Alison Lundergan Grimes

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Alison Lundergan Grimes
Alison Lundergan Grimes 2011.jpg
76th Secretary of State of Kentucky
Assumed office
January 2, 2012
Governor Steve Beshear
Preceded by Elaine Walker
Personal details
Born Alison Case Lundergan
(1978-11-23) November 23, 1978 (age 36)
Maysville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Andrew Grimes (2006–present)
Alma mater Rhodes College
American University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Government website

Alison Case Lundergan Grimes (born November 23, 1978) is an American attorney and Democratic politician who is the Secretary of State of Kentucky, having defeated incumbent Elaine Walker in the May 17, 2011 primary election and Republican Bill Johnson in the November 8, 2011 general election. On May 20, 2014, she won the Democratic Party primary to run for United States Senate in Kentucky but was eventually defeated by Mitch McConnell.

Early life and education[edit]

Grimes was born in Maysville, Kentucky. She is the daughter of Charlotte (née Case) and Jerry Lundergan, a former Kentucky Democratic chairman and state representative.[1] Grimes was the third of five children, all girls. As a child, Grimes knocked on doors on behalf of her father's political campaigns, and also drove voters to the polls on election day. Grimes grew up wanting to be a doctor, but changed majors in college after passing out while watching carpal tunnel surgery.[2]

Grimes went to Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Kentucky, and then went on to graduate from Rhodes College in 2001. Grimes majored in political science, with a minor in history. Grimes is a member of the Chi Omega sorority, as well a student trustee and a member of student government. Grimes graduated cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. While at American, Grimes participated in public policy research for the National Kidney Foundation.[3]


Prior to running for Secretary of State, Grimes was a practicing attorney in Lexington.[4] She served as an associate at Stoll Keenon Ogden from 2004 to 2011, specializing in intellectual property and complex business litigation.[5] Grimes credits a domestic abuse case she won as helping to inspire her to pursue a political career rather than attempting to become a partner at her firm.[2]

Grimes served as president of the Fayette County Women Lawyers' Association, and was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award by the Fayette County Bar Association.[6] She was also a precinct officer for the 75th Legislative District in Kentucky as well as a member of the 2008 Democratic National Committee rules committee.

Grimes was a two-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention, supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Barack Obama in 2012.[7]

Secretary of State[edit]

In 2010, Grimes announced her candidacy for the office of Secretary of State of Kentucky, left open by term limited incumbent Republican Trey Grayson.

When Grayson resigned to accept a position at the Harvard Institute of Politics, Governor Steve Beshear appointed Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker over Grimes to fill the rest of Grayson's term in office. Despite this, Grimes stayed in the race and defeated Walker by a double digit margin in the May primary.[4]

Grimes faced Republican businessman and former Senate candidate Bill Johnson in the general election. A main aspect of the campaign was Grimes' opposition to Johnson's proposal to require photo IDs in order to vote. Grimes argued this would take away voting rights from the homeless among others. She also became well known through commercials that showed her elderly grandmothers.[8] Grimes defeated Johnson with over 60% of the vote.[9] She received a higher percentage of the vote than any other Kentucky statewide Democratic candidate during the 2011 elections.[citation needed]

Her term as Secretary of State began on January 2, 2012. While Secretary of State, Grimes visited the Middle East to observe the voting process of overseas military personnel. This experience led her to become an advocate of an improved voting process for the U.S. military.[2]

2014 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In a July 2013 press conference, Grimes announced that she would run for the United States Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell.[10]

On May 20, 2014, she won the Democratic primary with 77% of the vote.[11] She faced Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the general election on November 4, 2014 and lost, despite that the race was initially considered to be competitive by both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, which considered the race to "lean Republican."[12][13]

On July 25, 2013, the Republican Laurel County Clerk filed a complaint with Kentucky's Executive Branch Ethics Commission after receiving a fundraising e-mail sent to government e-mail accounts by Grimes. The complaint concerns the legality of the secretary of state sending fundraising e-mails to county clerks who report to her in matters pertaining to elections.[14]

In April 2014, Grimes attended a Chicago meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal donors who pool their resources in support of progressive causes, where she was a featured speaker at the event.[15][16] Hollywood executives Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg have hosted fundraising events for Grimes in New York City and Beverly Hills.[17] Her father's involvement in the campaign has been noted as a factor in the race because of the political and fundraising connections he brings.[18][19]

Grimes and McConnell disagreed over debate proposals; McConnell preferred a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates with only candidates asking questions and no audience, while Grimes said she wants members of the audience to ask questions.[20] They ultimately had a single debate, aired October 13 on KET; host Bill Goodwin posed the questions and also relayed questions from viewers.[21][22]

On October 26, Grimes received endorsements from the editorial boards of the The Courier-Journal and The Lexington Herald-Leader.[23][24]

On November 4, McConnell handily defeated Grimes to win reelection.[25]

Political positions[edit]

Grimes stated she would vote to delay the employer mandate for small businesses in the Affordable Care Act, but supports the act's goals of increasing coverage.[26] She has criticized Mitch McConnell's votes to defund the act on the grounds that doing so would "destroy Kynect," Kentucky's state-based insurance exchange.[27][28][29]

