Trey Grayson

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Trey Grayson
Trey Grayson.jpg
Former Kentucky Secretary of State
Assumed office
Current term ends
Political party Republican
Website Official Kentucky Secretary of State website
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 currently 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 to his current state governmental position, 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]


  • 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)

Professional experience

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 an a consultant and an attorney for Keating, Muething, & Klekamp where he focused on estate planning and corporate law.

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. That 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.

Since 2004, Grayson has 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 sub-committee, and, just recently, president.

2010 United States Senate election

United States Senate
U.S. Senate Seal.png
Elections, 2010
Primary election dates, 2010

Despite increasing pressure from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to retire, believing the seventy-eight year old candidate unlikely to win re-election [7], 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" [8] 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." [9]

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 suggests 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. [10]

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% that evening. [2]


Palin comment

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, United States Senate candidate Trey Grayson likely didn't do himself any favors as far as members of the tea party movement are concerned when he said directly that former-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was unqualified to be President of the United States. [11] [12] While many "establishment" Republicans express similar sentiments, unlike Grayson, they often dance around answering the inquiry in order to avoid upsetting supporters of the former-Governor of Alaska who is seen as "the symbolic leader of the Tea Party movement." [13] Incidentally, Sarah Palin endorsed Grayson's Republican primary opponent in late-January 2010. [14]

Other roles

State executive officials
State legislatures
  • 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



  • 2003 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Trey Grayson ran unopposed in this contest
2003 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [15]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda C.M. "Trey" Grayson 52.5%
     Democratic Party Russ Maple 47.5%
Total Votes 1,006,429


  • 2007 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Trey Grayson ran unopposed in this contest
2007 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [16]
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


2010 Race for United States Senate - Republican Primary [2]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Rand Paul 58.8%
     Republican Party C.M. "Trey" Grayson 35.5%
     Republican Party Bill Johnson 2.2%
     Republican Party John Stephenson 2.0%
     Republican Party Gurley L. Martin 0.8%
     Republican Party Jon J. Scribner 0.8%
Total Votes 352,275


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

External links


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