Alison Lundergan Grimes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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 35)
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.

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] According to Politico, Grimes "botched" the official campaign announcement.[11] According to the Washington Post, Grimes was flanked by a banner for her 2011 secretary of state campaign rather than a new banner for her Senate campaign, no campaign website was set up, the announcement was not promoted on social media, and Grimes was over thirty minutes late for the press conference.[12] Grimes kicked off her campaign formally at an event in Lexington on July 30, drawing a crowd of nearly 2,000 supporters.[13]

Grimes received strong reviews for her appearance at the Fancy Farm picnic, an important event for politicians in Kentucky.[14][15] The race is considered to be competitive by both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report.[16]

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 Secretary of State 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.[17]

At an appearance held in Louisville, Kentucky on February 25, 2014, former president Bill Clinton spoke in support of Grimes' 2014 US Senatorial candidacy along with the candidate.[18]

Grimes has been endorsed by EMILY's List, a political action committee that supports pro-choice, female Democratic candidates.[19] Grimes has said that she is "pro-choice down the line on abortion."[20] Grimes has said that she opposes efforts to ban abortions after 20 weeks.[21]

On May 20, 2014, she won the Democratic primary with 77% of the vote.[22] She will face Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the general election on November 4, 2014.

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. She was a featured speaker at the event.[23][24]

In June 2014, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she would be campaigning for Grimes.[25]

According to Politico, "Grimes has tried to shed any association with the unpopular president — so much so that she often avoids addressing questions about his major policies,"[7] and she is "reluctant about revealing her own positions on issues such as abortion, taxes or gun control."[11]

Hollywood executives Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg have hosted fundraising events for Grimes in New York City and Beverly Hills. Grimes' campaign contributors include Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Woody Allen, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg.[26]

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.[27][28] They share an interest in historic preservation and antiques. They own a Bernese Mountain Dog named Nala.[2]


  1. ^ "Mr. Case". 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d Horn, Rachel (Winter 2012). "This Woman's Work". Story. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Allison Grimes". Lasting Lynx. Rhodes College. Retrieved 11 August 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 11 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Raju, Manu. "Bluegrass bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes takes on Mitch McConnell". Politico. Retrieved 27 June 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. ^ a b Raju, Manu (8-1-2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes: 'The goal is to win' vs. Mitch McConnell". Politico. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Blake, Aaron (7-2-2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes’s underwhelming launch — and what it means". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Joe Sonka (August 7, 2013). "Fancy, brutish and short". LEO Weekly. 
  14. ^ Cross, Al (11 August 2013). "What Fancy Farm portends". Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Keeling, Larry Dale (11 August 2013). "Larry Keeling: Round 1 to Matt Bevin, Alison Lundergan Grimes". Lexington Herald-leader. 
  16. ^ Carroll, James R. (3 August 2013). "Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes race a 'toss up,' according to non-partisan observer". The Courier-Journal. [dead link]
  17. ^ Scott Wartman (July 25, 2013). "County clerk files ethics complaint against Grimes". 
  18. ^ Dann, Carrie (February 25, 2014). "Campaigner-in-Chief Hits Ropes in Kentucky". Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  19. ^ McCormack, John (2013-08-21). "EMILY's List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  20. ^ Fineman, Howard (8-3-2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Talks Abortion As She Unfurls Policy Positions". Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  21. ^ Goldmacher, Shane (2014-05-18). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Is Talking a Lot About Her Gender". National Journal. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Kentucky - Summary Vote Results". Associated Press. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Drush, Andrea (5-2-2014). "Republicans Forcing Lundergan Grimes To Choose Between Her Donors And Voters". National Journal. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Gold, Matea (5-4-2014). "Washington Post". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Frumin, Aliyah (2014-06-12). "It’s game on in Kentucky: GOP goes after Alison Lundergan Grimes". MSNBC. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  26. ^ Itkowitz, Colby (2014-06-19). "Alison Lundergan Grimes hangs with Hollywood". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "Alison Lundergan Grimes biography". Kentucky Secretary of State. 
  28. ^ "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