Alison Lundergan Grimes
|85th Secretary of State of Kentucky|
January 2, 2012 – January 6, 2020
|Preceded by||Elaine Walker|
|Succeeded by||Michael Adams|
Alison Case Lundergan
November 23, 1978
Maysville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Education||Rhodes College (BA)|
American University (JD)
Alison Case Lundergan Grimes (born November 23, 1978) is an American lawyer and Democratic politician who was the Secretary of State of Kentucky from 2012 until 2020. Grimes was elected in 2011 after defeating incumbent Elaine Walker in the Democratic primary and Republican candidate Bill Johnson in the general election. She was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 2014, unsuccessfully challenging Republican incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She was re-elected for a second term as Secretary of State of Kentucky on November 3, 2015, defeating Republican Stephen Knipper. Term limited in 2019, she was succeeded by Republican Michael Adams.
Early life and education
Alison Case Lundergan was born in Maysville, Kentucky, the daughter of Charlotte (née Case) and Jerry Lundergan, a former Kentucky Democratic chairman and state representative. She is the middle child of five siblings, all girls. As a child, she knocked on doors on behalf of her father's political campaigns, and later 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.
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 and served as president of her college chapter; she also served as a student trustee and a member of student government. Grimes received her Juris Doctor degree 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.
Prior to running for Secretary of State, Grimes was a practicing attorney in Lexington. She served as an associate at Stoll Keenon Ogden from 2004 to 2011, specializing in intellectual property and complex business litigation.
Grimes has served numerous times as delegate to the Democratic National Convention, supporting candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008, Barack Obama in 2012, and party nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. She addressed the 2016 Democratic National Convention on the evening of the official roll call vote as a close personal friend of the party's nominee Hillary Clinton. She was named one of the "new stars of the Democratic Party" after her address.
Grimes led the Democratic ticket in each of her three statewide races. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander designed to combat voter suppression.
Grimes endorsed Charles Booker in the 2020 U.S. Senate Election in Kentucky over Amy McGrath, a surprise to some observers of the race who note that Booker is the more progressive of the two candidates.
Secretary of State
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.
Grimes faced Republican businessman and former Senate candidate Bill Johnson in the general election. A main aspect of the campaign was Grimes's 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 said her goals when elected included "updating business and election laws, increasing voting access for veterans and protecting the identity of domestic-violence victims in registration records." She became well known through commercials that showed her elderly grandmothers. Grimes defeated Johnson with over 60% of the vote. She received a higher percentage of the vote than any other Kentucky statewide Democratic candidate during the 2011 elections. Her term as Secretary of State began on January 2, 2012.
In 2012, 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. Grimes's recommendations received bipartisan support in the Kentucky General Assembly and were signed into law in April 2013. The Kentucky Military Heroes Voting Initiative law allows military members and other covered voters to register to vote and update their registration online, ensures that military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections, and extends existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.
On March 14, 2016, Grimes launched the online voter registration system GoVoteKY.com. A statewide voter registration drive she led during the 2016 presidential election resulted in more than 100,000 new voters. Grimes continues to push for introducing in-person early voting in Kentucky elections. Kentucky is among a handful of states which do not allow voters to cast ballots in-person without an excuse before Election Day.
In November 2017, Grimes announced the formation of a task force for legalizing the medical use of cannabis in Kentucky. In January 2018, House Bill 166 was introduced which incorporated the recommendations of the task force. In March 2018, Grimes coauthored an op-ed with Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer calling for passage of the bill. The bill stalled, however, which Grimes blamed on Republican leadership "holding the bill hostage".
Grimes is an advocate for the restoration of voting rights for Kentucky's non-violent felons who have served their sentences. Kentucky remains one of three states which does not automatically restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.
Grimes has been a proponent of legislation and initiatives to aid individuals with disabilities, including working with Kentucky agencies to help educate disabled voters about their rights at the ballot box and advocating for a law that improves communication between law enforcement and the more than 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Grimes has been criticized for controlling the Secretary of State office and the State Board of Elections's day-to-day functions, among other controversies. Her extensive oversight, including have representatives from the SOS office present during interviews of the SBE members making claims in the investigations of the controversies, has been described as intimidating to those in the SBE.
2014 U.S. Senate campaign
In a July 1, 2013, press conference, Grimes announced her intentions to run for the United States Senate seat held by Mitch McConnell. Grimes officially launched the campaign with a kick-off rally on July 30, 2013, and officially filed her paperwork to be on the Kentucky ballot in January 2014.
On May 20, 2014, she won the Democratic primary with 77% of the vote. She faced Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the general election on November 4, 2014 and lost despite that the race was initially considered to be competitive by both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, which considered the race only to lean Republican." 
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, where she was a featured speaker at the event.
Hollywood executives Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg hosted fundraising events for Grimes in New York City and Beverly Hills. Her father's involvement in the campaign was noted as a factor in the race due to his political and fundraising connections.
Grimes and McConnell disagreed over debate proposals; McConnell preferred a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates with only candidates asking questions and no audience, while Grimes said she wants members of the audience to ask questions. They ultimately had a single debate, aired October 13 on KET; host Bill Goodwin posed the questions and also relayed questions from viewers.
