Clerk ‘shocked’ when Senate hopeful Grimes asks for cash

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Denny responds, requests no more e-mails from Secretary of State

By Ben Carlson

Anderson County Clerk Jason Denny says his office doesn’t answer to Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, and doesn’t want e-mail solicitations from her campaign for US Senate sent to his county government e-mail address.
Denny was one of a number of Republican county clerks who received the e-mail solicitation for money from Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election officer and a Democrat who recently tossed her hat in the ring to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell next year.
 “As a member of the county’s board of elections, I was shocked,” Denny said, noting that the e-mail came directly to his official county clerk e-mail address.
The Anderson News filed an open records request with Denny’s office, which provided Grimes’ solicitation along with his response.
“This is a County Government e-mail account and I request no more correspondence from you to this address,” Denny wrote.
Grimes’ e-mail was personalized for Denny.
“Dear Jason, I want you to be the first to know that today I filed paperwork to officially enter the race to represent Kentucky in the United States Senate,” the e-mail said.
“Will you help me make a statement about the grassroots support behind this campaign by making an immediate contribution? Just $5 can make a big difference.”
The letter is signed, “Sincerely, Alison.”
Denny, whose office is responsible for setting up countywide elections and ensuring ballots are accurately counted, said his office receives training from the Secretary of State’s office, along with other state offices.
However, when it comes to managing his office, that’s up to him.
“They train us, but just like any other elected official, we’re on our own,” Denny said.
Julie Barr, the Oldham County clerk and president of the Kentucky County Clerks Association, said she has heard from a number of Republican and Democrat county clerks who are concerned about the e-mail, but doesn’t have an exact number of those who received it.
“It seems like a fair number,” she said, adding that she doesn’t intend to find out. “At this point I won’t spend any more time on this as president. Other people can handle it at this point.
“I deleted it and don’t want to be associated with it.”
Websites created to support Grimes’ candidacy don’t include contact information for her campaign. An article in the Louisville Courier Journal last week included statements from Jonathan Hurst, described by the paper as Grimes’ spokesman.
In the article, Hurst denied the campaign targeted clerks and said the campaign is taking steps to ensure that e-mails don’t go to people with addresses that end with “ky.gov,” as the clerks’ do.
Hurst claimed the e-mails went to people on the database who supported Grimes in the past and another database of people who signed up to receive e-mail updates on her campaign website over the past week or so.
Denny said he has done neither.
“I don’t make contributions to any campaigns,” he said.
“And I stay out of campaigns since my job is closely linked to the elections.”
Barr, also a Republican, said she didn’t sign up, either.
“I can assure you with every fiber in my body that’s not the case. I would never put my support behind [her], and that’s not a Republican thing.
“We’re not political animals. I couldn’t care less what someone’s politics are.”