Stumbo says he'll encourage Judd to challenge McConnell but wants to talk with her about coal

02/28/2013 03:38 PM

While some Kentucky Democrats have been skeptical of a potential Ashley Judd candidacy for U.S. Senate, House Speaker Greg Stumbo is no longer among them, saying Thursday he would encourage her to run.

“When I talk to her I’m going to encourage her as I would any other candidate that this is a winnable race,” he said. Stumbo went on to blast Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, calling him “Dr. Doom” and “the father of gridlock.”

Stumbo and Judd have traded phone messages in recent days. He said she left him another message on his work phone last night.

Stumob dismissed the notion that Judd might hurt conservative Democratic legislative candidates if McConnell paints her as being too liberal for Kentucky.

He acknowledged that it might “be tough” for Eastern Kentucky Democrats to support her because of her statements against mountain top removal. He said he does want to talk to Judd about the importance of coal and show her examples of development as a result of mountaintop removal, such as the housing development and golf course at Stonecrest in Floyd County where Stumbo has a home.

But he also said that process of mountain top removal is a “dinosaur” and on its way out.

McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton said the speaker’s comments indicate that he is more concerned with promoting his party than his home region.

“If we wait enough, Speaker Stumbo may oppose and then support just about anybody if his political party runs out of options. I guess he decided that protecting coal country takes a back seat to naked partisanship,” Benton said.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Cat Balz wrote on February 28, 2013 04:24 PM :

    Besides referring to the Stonecrest development as coal industry propaganda, Ashley also said this…” I’m not too keen on reinforcing stereotypes about my people, but I don’t know a lot of hillbillies who golf.” Perhaps Stumbo just wants a chance to show Ashley his putter?

  • Ed Marksberry wrote on February 28, 2013 04:43 PM :

    The Speaker is right about Mitch, I couldn’t have said it better.

  • sam pierce wrote on March 01, 2013 11:38 AM :

    Greg Stumbo calling Mitch McConnell the “father of Gridlock” is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. Stumbo has prevented a vote on the popular industrial hemp bill. Mitch prevents bad legislation from happening. Stumbo only prevents good legislation from passing. Go Mitch Go!!! Win Mitch Win!!!
    As for Greg Stumbo, Ashley Judd, and Ed Marksberry: Lose, Lose, Lose!!!!!!

  • MikeTrip wrote on March 01, 2013 11:46 AM :

    Like any good Hollywood liberal Ashley hates coal. They love electric cars and obviously do not get the concept that it takes coal to make electricity. Evidently they believe it appears in the outlet by magic. I would like to see Ashley run just for the entertainment value. Maybe she do her announcement in her home town in Tennesse naked.

  • Lee wrote on March 01, 2013 02:56 PM :

    Mike Trip…obviously you don’t know beans about electrical production. Have you seen the fuel credits on your electric bill lately? NATURAL GAS is the chosen source for electrical production now. It is FAR CHEAPER than coal, cleaner burning and easier to extract.

    Speaker Stumbo said “mountain top removal” is dinosaur. He is right, and the sooner Eastern KY can accept that and move onto greater opportunities the better they will be. Just take a look at the number of jobs in the world of coal in KY in 1970 vs 2012, and don’t bother to argue that it is because of Federal restrictions. It takes far fewer folks to blow the top off a mountain than it did to work a mine years ago. And with NatGas being discovered in such abundance …..COAL is dying.

    I can accept that you are only at the 2nd stage of grief which is “anger and denial”. But you’ll get there. Hang on.

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