Politics & Government

Alison Lundergan Grimes takes Democratic nomination for secretary of state

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

Having gotten clobbered in last fall's U.S. Senate race against Mitch McConnell, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is on track for re-election to her current job this year.

Grimes, 36, on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination. She easily beat Charles Lovett, 30, a substitute teacher in Louisville who ran a limited campaign and reported no funds to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. By contrast, Grimes raised $253,526 and had $166,739 on hand shortly before the primary.

"I'm again honored to be the Democratic Party's nominee for secretary of state," Grimes said in a statement.

"In just over three years, we have built a strong record of success that includes strengthening the state's business climate and helping small businesses," she said. "More than 100,000 new business have started during my term. I remain equally committed to improving election administration while protecting the integrity of the process. I look forward to continuing our good work on behalf of all Kentuckians."

In November, Grimes will face Republican Stephen L. Knipper, 44, a Catholic health care executive and former member of the Erlanger City Council in Northern Kentucky. Knipper unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for a state House seat in 2008.

Knipper raised $13,189 for the Republican primary, where he was unopposed. His campaign platform includes revitalizing Kentucky's business sector — "the next secretary of state must address ... the assault on our coal and health industries," he says in campaign materials — and modernizing the election system with electronic voter registration and improved cyber-security to defend against voter fraud.

Knipper did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Kentucky's secretary of state is the commonwealth's chief election officer, chief business official and chief advocate for civic engagement. The 2014 salary was $117,329, and the office's overall budget was slightly more than $4 million.

Grimes, a Lexington attorney, first was elected in 2011. She is the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, a former Kentucky Democratic Party chairman.

Last year, Grimes challenged McConnell in a nationally watched contest as the incumbent GOP senator sought his sixth term. He defeated her by a 15-point margin, winning 110 of Kentucky's 120 counties.