Grimes wins secretary of state race



By Taylor Riley

FRANKFORT — Votes swung Alison Lundergan Grimes’ way as she continued the Democratic landslide victory on Tuesday to become Kentucky’s third secretary of state in a year.

Grimes won with 61 percent to Bill Johnson’s 39 percent of the vote, according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections.

Grimes’ two grandmothers were present to help her accept the position. The women starred in Grimes’ campaign commercial.

“It has been 293 days, 100,000 miles, 15 parades … and one commercial with my fierce, fine grandmothers until the day,” Grimes said in her acceptance speech, “we have crossed that finish line successful.”

After Trey Grayson left an unexpired term to become director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, current Secretary of State Elaine Walker was appointed to fill the unexpired term Jan. 7 and sworn in Jan. 29, before she filed as a candidate for the office. In May, Grimes defeated Walker in the primaries.

According to the Kentucky State Government’s website, the secretary of state position is responsible for the integrity of the election process in the state. When elected, the secretary of state is supposed to strengthen Kentucky’s future and the future of its citizens by ensuring clean elections and restoring civic engagement.

Grimes became the 76th secretary of state of the commonwealth and said “the work begins tomorrow.”

The head-to-head race between Bill Johnson and Grimes ultimately came between whether Kentucky was ready for a person with a law degree or a business background.

Johnson said on his campaign website that his work in two major Fortune 500 companies would ensure a “hands-on” approach to business advocacy. Throughout the campaign, he stressed his conservative values with a focus on civic education and his involvement in the U.S. military.

Both candidates said they would protect the polls from voter fraud and corruption.

Voter fraud has been a problem in recent years in the commonwealth; most recently in the 2004 elections where “pay-per-card” voter registration surfaced.

A comment by Johnson created a controversy at a recent debate on PBS when he said that he would work to require a government-issued photo ID and a valid address in order to vote stating security reasons.

Grimes disagreed saying that all people should have the right to vote, not just the rich.

“We are going to make all voices heard, whether it is on Park Avenue, on a park bench or in a parked car,” Grimes said in her acceptance speech.

Grimes promised early that she would preserve and protect the right to vote for everyone in Kentucky saying that the Democratic system will last only as long as “the next generation values it.”

“We are here and help is on its way,” Grimes said.