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.