Trey Grayson

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Trey Grayson
Trey Grayson.jpg
Kentucky Secretary of State
Former official
In office
High schoolDixie Heights High School
Bachelor'sHarvard College (1994)
Master'sUniversity of Kentucky (1998)
J.D.University of Kenetucky (1998)
Date of birthApril 18, 1972
Place of birthFort Thomas, Kentucky
Charles Merwin "Trey" Grayson III (born April 18, 1972, in Fort Thomas, Kentucky) was the Republican Kentucky Secretary of State from 2004 until 2011. He announced in April 2009 that he would campaign for the United States Senate seat occupied by Republican Jim Bunning, who declined to run for a third term in office.[1] Grayson faced off against Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and son of Texas Representative Ron Paul, in the state's May 18 Republican primary, which he lost 35.4% to 58.8%.[2]

Just prior to the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday weekend, he announced that he would not seek re-election as Kentucky Secretary of State, fueling speculation he would challenge Democratic State Attorney General Jack Conway instead.[3] And despite rumors suggesting that he was contemplating running for the statewide position, 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 in his statewide governmental position.[4][5] Grayson ultimately left several months earlier then expected after he was offered a job as director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.[6]


After earning both degrees in 1998, he joined the private law firm of Greenebaum, Doll, & McDonald as an attorney. From 2001 until 2003, Grayson served as both a consultant and an attorney for Keating, Muething, & Klekamp where he focused on estate planning and corporate law.


  • Graduate from Dixie Heights High School
  • Bachelor's degree, Harvard College (1994) in government
  • Master of Business Administration degree, University of Kentucky in Lexington (1998)
  • Juris Doctorate degree, University of Kentucky in Lexington (1998)
  • Graduate, Leadership Northern Kentucky (2000)
  • Graduate, Leadership Kentucky (2002)

Political Career

Grayson's first political contest was the Secretary of State race in November 2003. At the time, the political environment in the state was strongly against Republican candidates as Democrats had held control over all state offices for nearly three decades. The trend broke that year when Republicans occupied the positions of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Agriculture Commissioner, in addition to Grayson's victory. At the time he took office in January 2004, he was the youngest secretary of state in the country at the age of thirty-one.

Grayson held numerous leadership positions within the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), including chair of the elections committee, chair of the voter participation committee, treasurer, two-term co-chair of the presidential primary subcommittee, and president.



Grayson ran for U.S. Senate in 2010. He was defeated in the primary by Rand Paul.[7][8][9]

United States Senate
U.S. Senate Seal.png
Elections, 2010
Primary election dates, 2010
U.S. Senate Republican Primary Election, Kentucky Republican Primary, 2010
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngRand Paul 58.8% 206,986
Trey Grayson 35.4% 124,864
Bill Johnson 2.2% 7,861
John Stephenson 2% 6,885
Gurley L. Martin 0.8% 2,850
Jon Scribner 0.8% 2,829
Total Votes 352,275

Despite increasing pressure from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to retire, believing the seventy-eight year old candidate unlikely to win re-election[10], Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky vowed to keep fighting for his political future, noting, "The NRSC never helped me last time and they’re probably not going to help me this time"[11] Two months after making this statement, however, polls showed him losing to four Democratic challengers who were most likely to run against him. In late-July 2009, Bunning announced his retirement, blaming Senate Republicans who he argued did "everything in their power to dry up my fundraising."[12]

Trey Grayson for United States Senate Campaign logo

Though Bunning had not yet made his retirement official at that point, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson declared in late-April 2009 his intent to form an exploratory committee to run for Bunning's senate seat.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in December 2009 suggested Grayson faced an uphill battle against his main challenger for the Republican nomination, Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative Ron Paul, with the later holding a margin of victory at a ratio of 44-25 percent. Still, with thirty-three percent of respondents saying they had not yet decided who to support, it was believed that Grayson had plenty of time in which to make his case.[13]

However, on May 18, 2010, the date of the state's primary election, Paul's substantial lead in the race proved too much to overcome as Grayson went on to lose the contest 35.4% to 58.8%.[2]


