LEXINGTON, KY — Ashley Judd is out, but Democrats in Kentucky may have another star on their Senate ticket in November.
Heather French Henry, who won the Miss America pageant in 1999, said she’s considering a bid but hasn’t made a final decision quite yet.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, French Henry said Tuesday she was “not ready to confirm or deny” that she was considering a run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I am completely honored that people are talking to me about this but I have made no decision,” she said, according to the report.
McConnell isn’t up for re-election until November 2014, but the race has drawn early headlines as Democrats consider stepping in. Actress Ashley Judd mulled a bid, eventually deciding against running after attack videos from McConnell started airing.
Privately, some Democrats worried Judd was too liberal a candidate for Kentucky, which hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992, when Wendell Ford won re-election.
With Judd out of the race, Democratic eyes turned to Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State. Grimes has not ruled out a bid against McConnell in 2014, and was touted as a top potential candidate during a conference call with Democratic officials earlier this year.
In addition to considering her own bid, French Henry is open to supporting Grimes, according to the Herald-Leader.
On her official website, French Henry is listed as a veterans advocate, author/illustrator, artist/fashion illustrator, fashion designer, and public speaker. Her biography notes she received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Fashion Design from the University of Cincinnati.
Her year as Miss America was spent advocating for veterans’ issues around the country, including lobbying Congress to pass the Heather French Henry Homeless Veterans Act.
She’s married to Steve Henry, the former lieutenant governor of Kentucky, who himself ran for U.S. Senate in 1998. He was embroiled in numerous controversies during his tenure, including using state employees to work at his wedding, and spending state funds to travel to the Miss America pageant.
In 2003, French Henry struck and killed a bicyclist who was crossing the street outside of a sidewalk. Criminal charges were not filed, and French Henry later recounted the accident and spoke of her lingering guilt during an appearance on Oprah.
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