Politics & Government

Grimes faces little-known challenger in Democratic primary for secretary of state

Alison Lundergan Grimes, left, and Charles Lovett
Alison Lundergan Grimes, left, and Charles Lovett

FRANKFORT — Alison Lundergan Grimes appears well on her way to claiming the Democratic nomination for Kentucky secretary of state next week as she seeks a second four-year term in the office.

Grimes faces Charles Lovett of Louisville in Tuesday's Democratic primary election. The winner will run against Republican Steve Knipper of Independence in the November general election. Knipper is a former member of the Erlanger city council and is unopposed in the Republican primary election.

Grimes, a Lexington attorney who in 2011 became the youngest female secretary of state in the nation, said during a recent interview that she doesn't know her Democratic opponent. She couldn't recall ever meeting him.

"But I'm not taking any election for granted," she said. "My focus is to be re-elected to do the job the people of Kentucky elected me to do."

Grimes is actively campaigning in the primary, but she hasn't bought any media advertising.

Her latest campaign finance report showed contributions of $227,122, with a balance of $163,257.

Lovett has notified the state Registry of Election Finance that his campaign will not spend more than $3,000.

Grimes' campaign website said she wants to continue to build on "Grimes' Goals": guaranteeing that all Kentuckians have access to the ballot box; generating excitement and interest in elections; growing the economy; and helping new, small businesses navigate government regulations.

During her first four years in office, she also has advocated for new laws that protect the voting rights of domestic violence victims and absentee voters.

She said she would continue to push for state legislation to allow most felons who have served their sentences to regain automatically the right to vote .

As secretary of state, Lovett said, he would "be more engaged with the people."

Lovett said Grimes has been "a wonderful secretary of state, but some people think she has been preoccupied with too many other things, like running for the U.S. Senate, and has ignored the office."

Grimes lost a bid for the U.S. Senate last year to incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell of Louisville. She has said she never abandoned her duties as secretary of state during her Senate campaign.

Lovett declined to say what his chances are of winning the primary election, but he said he always tries to be optimistic.

"It is hard to get your message out when you are not known and have no money," he said. "But you never know what's going to happen in an election campaign. This is something I've always wanted to do, and I consider this a stepping stone to make me a better person.

"Whatever happens will not discourage me."