On October 26, Grimes received endorsements from the editorial boards of The Courier-Journal and The Lexington Herald-Leader. On November 4, McConnell defeated Grimes, 56.2% to 40.7%, to win re-election.
2015 reelection campaign
After her defeat in the 2014 elections for the US Senate, Grimes was speculated as a candidate for re-election to office of Secretary of State of Kentucky, for Governor of Kentucky and for Attorney General of Kentucky, but in January 2015 she announced her plans to run for re-election as Secretary of State. On November 3, 2015, Grimes won re-election with 51% of the vote.
Grimes stated she would vote to delay the employer mandate for small businesses in the Affordable Care Act, but supports the act's goals of increasing coverage. She has criticized Mitch McConnell's votes to defund the act on the grounds that doing so would "destroy Kynect," Kentucky's state-based insurance exchange.
In November 2013, Grimes claimed that as a member of the National Rifle Association, her "strong support for the Second Amendment is unquestioned" and added that she was "proud of Kentucky's long-held gun ownership, sporting and hunting traditions", inviting McConnell to go shooting with her.
Grimes has said that she is "pro-choice down the line on abortion" and opposes efforts to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks. She explained "I come from a family of five women. I would never pretend to tell one of my sisters what to do with their body and I don't want the federal government doing that either.… When it comes to choice, I believe, should a woman have to make that decision, it's between herself, her doctor, and her God."
Grimes supports Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. She also supports reducing taxes for businesses that provide child care to their employees, has called for pay equity for female employees and expressed her desire to increase the federal minimum wage.
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes||85,436||55.26|
|Democratic||Elaine Walker (Incumbent)||69,185||44.74|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes||494,368||60.63|
|2014 U.S. Senate Democratic primary results|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes||307,821||76.47|
|Democratic||Gregory Brent Leichty||32,602||8.10|
|Democratic||Burrel Charles Farnsley||32,310||8.03|
|2014 U.S. Senate General election results|
|Republican||Mitch McConnell (incumbent)||806,787||56.19|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes||584,698||40.72|
|2015 Kentucky Secretary of State Democratic Primary election results|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes (incumbent)||131,654||73.24|
|Democratic||Alison Lundergan Grimes (Incumbent)||493,600||51.16|
Married since September 2, 2006, she and her husband, Andrew Grimes, live in downtown Lexington. On July 23, 2018, Grimes announced her pregnancy on Twitter and that she and her husband were expecting their first child, a boy, in December. She gave birth to a son on December 26, 2018. This made Grimes the second statewide officeholder to give birth while in office; the first being Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball in July 2018. On August 8, 2020 Grimes welcomed her second child, a daughter.
- "Obituary". Maysville-online.com. May 5, 2010. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Horn, Rachel (Winter 2012). "This Woman's Work" (PDF). Story. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 12, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- Drusch, Andrea. "QUIZ: How well do you know Alison Lundergan Grimes?". Politico. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
- Toncray, Marla. "Lundergan Grimes announces senate candidacy". Ledger Independent. Retrieved February 27, 2017.[permanent dead link]
- Musgrave, Beth (May 18, 2011). "Grimes beats incumbent in Democratic race for Secretary of State". Lexington Herald-Leader.
- Stoll Keenan Ogden (February 14, 2011). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Announces Departure from Law Firm to Pursue Secretary of State Candidacy". Archived from the original on October 19, 2014.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes Announces Departure from Law Firm to Pursue Secretary of State Candidacy". Stoll Keenon Ogden. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- Raju, Manu. "Bluegrass bravado: Untested Alison Lundergan Grimes takes on Mitch McConnell". Politico. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Chinn, Valerie. "Alison Lundergan Grimes asks DNC crowd to stand up against 'unqualified bully', Donald Trump". Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "The new stars of the Democratic Party". McClatchy. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Kentucky General Election Results, 2015" (PDF). Elect.ky.gov.
- "Kentucky General Election Results, 2014" (PDF). Elect.ky.gov.
- "Kentucky General Election Results, 2011" (PDF). Elect.ky.gov.
- "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- "Grimes endorses Booker in Democratic Senate race in Kentucky". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
- "Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes easily wins secretary of state race". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Grimes wins Kentucky secretary of state race". Evansville Courier & Press. November 8, 2011. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014.
- Estep, Bill (November 9, 2011). "Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes easily wins secretary of state race". Lexington Herald-Leader.
- "Kentucky Election Results, 2011" (PDF). Elect.ky.gov.
- "Secretary Grimes Launches Online Portal for Military and Overseas Voters". Migration.kentucky.gov. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
- "Online voter registration comes to Kentucky". kentucky. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
- "Grimes' Historic Voter Registration Drive Yields More Than 100,000 New Voters – Q95 FM". q95fm.net. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Grimes Again Backing Early Voting". Marshall County Daily.com. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- Legislatures, National Conference of State. "Absentee and Early Voting". Ncsl.org. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- Queen, Bradford (November 15, 2017). "Grimes Convening Task Force to Propose Legislative Action to Legalize Medical Marijuana" (Press release). Frankford, KY: kentucky.gov. Archived from the original on May 13, 2018.
