Kentucky secretary of state election, 2011

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The Kentucky Secretary of State election of 2011 was held on November 8, 2011 following a primary election on May 17, 2011. Democrat attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes defeated Todd County businessman and teacher Bill Johnson.

Background

After losing the Republican nomination in the race for the United States Senate to ophthamologist Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative Ron Paul, in the state's May 18th primary, speculation abounded as to whether Republican incumbent Secretary of State Trey Grayson would run for re-election in his current statewide position or campaign for higher office.[1] Just prior to the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, he announced that he would not seek re-election as secretary of state, fueling speculation he would challenge Democratic State Attorney General Jack Conway instead.[2]

Ultimately, Grayson announced that he would return to the private sector rather then make an attempt for the state attorney general's office following the end of his second term.[3][4] He subsequently resigned his position several months earlier then expected after he was offered a job as director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.[5]

Democratic Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker was named as Grayson's replacement by Democratic Governor Steve Beshear on Friday, January 7th, 2011.[6] She was officially sworn into office three weeks later on Saturday, January 29th, immediately promising to run for a full term in office during the November elections.[7]

November 9, 2011 general election

See also: Kentucky state executive official elections, 2011

Candidates

Republican Party Republican Party - Todd County businessman Bill Johnson
Democratic Party Democratic Party - Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes

Endorsements

Bill Johnson

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Debates

September 19, 2011 - Kentucky Tonight, KET

See also: Kentucky Secretary of State debate sees sparks fly over photo IDs for voting

On Sept. 19, the television program Kentucky Tonight hosted an hour-long debate between Republican candidate Bill Johnson and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The major topic of conversation was voter registration rules -- Johnson has proposed a photo ID requirement for voter registration to limit fraud, a policy Grimes opposes as unfair to the elderly, the homeless, and students. Johnson also argued against a 2012 constitutional amendment that would allow felons convicted of non-violent crimes to vote after serving out their sentence; Grimes supports the measure.

Campaign finance

Neither candidate has filed general election campaign finance reports as of October 5, 2011.[11] See below for finance summaries from the primaries.

Polling

The first poll of the race, by Kentucky media outlet cn|2 in partnership with Public Policy Polling, showed Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes with a 10-point lead over her Republican opponent. By the end of August, that lead had declined, with one poll showing a rise in undecided voters and another suggesting Johnson had closed the gap to within 3 points.

Date of Poll Pollster Bill Johnson (R) Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) Undecided Number polled
Aug. 29-31, 2011[12] cn|2/Braun Research 27.9% 36.8% 35.3% 803
Aug. 25-28, 2011[13] Public Policy Polling 35% 38% 26% 800
Jun. 6-8, 2011[14] cn|2 32.6% 43.8% 23.6% 797

Controversies

Voter registration

Republican candidate Bill Johnson slammed Democratic incumbent Elaine Walker on July 6, 2011 for ordering the State Board of Elections to register homeless citizens to vote even if they can't provide a home address on their registration forms.

In a blog post published on his campaign website, Johnson argued that Kentucky election law (KRS 166.155) requires prospective voters to fill in an address on their voter registration card before being allowed to cast a ballot. He added that "providing an address is critical to determining and state residency," and suggested allowing voter registration without an address "opens our election process to potential fraud by felons, illegal immigrants, and other ineligible voters who only claim to be homeless."[15] Johnson's memo called for Walker to resign and accused Alison Lundergan Grimes, who will face Johnson in November after defeating Walker in the May 17 Democratic primary, of being unfit for office for failing to criticize homeless voter registration.[16]

Grimes's campaign manager, Jonathan Hurst, brandished a different clause in state law to rebut Johnson's claim. According to Hurst, KRS 116.025 states that citizens, in order to vote, must only be 18 years old, a Kentucky resident, mentally competent, not registered to vote in other states and not a felon. He went on to argue that "Kentuckians do not give up their rights as citizens because they are not property owners" with no permanent residence.[17]

Elaine Walker's office had no official reply to Johnson's accusations and gave no indication that registration of the homeless would stop.

May 17, 2011 primaries

See also: Kentucky state executive official elections, 2011

Donkey symbol.png Democratic primary

Candidates

Election results

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

Finances

Elaine Walker

As of September 2, 2011, the breakdown of Walker's campaign finances was as follows:

Elaine Walker Campaign Finance Reports -- Primary Election[20]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
Total --- --- $185,435.30 $176,685.57 ---
60-Day Post-Primary 7/16/2011 $396.11 $300.00 $204.29 $491.82
30-Day Post-Primary 6/16/2011 $94,036.27 $61,190.00 $154,830.16 $396.11
15-Day Pre-Primary 5/2/2011 $79,269.38 $23,025.00 $8,258.11 $94,036.27
32-Day Pre-Primary 4/15/2011[21] $0.00 $100,920.50 $21,651.12 $79,269.38
Alison Lundergan Grimes

As of September 2, 2011, the breakdown of Grimes's campaign finances was as follows:

Alison Lundergan Grimes Campaign Finance Reports -- Primary Election[22]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
Total --- --- $442,135.00 $386,348.49 ---
60-Day Post-Primary 7/16/2011 $42,916.98 $9,850.00 $0.00 $52,766.98
30-Day Post-Primary 6/16/2011 $311,745.61 $53,625.00 $319,459.10 $45,911.51
15-Day Pre-Primary 5/2/2011 $256,347.69 $75,377.00 $19,954.08 $311,770.61
32-Day Pre-Primary 4/15/2011 $0.00 $303,283.00 $46,935.31 $256,347.69

