Alison Lundergan Grimes

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Alison Lundergan Grimes
Alison Grimes.jpg
Kentucky Secretary of State
In office
January 5, 2012 - Present
Term ends
January 2016
Years in position 3
PredecessorElaine Walker (D)
Base salary$117,329
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 8, 2011
Next primaryMay 19, 2015
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Campaign $$1,059,548
Term limitsNone
Bachelor'sRhodes College
J.D.Washington College of Law, American University
Place of birthMaysville, Kentucky
Office website
Campaign website
Alison Lundergan Grimes is a Lexington, KY-based attorney and the current Democratic Kentucky Secretary of State. She first won election in 2011. Grimes defeated incumbent Elaine Walker in the May 17 Democratic primary and Republican businessman Bill Johnson in the general election on November 8, 2011. On January 26, 2015, Grimes announced her campaign for a second term as secretary of state.[1]

Grimes announced her 2014 candidacy for U.S. Senate on July 1, 2013.[2] She was defeated by incumbent Mitch McConnell (R) in the general election on November 4, 2014.[3]

Grimes is the youngest woman serving as secretary of state in the country, and the only woman currently holding a statewide office in Kentucky.[4][5]


Prior to her election, Grimes worked in the business litigation group of the law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC. She also served for two years as President of the Women Lawyers' Association of the Fayette County Bar. Grimes volunteers on the board of directors of God's Pantry Food Bank, which works to eliminate hunger in Kentucky; she also serves as director of the Historic Woodward Heights Neighborhood Association. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Rhodes College and her J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University.[6]


  • J.D., Washington College of Law, American University
  • B.A., Political Science, Rhodes College


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

Kentucky Secretary of State (2012-present)

Grimes won election as Kentucky Secretary of State on November 8, 2011. She assumed office on January 5, 2012.[8]


Kentucky's coal industry

Grimes criticized President Barack Obama for taking “direct aim at Kentucky’s coal industry” and faulted proposed EPA carbon dioxide controls of existing power plants.[9] Kentucky is the nation’s third top coal producing state, and one that derives nearly all its electricity from the fuel.[9] Her viewpoints put her at odds with top donors focused on environmental issues.[9]

Ready for Hillary Super PAC

On July 31, 2013, it was reported that Grimes's father, Jerry Lundergan, donated $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary Super PAC, a group encouraging Clinton to run in 2016.[10] Ready for Hillary had limited donations to $25,000, even though it can accept unlimited donations as a super PAC.[11]



See also: Kentucky Secretary of State election, 2015

Seven state executive offices in Kentucky are up for election in 2015. The general election will be held on November 3, 2015, following a primary election on May 19, 2015. The following sections summarize filed candidates running for each state executive office on the ballot:

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Incumbents Steve Beshear (D) and Crit Luallen (D) are not running for re-election.

Attorney General
Incumbent Jack Conway (D) is seeking election as governor

Secretary of State


Commissioner of Agriculture
Incumbent James Comer, Jr. (R) is seeking election as governor

Incumbent Todd Hollenbach (D) is term-limited

Campaign finance

Fourth quarter report (2014)
Comprehensive donor information for this election has been collected from the state's campaign finance authority. Based on available campaign finance records, the candidates raised a raised a total of $2,597.78 and spent a total of $2,159.95 during this reporting period. This information was last updated on February 3, 2015.[12]

Campaign Contributions and Expenditures
Candidate Office Beginning balance Contributions Expenditures Ending balance
Stephen L. Knipper Republican Party Kentucky Secretary of State $172.28 $2,597.78 $2,159.95 $610.11
Alison Lundergan Grimes Democratic Party Kentucky Secretary of State $0 $0 $0 $0
Charles Lovett Democratic Party Kentucky Secretary of State $0 $0 $0 $0
Michael Pitzer Republican Party Kentucky Secretary of State $0 $0 $0 $0
Grand Total Raised $2,597.78
Grand Total Spent $2,159.95


Hypothetical match-ups

Kentucky Secretary of State, Grimes v. Knipper
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Stephen L. Knipper (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Gravis Marketing
January 5-6, 2015
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


See also: United States Senate elections in Kentucky, 2014

Grimes was a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in the 2014 elections. She lost to veteran officeholder Mitch McConnell (R), who ran for re-election.[13] Grimes announced her candidacy on July 1, 2013, and won the nomination in the Democratic primary on May 20, 2014.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag 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. Moreover, no campaign website was set up and the announcement was not promoted on social media. Grimes was also over thirty minutes late for the press conference.[14]

Grimes was endorsed by EMILY's List, a political action committee that supports pro-choice, female Democratic candidates.[15] Grimes said that she is "pro-choice down the line on abortion."[16] Grimes said that she opposes efforts to ban abortions after 20 weeks.[17]

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.[18][19]

In June 2014, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she would be campaigning for Grimes.[20]

