FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Secretary of State Trey Grayson won a second term on Tuesday, defeating former small-town mayor Bruce Hendrickson, a Democrat.
With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Grayson had 527,524 votes or 57 percent, to Hendrickson's 402,010 votes or 43 percent.
Grayson, considered a rising star in the Republican party, briefly considered a run against Gov. Ernie Fletcher in last spring's GOP primary before setting his sights on a second term.
He faced Hendrickson, a high school teacher and former mayor of Pineville in southeast Kentucky, who won the Democratic primary over better funded candidates.
Four years ago, Grayson rode a Republican wave of good fortune into the secretary of state's office. He did not have that going for him this time around. Political scientists said the political atmosphere favors Democrats because of a political scandal involving Fletcher.
Fletcher, who faced Democrat Steve Beshear on Tuesday, was indicted on charges that he violated state hiring laws by awarding
protected state jobs to politically connected Republicans at the expense of Democrats. The charges were eventually dropped in a negotiated settlement.
Grayson said he thought his campaign had accomplished its goals and was peaking on Election Day.
"Actually, the polls even give me confidence because our polls from a couple months ago were actually worse than what I'm seeing now," Grayson said.
Meanwhile, Hendrickson was also optimistic before the election, spokeswoman Allison Haley said.
"We are cautiously optimistic," Haley said. "We feel that the momentum is with Democrats and people want the positive change that we are able to bring."
By mid-October, Grayson had raised more than $600,000 for the race compared with Hendrickson's $8,000.
Grayson touted his work to boost civics education in Kentucky's public schools and his efforts to make it easier for companies to file government documents as two of his accomplishments as secretary of state.
He has also pushed a national plan for rotating regional presidential primary elections intended to make more states involved in selecting presidential nominees.
Hendrickson, who teaches sciences and formerly coached football, ran unsuccessfully for state senator in southeastern Kentucky in 2000, losing to incumbent Daniel Mongiardo, who is running for lieutenant governor on a slate topped by Lexington attorney Steve Beshear.
Among his goals for secretary of state, Hendrickson said he wants to improve voting security and supports giving voters a receipt after casting their ballots. Hendrickson also wants to focus more on civics education in public schools.
During Hendrickson's time as mayor, Pineville residents approved a 2005 referendum that allowed alcohol to be sold by the drink in city restaurants that seated 100 or more patrons.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)