Drop outs

  • Joe Graviss, a Versailles businessman and McDonald's franchise owner who filed a letter of intent with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, withdrew two months later because of a “contractual obligation” to the fast-food company.[23][24]

Gop logo2.jpg Republican primary

Candidates

Election results

Secretary of State -- Republican primary results
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party ApprovedaBill Johnson 50.42%
     Republican Party Hilda Legg 49.58%
Total Votes 131,714
NOTE: Hilda Legg requested a recanvass of the vote in the Republican primary, which was conducted on May 26. It did not change the result.[28]

Finances

Bill Johnson

As of September 2, 2011, the breakdown of Johnson's campaign finances was as follows:

Bill Johnson Campaign Finance Reports -- Primary Election[29]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
Total --- --- $25,691.09 $23,861.85 ---
60-Day Post-Primary 7/16/2011 $1,860.74 $0.00 $0.00 $1,860.74
30-Day Post-Primary 6/16/2011 $1,771.65 $1,650.00 $1,560.91 $1,860.74
15-Day Pre-Primary 5/2/2011 $3,539.35 $925.00 $2,574.20 $1,890.15
32-Day Pre-Primary 4/15/2011[30] $4,714.06 $13,146.09 $14,470.80 $3,389.35
Quarterly 12/31/2010[31] $0.00 $9,970.00 $5,255.94 $4,714.06
Hilda Legg

As of September 2, 2011, the breakdown of Legg's campaign finances was as follows:

Hilda Legg Campaign Finance Reports -- Primary Election[32]
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
Total --- --- $165,095.00 $165,566.82 ---
60-Day Post-Primary 7/16/2011 $-5,135.82 $0.00 $0.00 $-5,135.82
30-Day Post-Primary 6/16/2011 $116,751.97 $21,185.00 $138,722.34 $-785.37
15-Day Pre-Primary 5/2/2011 $103,951.64 $24,525.00 $11,411.12 $117,065.52
32-Day Pre-Primary 4/21/2011[33] $0.00 $119,385.00 $15,433.36 $103,951.64

External links

Republican candidates

Democratic candidates

References

  1. Kentucky State Board of Elections - 2010 Republican Primary Election Results
  2. Courier Journal, "Trey Grayson says he won't seek public office in 2011" 24 Nov. 2010
  3. Daily Journal, "Republican Trey Grayson won't run for Ky. attorney general after 2 terms as secretary of state" 24 Nov. 2010
  4. WAVE 3 News, "Trey Grayson will not seek Attorney General's office" 24 Nov. 2010
  5. Business Lexington, "Trey Grayson to Step Down as Secretary of State, Take Job at Harvard" 7 Jan. 2011
  6. Lexington Herald-Leader, "Bowling Green mayor to replace Trey Grayson as secretary of state" 8 Jan. 2011
  7. Bowling Green Daily News, "Elaine Walker sworn in as secretary of state" 29 Jan. 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Jefferson Review, "Bill Johnson announces endorsements," April 28, 2011
  9. Bill Johnson -- Candidate Facebook Page, "Bill Johnson Announces Early Endorsements!," December 8, 2010
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 Alison Lundergan Grimes for Secretary of State, "Endorsements," accessed July 12, 2011
  11. Kentucky Registry of Eleciton Finance, "Candidate Searches," accessed October 5, 2011
  12. cn|2 "cn|2 Poll: Beshear's lead increases but other races largely unchanged since June," accessed September 8, 2011
  13. Public Policy Polling, "Beshear set to romp, helping Dems down-ballot," August 30, 2011
  14. cn|2 Pure Politics, "Down ballot Democrats begin with leads; Auditor race is closest in cn|2 Poll," accessed July 12, 2011
  15. Bill Johnson for KY Secretary of State 2011, "No Address, No Voter Registration. That is the Law!," accessed July 7, 2011
  16. Cincinnati.com, "Bill Johnson slams Secretary of State and his opponent on homeless voter registration," July 6, 2011
  17. Cincinnati.com, "Grimes’ campaign says homeless have a right to vote," July 6, 2011
  18. Lexington Herald-Leader, "Bowling Green mayor to replace Trey Grayson as secretary of state" 8 Jan. 2011
  19. Bowling Green Daily News, "Lexington attorney to face Walker in race" 21 Jan. 2011
  20. Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, "Candidate Searches," accessed September 2, 2011
  21. Amended on 5/3/2011
  22. Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, "Candidate Searches," accessed September 2, 2011
  23. Bluegrass Politics, "Versailles businessman files for Secretary of State" 20 May, 2010
  24. cn|2 Politics, "McDonalds fries Graviss’s bid for Secretary of State" 15 July, 2010
  25. Cincinnati Inquirer, "Bill Johnson to run for secretary of state in 2011" 28 Sept. 2010
  26. Bluegrass Politics, "Bill Johnson files to run for secretary of state" 8 Nov. 2010
  27. WKYT TV "Hilda Legg files for Secretary of State" 24 Jan. 2011
  28. Lexington Herald-Leader, "Legg concedes Republican Secretary of State primary to Johnson," May 27, 2011
  29. Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, "Candidate Searches," accessed September 2, 2011
  30. Amended on 5/3/2011
  31. Amended on 1/4/2011
  32. Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, "Candidate Searches," accessed July 12, 2011
  33. Amended on 4/24/2011