Grimes has 'bigger plan' after losing Senate race, yet still undecided

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In her first interview since her U.S. Senate campaign ended in defeat to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) six weeks ago, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) told WHAS11 she has yet to decide the next step in her political future, leaving open any 2015 statewide race or none at all.

"(The Senate race) might not have ended the way we had hoped," Grimes said in an interview at Kentucky's Board of Elections, "but I know that there's a bigger plan in store."

But determining Grimes' bigger plan is easier said than done.

"We're excited for 2015," Grimes said when asked about her plans. "It has been a great year and I'm taking time to reflect on what has been an amazing journey, spend time with family and friends and to continue to do the job that I was elected to do as Secretary of State."

Grimes chaired a meeting of Kentucky's Help America Vote Act (HAVA) Advisory Committee on Tuesday, meeting with several of Kentucky's 29 new county clerks elected last month.

Grimes said with the Senate campaign, she has been working two jobs for the past year.

"I'm taking time to reflect with family and friends on what has been an amazing journey," Grimes responded when asked if she would appear on a 2015 ballot, "to do the job that the people of Kentucky elected me back in 2012 to do. And, my hope is that I will continue to remain committed to the causes that I committed myself to over the course of this past year."

Grimes said she aims to to keep together the coalition and agenda of her U.S. Senate campaign, emphasizing issues such as equal pay for women, job creation and breaking down voting barriers.

Yet, Grimes did not indicate which office is best suited for her agenda.

Grimes has been publicly prodded by several prominent Kentucky Democrats to run for re-election as Secretary of State rather than challenge the sole announced Democratic candidates for two higher profile offices. If Grimes opted out of the 2015 races, she is also considered a potential 2016 challenger to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) and U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R).

Attorney General Jack Conway (D-Kentucky) is the only Democrat to announce a gubernatorial candidacy and Louisville attorney Andy Beshear, the son of Governor Steve Beshear (D-Kentucky), is the only Democrat to announce a run for Attorney General.

"There's encouragement from all different directions, no shortage of opinions, that's for sure," Grimes smiled. "But no election should be run unless it's in your heart and the facts are there to win, and that's what I will weigh and to make sure is there before I make any determination."

Political insiders suggest that the margin of Grimes' loss to Senator Mitch McConnell - 15 percentage points - is one factor to consider, and that if she had come close to defeating McConnell, she could have stepped right into the governor's race.

Conway told WHAS11 in October and again several days after the election that he would be "shocked" if Grimes entered the governor's race.

Yet, asked if any of her comments could have influenced Conway's view, Grimes said she has not spoken with him.

"I have not had any conversations with any of the constitutional officers," Grimes said. "I've taken the time after the election to spend time with my family with friends across the commonwealth, and most important, to continue to do the job that the people of this state elected me to do."

Grimes is not saying if she will run for anything in 2015.

"I haven't made any determination as to what the next step is going to be," Grimes reiterated. "I know that the future of Kentucky is bright, and I know that I will continue to remain engaged especially in the causes that I committed myself to throughout the 2014 election cycle."


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