UPDATE 7/2/13 @ 11:10 p.m.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Actress Ashley Judd says she's "ready to fight" beside Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state who announced Monday that she would challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell next year.
Judd, who had considered entering the race herself, showed her support for Grimes in a tweet Tuesday.
Judd wrote, "Even in thick woods outstanding news filters through. Thrilled for the people of KY & ready to fight beside."
Judd, a former Kentucky resident now living in Tennessee, announced in March that she wouldn't run against the five-term Kentucky Republican. When Judd decided against a bid, Democratic leaders turned to Grimes as their candidate of choice.
The 34-year-old Grimes announced her decision to take on McConnell at a Frankfort press conference Monday.
Judd made the announcement in a Twitter message late Wednesday afternoon.
Judd had hinted last week that she was nearing a decision about the race.
The former Kentucky resident now living in suburban Nashville, Tenn., has said little publicly about her intentions.
However, she has been meeting with several Democratic leaders, including Gov. Steve Beshear, to discuss a possible run.
Defeating McConnell would be the Democrats' biggest prize of the 2014 election.
His seat is one of 14 that Republicans are defending while Democrats try to hold onto 21. Democrats hope to retain or add to their 55-45 edge.
Judd has starred in several movies including "Kiss the Girls" and "Dolphin Tale."
Beshear said Tuesday he's convinced that Judd, a former Kentucky resident now living in Tennessee, is seriously considering the race.
Judd hasn't said whether she will run, but she has been talking with leading Democrats in Kentucky about the race.
McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has been preparing for his re-election bid even though no serious challenger has entered the race. He already has raised some $10 million.
McConnell also recruited a campaign manager from the upper echelons of the tea party. Jesse Benton, who managed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's campaign in Kentucky in 2010, signed on last year.
State GOP Chairman Steve Robertson has sent a letter to Democratic lawmakers raising concerns about Judd as a potential candidate.
Robertson included an attachment to his letter with comments Judd has made on a wide range of issues that he insists are out of step with the average Kentuckian.
Among them were statements opposing coal, the mining of which employs some 15,000 people in the state.
Judd, a Hollywood actress and activist, spoke briefly to a Louisville newspaper on her way to the Kentucky Society of Washington's Bluegrass Ball on Saturday evening.
Judd would not say whether she has decided to mount a campaign.
She said "the people of Kentucky need a fighter."
Judd has been mentioned as a potential Democratic challenger to McConnell, who is the Senate Minority Leader.
McConnell did not attend the Bluegrass Ball.
Judd said that "the people of Kentucky are interested in me representing them is the greatest honor of my life so far."
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 Judd released a statement last month saying she was honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate.
No Democrats have stepped forward to challenge McConnell, a political powerhouse who already has $6.8 million for his re-election.
McConnell, now in his fifth term, is the longest-serving U.S. senator in Kentucky history. He spent some $20 million on his last election to defeat a wealthy Louisville businessman.
The 85-year-old grandmother of Ashley and singer Wynonna Judd, said she doesn't think there's any possibility for such a matchup.
Polly Judd, a political activist in Ashland where she once served on the city commission, also is complimentary of McConnell, saying he has done more for her hometown than anyone else.
Ashley Judd, who has starred in such movies as "Kiss the Girls," ''Double Jeopardy," ''Where the Heart Is," and "High Crimes," hasn't ruled out a Senate run.
The former Kentuckian said in a statement earlier this month that she's "very honored" to be mentioned as a potential candidate.
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