Already faced with a nearly fifteen point deficit in the latest voter survey against Rand Paul, son of United States House of Representatives member Ron Paul, Grayson likely didn't do himself any favors as far as members of the tea party movement were concerned when he said directly that former-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was unqualified to be President of the United States.[14][15] While many "establishment" Republicans expressed similar sentiments, unlike Grayson, they often danced around answering the inquiry in order to avoid upsetting supporters of the former-Governor of Alaska who was seen as "the symbolic leader of the Tea Party movement."[16] Incidentally, Sarah Palin endorsed Grayson's Republican primary opponent in late-January 2010.[17]


  • 2007 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Trey Grayson ran unopposed in this contest
2007 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[18]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda C.M. "Trey" Grayson 57.1%
     Democratic Party S. Bruce Hendrickson 42.9%
Total Votes 1,011,156


  • 2003 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Trey Grayson ran unopposed in this contest
2003 Race for Secretary of State - General Election[19]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda C.M. "Trey" Grayson 52.5%
     Democratic Party Russ Maple 47.5%
Total Votes 1,006,429


Trey Grayson currently resides in Park Hills, Kentucky with his wife, Nancy, and their two daughters - Alexandra and Kate. He is a practicing Episcopalian.

Grayson has served in the following other roles:

  • Board Member, Kentucky Symphony (2001-2003)
  • Board Member, Commonwealth Fund for KET (2001-present)
  • Board Member, Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education (2001-present)
  • President, Conservative Forum (2002-2003)
  • Board Member, New Hope Center (2002-present)
  • Board Member, Kentucky Governors Scholars Program (2002-present)
  • Co-Hosted, Kentucky Summit on Civic Literacy (2004)
  • Member, Congressional Conference on Civic Education - Kentucky Delegation
  • President, Governor's Scholar Program Alumni Association
  • Advisory Member,
  • Advisory Board Member, Just Democracy, Incorporated
  • Kentucky Workforce Investment Board
  • Vice-Chair, National Association of Secretaries of State Committee
  • Chair, Republican Association of Secretaries of State

External links

Suggest a link


  1. WYMT 57 - Mountain News, "Trey Grayson enters U.S. Senate race" 26 Aug. 2009
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kentucky State Board of Elections - 2010 Republican Primary Election Results
  3. Courier Journal' "Trey Grayson says he won't seek public office in 2011" 24 Nov. 2010
  4. Daily Journal, "Republican Trey Grayson won't run for Ky. attorney general after 2 terms as secretary of state" 24 Nov. 2010
  5. WAVE 3 News, "Trey Grayson will not seek Attorney General's office" 24 Nov. 2010
  6. Business Lexington, "Trey Grayson to Step Down as Secretary of State, Take Job at Harvard" 7 Jan. 2011 (dead link)
  7. Kentucky Elections, "Primary Election Results," May 18, 2010
  8. Bluegrass Politics, "Some conservatives wary of Grayson," June 28, 2009
  9. WDRB "Rand Paul defeats Trey Grayson," May 18, 2010
  10. Politico, "GOP pressures Bunning to quit" 22 Jan. 2009
  11. Bluegrass Politics, "Bunning: ‘I would have a suit’ if Republicans recruit an opponent" 24 Feb. 2009
  12. Washington Post, "Bunning Will Not Seek Third Term" 28 July, 2009
  13. Public Policy Polling, "Paul takes big lead in GOP primary" 22 Dec. 2009 (dead link)
  14. SurveyUSA "Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #16441" 12 April, 2010
  15. YouTube, "Trey Grayson says Sarah Palin is not qualified to be President of the United States" 14 April, 2010
  16. Hot Air, "Proxy war: Rand Paul’s GOP opponent says Palin isn’t qualified to be president" 14 April, 2010
  17. Louisville Mojo, "Sarah Palin to Endorse Rand Paul for US Senate" 28 Jan. 2010
  18. Kentucky State Board of Elections - 2007 General Election Results
  19. Kentucky State Board of Elections - 2003 General Election Results

Political offices
Preceded by
John Y. Brown III
Kentucky Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Elaine Walker