According to Politico, "Grimes had tried to shed any association with the unpopular president — so much so that she often avoids addressing questions about his major policies,"[21] and she was "reluctant about revealing her own positions on issues such as abortion, taxes or gun control."[22] In June 2014, Politico also reported on a Grimes campaign advertisement about coal policy, attempting to distinguish her from Obama’s positions. The report discovered that the coal miner in the ad was actually a Ukrainian model and that the photo was taken from a stock photo site. Her campaign said, “a mistake was made by an outside design firm.”[23]

Hollywood executives Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg hosted fundraising events for Grimes in New York City and Beverly Hills. Grimes' campaign contributors included Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Woody Allen, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg.[24]

U.S. Senate, Kentucky Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngAlison Lundergan Grimes 76.5% 307,821
Gregory Leichty 8.1% 32,602
Burrel Farnsley 8% 32,310
Tom Recktenwald 7.4% 29,791
Total Votes 402,524
Source: Kentucky State Board of Elections


McConnell v. Grimes (May 2014 - Present)
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Ed Marksberry (I)Mitch McConnell (R)David Patterson (L)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
October 15-19, 2014
September 30 - October 2, 2014
Mellman Group
September 4-7, 2014
Public Opinion Strategies
September 1-3, 2014
Public Policy Polling
August 7-10, 2014
July 5-24, 2014
July 18-23, 2014
Gravis/Human Events
July 17-20, 2014
Voter/Consumer Research
June 22-25, 2014
Public Policy Polling
June 20-22, 2014
Public Opinion Strategies
June 14-17, 2014
Magellan Strategies
June 4-5, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
May 28-29, 2014
Wenzel Strategies
May 23-24, 2014
May 14-16, 2014
AVERAGES 44% 0.27% 45.93% 1.53% 7.6% +/-3.62 869
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
McConnell v. Grimes (December 2013 - April 2014)
Poll Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Ed Marksberry (I)Mitch McConnell (R)UndecidedSomeone elseMargin of ErrorSample Size
Hickman Analytics
April 24-30, 2014
Gravis Marketing/Human Events
April 15-17, 2014
Kaiser Foundation
April 8-15, 2014
Public Policy Polling
April 1-2, 2014
Wenzel Strategies
February 8-11, 2014
Survey USA
January 30-February 4, 2014
Rasmussen Reports
January 29-30, 2014
Public Policy Polling
January 24-26, 2014
Gravis Marketing/Human Events
January 2, 2014
Public Policy Polling
December 12-15, 2013
AVERAGES 42.3% 1.7% 43.4% 11.2% 1.4% +/-3.98 896.4
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Grimes' July 25, 2013, ad, "The Campaign Begins"

Secretary of State Grimes signaled the beginning of her campaign on July 25, 2013, releasing a video that invited voters to a rally in Lexington and warning Sen. Mitch McConnell that “I don’t scare easy.”[25][26][27][28]

The video, which runs nearly 4 minutes, was filmed in the same room where Grimes recorded an ad during her 2011 Secretary of State race that featured her two grandmothers writing a “commercial” for her campaign and brought her national attention. In that ad, one of her grandmothers asks, “What rhymes with Alison Lundergan Grimes?”[25] Since her July 1 announcement, McConnell’s campaign and the Kentucky GOP have accused her of going into hiding and repeatedly asked, “Where’s Alison?”[25] Grimes responds in the ad saying, "Your campaign wants to play silly games about where I am and where I stand. Well I'm right here in Kentucky senator, where I'll be holding you accountable."[29]

Grimes' October 28, 2013, ad, "Fire" Ad

In October 2013, Grimes released an ad accusing McConnell of "light[ing] the house on fire and then claim[ing] credit for putting it out."[30]

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Kentucky was considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. By the end of 2013, Grimes continued to impress with fundraising figures.[31]


See also: Kentucky secretary of state election, 2011

Grimes announced her candidacy for Kentucky Secretary of State in the 2011 attorney general election on January 21, 2011.[32] She defeated incumbent Elaine Walker in the May 17 Democratic primary and Republican businessman Bill Johnson in the November 8 general election.

Kentucky Secretary of State, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAlison Lundergan Grimes 60.6% 494,368
     Republican Bill Johnson 39.4% 321,065
Total Votes 815,433

Secretary of State -- Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Alison Lundergan Grimes 55.25%
     Democratic Party Elaine Walker 44.75%
Total Votes 154,610


Grimes' campaign website promised to create jobs by recruiting employers and small businesses to come to Kentucky, improving the state's election system by increasing access for veterans and driving higher voter participation, and streamlining the secretary of state's office's business registration process.