- Novelly, Thomas (November 15, 2017). "Grimes: Kentucky must legalize medical marijuana". Louisville Courier Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Queen, Bradford (January 11, 2018). "Grimes, Medical Marijuana Task Force Unveil Proposed Legislation" (Press release). Frankfort, KY: kentucky.gov. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019.
- Grimes, Alison Lundergan; Meyer, Dakota (March 7, 2018). "It's time to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- Watkins, Morgan (March 20, 2018). "Grimes: Proposal for legal medical marijuana held hostage by Kentucky House GOP leadership". Louisville Courier Journal. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
- "Senate passes felon voting rights legislation". Spectrum News. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- @JournoKateH, Follow. "Kentucky 3rd In Nation In Barring Felons From The Voting Booth". Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
- "Grimes recognized for advocacy for individuals with disabilities | KYStandard.com". Kystandard.com. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- "Deaf drivers get assist in traffic stops under new Kentucky law". Kentucky Today. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
- "'It's too much control.' Grimes' power over Kentucky elections board sparks backlash". kentucky. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Kentucky, By Ronnie Ellis CNHI. "Lundergan, Emmons indicted for illegal contributions to Grimes' campaign". Commonwealth Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- [email protected], Ronnie Ellis. "Tensions continue between Grimes, SBE staff". Richmond Register. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "'It's inappropriate.' Staff of Grimes searched voting records of workers and rivals". kentucky. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "Ethics opinion further complicates a 2019 campaign for Alison Lundergan Grimes". kentucky. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "Another Kentucky elections staffer accuses Grimes of misusing voter data". kentucky. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- "Alison Grimes calls ProPublica report on her office a sexist smear job". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Jessica Huseman, Daniel Desrochers (January 31, 2019). "A Power Grab in Kentucky Sparks a Revolt". ProPublica. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
- Emily Schultheis & Manu Raju (July 1, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes announces Senate run". Politico.
- "McConnell vs. Grimes: Let's get ready to rumble". Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- "Alison Lundergran Grimes kicks off U.S. Senate campaign with barbs for Mitch McConnell". kentucky. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- Meador, Jonathan (January 9, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Files for Senate Election | 89.3 WFPL News Louisville". 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
- "Kentucky - Summary Vote Results". Associated Press. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Carroll, James R. (August 3, 2013). "Mitch McConnell, Alison Lundergan Grimes race a 'toss up,' according to non-partisan observer". The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013.
- "Senate Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. September 4, 2014. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- Drush, Andrea (February 5, 2014). "Republicans Forcing Lundergan Grimes To Choose Between Her Donors And Voters". National Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Gold, Matea (April 5, 2014). "Washington Post". Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Itkowitz, Colby (June 19, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes hangs with Hollywood". Washington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Newton-Small, Jay (February 14, 2014). "Father of McConnell Foe is Both Asset and Risk in Kentucky". Time. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- Gerth, Joseph (September 22, 2013). "Ky. Senate candidate's dad brings connections, baggage". USA Today. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "McConnell, Grimes debate over the debate". WHAS11. June 6, 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
- Brammer, Jack (August 18, 2014). "McConnell agrees to debate Grimes on KET". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Gerth, Joseph (October 14, 2014). "Grimes, McConnell debate contentious". Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- "Endorsement - Alison Grimes for Senate". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
- "Elect Grimes to Senate for a better future". The Lexington Herald-Leader. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
- "2014 - Kentucky Senate - McConnell vs. Grimes - RealClearPolitics". Realclearpolitics.com.
- Davis, Susan (November 4, 2014). "McConnell, Cotton wins push GOP toward Senate control". USA Today. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes running for re-election as Secretary of State". Wdrb.com. January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes deflects health care law criticism, calls for solutionslison Lundergan Grimes deflects health care law criticism, calls for solutions". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
- Fineman, Howard (March 8, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Talks Abortion As She Unfurls Policy Positions". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- "Grimes hits back: On Obamacare, Mitch McConnell is in "fantasyland", Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, May 28, 2014
- Grimes campaign slams McConnell, The Hill, May 28, 2014.
- Matt Berman (November 8, 2013). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Really Wants You to Know How Much She Likes Guns". National Journal. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Goldmacher, Shan (May 18, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes Is Talking a Lot About Her Gender". National Journal. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
- Bobic, Igor (August 17, 2014). "Alison Lundergan Grimes: Iron Dome Helps Israel Defend Against Terrorists In Tunnels". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes calls for additional child care tax breaks". Courier-journal.com.
- Democrats brace for climate rule fallout Archived August 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Politico, June 1, 2014.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes biography". Kentucky Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010.
- "Lundergan and Grimes vows are solemnized". The Ledger Independent. September 7, 2006. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- Jack Brammer. "'Big announcement' -- Kentucky secretary of state says she's expecting a baby boy". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- "Alison Lundergan Grimes gives birth to first child". WDRB. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
- Alison Lundergan Grimes at Curlie
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN
| Secretary of State of Kentucky
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Kentucky