WASHINGTON -- You might say Ashley Judd is making it double jeopardy Friday for embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.).
That's because after a national group started spending money to highlight his affair with a patient whom he pushed to get an abortion, the Tennessee-based actress is lending her well-known name to a fundraising push on behalf of DesJarlais' Democratic opponent, state Sen. Eric Stewart.
In an email pitch being sent out Friday, the "Double Jeopardy" and "Kiss the Girls" star says DesJarlais, who is a doctor, is a prime example of why people don't trust politicians. And she says he needs to go.
"For as far back as I remember, politicians have gotten a bad reputation for saying one thing and doing another. And, this past week Congressman Scott Desjarlais proved why," Judd said in the email, referring to news of a transcribed recording of DesJarlais pushing the woman to get an abortion.
DesJarlais contends he suspected she was not really pregnant, and was trying to get her to admit it. He had been trying to reconcile with his then-wife, Susan, but the call appears to have come as that effort collapsed.
"Whether or not we agree or disagree with the issue of abortion, we need to trust our elected leaders that they are who they say they are," Judd said before making a fundraising pitch for Stewart. "Eric is a leader we can trust and it’s far past time we hold Scott Desjarlais accountable for his hypocrisy."
Judd noted that Stewart trails DesJarlais badly in the money race. His campaign was holding just $85,000 at the end of September, compared to the congressman's $600,000.
"Final advertising decisions are being made now and Eric does not have what he needs to be on the air and go toe-to-toe," Judd wrote. "There are just a few weeks left and we need to go all in. I care about politics because I care about the future of this country. That’s just who I am."
Ashley Judd is the daughter of country music icon Naomi Judd and sister of Wynonna Judd. Her husband, Dario Franchitti, is a former NASCAR driver and three time Indianapolis 500 winner.
Although Judd has been active in Democratic politics, her career and family make her influential with the conservative audience in Tennessee that's fond of both country music and NASCAR.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.