She also advocated increasing voter access by allowing veterans, victims of domestic violence and others to list the secretary of state's office as their residence for voter registration purposes.[33] This put her at odds with her general election opponent, Bill Johnson, who openly condemned outgoing incumbent Elaine Walker for allowing voters to register without a permanent address. Johnson argued that Walker's move could result in illegal immigrants, felons and other ineligible voters casting ballots. Grimes, who defeated Walker in the May 17 Democratic primary, defended her former opponent, declaring that "Kentuckians do not give up their rights as citizens because they are not property owners."[34]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Grimes is available dating back to 2011. Based on available campaign finance records, Grimes raised a total of $1,059,548 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 11, 2013.[35]

Alison Lundergan Grimes's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2011 Kentucky Secretary of State Won $1,059,548
Grand Total Raised $1,059,548


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Lundergan Grime's reports.[36]


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Alison Lundergan Grimes's donors each year.[43] Click [show] for more information.


Grimes and her husband, Andrew, reside in Lexington, Kentucky.[6]

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See also

External links

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  1. WPSD, "Alison Grimes to seek re-election as secretary of state," January 26, 2015
  2. WHAS "Underdog Grimes accepts challenge, will face McConnell in 2014" accessed July 1, 2013
  3. Politico, "Senate Election Results," accessed November 12, 2014
  4. EMILY's List, "EMILY’s List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate in Kentucky," accessed August 22, 2013
  5. The Lane Report, "Grimes shares lessons learned from campaign with Women Leading Kentucky," accessed August 22, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kentucky Secretary of State, " Biography - Alison Lundergan Grimes," accessed March 29, 2013
  7. "Politico","Bluegrass bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes takes on Mitch McConnell," accessed August 3, 2014
  8. Project Vote Smart, "Secretary Alison Lundergan Grimes' Biography," accessed March 29, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Politico, "Election 2013: Greens face dilemma on backing Alison Lundergan Grimes," accessed November 11, 2013
  10. Washington Post, "Ickes, Granholm, Lundergan among early donors to pro-Hillary super PAC" accessed August 2, 2013
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pac
  12. Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, "Candidate Search Results," accessed February 3, 2015
  13. Public Policy Polling, "McConnell remains extremely unpopular," April 9, 2013
  14. "Washington Post","Alison Lundergan Grimes’s underwhelming launch — and what it means" July 2, 2013
  15. "Weekly Standard","EMILY's List Endorses Alison Lundergan Grimes" August 21, 2013
  16. "Huffington Post","Alison Lundergan Grimes Talks Abortion As She Unfurls Policy Positions" August 3, 2013
  17. "National Journal","Alison Lundergan Grimes Is Talking a Lot About Her Gender" May 18, 2014
  18. "National Journal","Republicans Forcing Lundergan Grimes To Choose Between Her Donors And Voters" May 2, 2014
  19. "Washington Post","Liberal donors eye new long-term investments in states and new voters to boost Democrats" May 4, 2014
  20. "MSNCB","It’s game on in Kentucky: GOP goes after Alison Lundergan Grimes" June 25, 2014
  21. "Politico","Bluegrass bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes takes on Mitch McConnell" accessed August 3, 2014
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named botched
  23. "Politico","Alison Lundergan Grimes’ coal miner? A European model" June 5, 2014
  24. "Washington Post","Alison Lundergan Grimes hangs with Hollywood" June 19, 2014
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Courier Journal, "Alison Lundergan Grimes tells Mitch McConnell 'I don't scare easy' in video" accessed July 26, 2013
  26. Politico, "Alison Lundergan Grimes to Mitch McConnell: ‘I don’t scare easy’" accessed July 26, 2013
  27. Policy, "Alison Lundergan Grimes: McConnell's New Attack Ad is Straight Out Of Bizarro World" accessed July 26, 2013
  28. NY Daily News, "VIDEO: ‘What rhymes with Mitch?’ Alison Lundergan Grimes gives McConnell a taste of his own medicine in as the Kentucky Senate Race heats up with new ad" accessed July 26, 2013
  29. WUKY "Alison Lundergan Grimes Calls Mitch McConnell's Leadership Spiteful, Petty in Kick-Off Ad" accessed July 26, 2013
  30. The Washington Post, "Mitch McConnell, political arsonist?," accessed October 28, 2013
  31. The Washington Post, "The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014," accessed December 10, 2013
  32. Bowling Green Daily News, "Lexington attorney to face Walker in race," January 21, 2011
  33. Louisville Courier-Journal, "2011 Voter Guide -- Secretary of State," accessed July 15, 2011
  34., "Grimes’ campaign says homeless have a right to vote," July 6, 2011
  35. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Alison Lunergran Grimes," accessed July 11, 2013
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Alison Lundergan Grimes 2014 Summary reports," accessed November 13, 2013
  37. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Year-end," accessed June 27, 2014
  39. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed June 27, 2014
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed June 27, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 15, 2014
  42. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  43. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Elaine Walker (D)
Kentucky Secretary of State
2012 - present
Succeeded by