Grayson 1 of 2 Republicans elected to statewide office

By Katie Saltz and Erica Mitchell

Despite Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s loss in the gubernatorial race, Republicans still found something to cheer about as Trey Grayson stepped on stage to celebrate his re-election as Kentucky secretary of state. Supporters chanted his name and held up campaign signs as Grayson addressed the crowd.

“Because of all of you tonight, we made history,” Grayson said.

Grayson defeated Democratic candidate Bruce Hendrickson by about 14 percentage points. Grayson said he received a conciliatory phone call from Hendrickson and that his challenger had been a great opponent in the race.

“Bruce worked his tail off, spent a long time working really hard, ran a great campaign, and I give him a lot of credit for making this race,” Grayson said. “I wish him the best.”

Hendrickson, a high school chemistry and biology teacher and former mayor of Pineville, Ky., was one of two Democratic candidates who did not win in statewide offices in yesterday’s election. David Lynn Williams, the Democratic candidate for commissioner of agriculture, was defeated by Republican incumbent Richie Farmer.

“I think the Democrats had a very good night,” said Richard Becker, co-chair of College Democrats of Kentucky. “Unfortunately it didn’t carry over to Bruce Hendrickson. The (secretary of state) race was a lot closer than anyone thought it would be.”

Some people at the Democrats’ gathering in Frankfort last night said Hendrickson’s campaign tactics might have played a role in the outcome.

“He wasn’t able to campaign effectively because he was teaching, and that’s very admirable,” said Jonathan Miller, state treasurer and chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

Hendrickson did not make a concession speech and was unavailable for comment after the results were announced.

“We are proud of him, but it’s very tough to take on an incumbent that’s done a good job,” Miller said.

Grayson spoke about the achievements his office has made since he was elected in 2003 as the youngest secretary of state in the nation at the time.

“We’ve worked hard over the last four years to make the secretary of state office the best it’s ever been,” Grayson said. “We’ve improved our elections, we’ve established the nation’s leading civic education reform, and we’ve started to cut some red tape to make it easier for businesses to do work in Frankfort.”

Grayson commended his office’s efforts to reform campaign funding.

“We also repealed taxpayer-funded political campaigns so your taxpayer dollars will be used for education and not attack-ads and bumper stickers.”

Grayson thanked his family, Fletcher and all Kentuckians for the support he received in this election.

“I want to thank the people of Kentucky — Republicans, Democrats and independents — for the confidence they have placed in me and the opportunity to serve you for another four years,” he said.

As for what lies ahead, Grayson said that was the easiest question for him to answer.

“We’re going to have fun tonight,” Grayson said. “Tomorrow we’re going to rest. On Thursday we’re going to start working together, united around a common vision and purpose, and a common value to move Kentucky forward.”