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Secretary of State primary reflects power struggle in Democratic Party

by Joe Arnold


Posted on January 21, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Flanked by some of the biggest names in Kentucky's Democratic Party, the daughter of prominent Democrat power broker Jerry Lundergan, Allison Lundergan Grimes, announced her candidacy for Secretary of State on Thursday.

Grimes enters a primary already occupied by Democratic Governor Steve Beshear's handpicked choice for the job, Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker, who he appointed to the post two weeks ago when Republican Trey Grayson announced his resignation.

Traveling to news conferences on a snowy January day, Grimes was joined by Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, former Governor and current State Senator Julian Carroll, former Miss America Heather French Henry - the wife of former Lt. Governor Steve Henry, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

I am a lifelong Democrat, native Kentuckian, and I was born and raised to believe in public service. As Secretary of State, I will preserve, protect, and promote all citizens' right to vote and serve as an ambassador to business. This election is about the future of Kentucky and it is up to us to build that future.


I am ready to listen, ready to lead, and I look forward to discussing with you the issues that face both Kentucky and the office of Secretary of State.

The Herald-Leader's Jack Brammer reports on the underlying  Democratic feud showcased in race for Secretary of State:

Beshear and Jerry Lundergan, who have both represented the same state House district in Lexington at different points in their careers, have long been at odds.

Their differences primarily stem from Lundergan’s support for the late Wallace Wilkinson over Beshear in the May 1987 Democratic primary election for governor, Briscoe said.

“The bottom line in this story,” (Democratic strategist Danny) Briscoe said, “is that the governor needs to get over being against Jerry Lundergan. He could have settled things with Lundergan by appointing someone to fill Grayson’s term who wasn’t going to run or talking to Lundergan about his daughter.”