the premiere of the movie "Olympus Has Fallen" at the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood, California March 18,
Cast member Ashley Judd arrives at the premiere of the movie "Olympus Has Fallen" at the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood, California March 18,

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Actress Ashley Judd's next role will not be as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky.

Judd said on Wednesday she has decided not to run in 2014 to try to unseat Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, after considering such a candidacy for months.

"After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities & energy at this time need to be focused on my family," she wrote on Twitter.

Judd and her husband, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, announced in January that they had decided to end their 11-year marriage.

Judd, 44, considers Kentucky her home state but actually lives in neighboring Tennessee. She would have had to move to Kentucky in order to qualify as a candidate.

McConnell's re-election team in Kentucky already produced a campaign video criticizing Judd that made light of the fact that she did not live in Kentucky.

"And it just clicked, Tennessee is home," Judd is quoted as saying in a speech in the video.

Judd has starred in a number of movies including "Double Jeopardy" and "Kiss the Girls." Her mother, Naomi Judd, and sister, Wynonna, made up the country singing duo, The Judds.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen told CNN that her political consulting firm had represented Judd in her deliberations and that it had became clear over the past 10 days that she would not run.

"The timing just wasn't right," Rosen said. "She has a lot of other things going on."

Nashville television station WSMV said Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has expressed interest in running for the Democratic nomination to challenge McConnell, 71.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham)

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