In November 2013, Grimes said that as a member of the National Rifle Association, her "strong support for the Second Amendment is unquestioned" and added that she was "proud of Kentucky's long-held gun ownership, sporting and hunting traditions", inviting McConnell to go shooting with her.[30]

Grimes has said that she is "pro-choice down the line on abortion" and opposes efforts to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks.[27] She explained "I come from a family of five women. I would never pretend to tell one of my sisters what to do with their body and I don't want the federal government doing that either.… When it comes to choice, I believe, should a woman have to make that decision, it's between herself, her doctor, and her God."[31]

Grimes supports Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, saying that "the Iron Dome has been a big reason why Israel has been able to withstand the terrorists that have tried to tunnel their way in."[32]

Grimes opposes further EPA rules on powerplant emissions, arguing that they will result in job losses in Kentucky's coal industry.[33]

Grimes supports reducing taxes for businesses that provide child care to their employees, has called for pay equity for female employees and expressed her desire to increase the federal minimum wage.[34]

Electoral history[edit]

2011 Kentucky Secretary of State Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Alison Lundergan Grimes 85,436 55.26%
Democratic Elaine Walker 69,185 44.74%
Totals 154,621 100%
2011 Kentucky Secretary of State General Election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Alison Lundergan Grimes 494,368 60.63%
Republican Bill Johnson 321,065 39.37%
Totals 815,433 100%

Personal life[edit]

Married since September 2, 2006, Grimes lives with her husband, Andrew, in downtown Lexington.[35][36]


  1. ^ "Mr. Case". May 5, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Horn, Rachel (Winter 2012). "This Woman's Work". Story. Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Allison Grimes". Lasting Lynx. Rhodes College. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Musgrave, Beth (May 18, 2011). "Grimes beats incumbent in Democratic race for Secretary of State". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  5. ^ Stoll Keenan Ogden (February 14, 2011). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Announces Departure from Law Firm to Pursue Secretary of State Candidacy". 
  6. ^ "Alison Lundergan Grimes Announces Departure from Law Firm to Pursue Secretary of State Candidacy". Stoll Keenon Ogden. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Raju, Manu. "Bluegrass bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes takes on Mitch McConnell". Politico. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Grimes wins Kentucky secretary of state race". Evansville Courier & Press. November 8, 2011. 
  9. ^ Estep, Bill (November 9, 2011). "Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes easily wins secretary of state race". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  10. ^ Emily Schultheis & Manu Raju (July 1, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes announces Senate run". Politico. 
  11. ^ "Kentucky - Summary Vote Results". Associated Press. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ Carroll, James R. (August 3, 2013). "Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes race a 'toss up,' according to non-partisan observer". The Courier-Journal. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Senate Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  14. ^ Scott Wartman (July 25, 2013). "County clerk files ethics complaint against Grimes". [dead link]
  15. ^ Drush, Andrea (February 5, 2014). "Republicans Forcing Lundergan Grimes To Choose Between Her Donors And Voters". National Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  16. ^ Gold, Matea (April 5, 2014). "Washington Post". Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ Itkowitz, Colby (June 19, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes hangs with Hollywood". Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ Newton-Small, Jay (February 14, 2014). "Father of McConnell Foe is Both Asset and Risk in Kentucky". Time. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  19. ^ Gerth, Joseph (September 22, 2013). "Ky. Senate candidate's dad brings connections, baggage". USA Today. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  20. ^ "McConnell, Grimes debate over the debate". WHAS11. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ Brammer, Jack (August 18, 2014). "McConnell agrees to debate Grimes on KET". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  22. ^ Gerth, Joseph (October 14, 2014). "Grimes, McConnell debate contentious". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Endorsement - Alison Grimes for Senate". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "Elect Grimes to Senate for a better future". The Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  25. ^ Davis, Susan (4 Nov 2014). "McConnell, Cotton wins push GOP toward Senate control". USA Today. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Alison Lundergan Grimes deflects health care law criticism, calls for solutionslison Lundergan Grimes deflects health care law criticism, calls for solutions". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Fineman, Howard (March 8, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Talks Abortion As She Unfurls Policy Positions". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Grimes hits back: On Obamacare, Mitch McConnell is in “fantasyland”, Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, May 28, 2014
  29. ^ Grimes campaign slams McConnell, The Hill, May 28, 2014
  30. ^ Matt Berman (November 8, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Really Wants You to Know How Much She Likes Guns". National Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (May 18, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Is Talking a Lot About Her Gender". National Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  32. ^ Bobic, Igor (August 17, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes: Iron Dome Helps Israel Defend Against Terrorists In Tunnels". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  33. ^ Democrats brace for climate rule fallout, Politico, June 1, 2014
  34. ^ [1]
  35. ^ "Alison Lundergan Grimes biography". Kentucky Secretary of State. 
  36. ^ "Lundergan and Grimes vows are solemnized". The Ledger Independent. September 7, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Elaine Walker
Secretary of State of Kentucky
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bruce Lunsford
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Kentucky
(Class 2)

Most recent