Grimes downplays notion of split among Democrats, says secretary of state should be an attorney

04/07/2011 07:30 AM

Democratic candidate for secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes said the primary race for that nomination won’t cause a split even as high-profile Democrats — and unions — continue to pick sides.

Grimes is facing Elaine Walker, who has been serving as secretary of state since January, in the May 17 primary.

During her interview Wednesday on Pure Politics, Grimes first talked about the origins of one of her platforms: to push to allow victims of domestic violence to use the secretary of state’s office address as their address to protect their privacy.

Currently, the information on voter registration cards is public information.

“We can make sure they go to the polls on Election Day, exercising their right to vote without fear of harm or intimidation befalling them that night when they get home,” Grimes said.

“The idea has come from my past experience and seeing what other states have done,” added Grimes, who recently resigned from the Lexington office of the firm Stoll Keenon Ogden in February to run for office.

Grimes said she is better suited than Walker, the former mayor of Bowling Green, because she is lawyer and has dealt with the legal intricacies that the secretary of state must handle, including voting laws, business filings and official documents from the executive branch.

Grimes has received endorsements from various Democratic officials, including Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, former governor and current senator Julian Carroll and most recently, U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler of Versailles.

But one endorsement she doesn’t have is that of Gov. Steve Beshear, who appointed Walker as secretary of state after Republican Trey Grayson resigned from the post to take a job at Harvard University.

Grimes said she didn’t get a chance to talk with Beshear to express her interest in seeking the Secretary of State’s job before he made the appointment. And she downplayed any notion of a split in the party even as Beshear has made calls to Democrats on behalf of Walker.

“The governor is leaving this election up to the voters of Kentucky. He is running for re-election as the governor of the commonwealth — not for secretary of state. And at the end of the day, he has one vote,” she said. “I look to work together with Gov. Beshear, hopefully on May 18th, if humble enough to be elected by the citizens of Kentucky. And I think we will make a great team.”

Grimes said she is not aware of any retribution against any of her supporters.

Terrell Renfro said he voluntarily left his job in the Beshear administration to join Grimes’ campaign staff and was not forced out as some unconfirmed reports suggested.

- Ryan Alessi


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