License to Illeism

Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is pretty great, says Alison Lundergan Grimes
Alison Lundergan Grimes / AP

Alison Lundergan Grimes / AP


With Ashley Judd’s announcement that she will not be running for the U.S. Senate, attention has turned to Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes may be the Kentucky Democratic Party’s last candidate willing to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. News reports say Lundergan has been meeting with state and national Democratic leadership to discuss a potential Senate run.

Lundergan’s family is well connected in the state and is also friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Lundergan family business catered Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.

Lundergan is also a practitioner of illeism, the act of referring to one’s self in the third person.

“Just recently we announced the Teamsters Local 651 endorsed me,” Grimes said in a TV interview. “The first statewide endorsement that I’m aware of in the state secretary of state race came directly to Alison Lundergan Grimes for secretary of state from UFCW.”

Grimes also referred to herself in the third-person within the first 15 seconds of her victory speech after being elected Kentucky secretary of state.

“Kentuckians, are y’all here tonight?” Grimes asked. “Well, I have some good news for you my friends. I just heard the Associated Press has called the Democratic nomination for secretary of state, and guess who it goes to? Alison Lundergan Grimes!”

“Dr. and Mrs. Grimes … didn’t know how popular I would make their name when I married into it,” she said later in the speech.

Other notable practitioners of illeism include Julius Caesar, Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko, Elmo, and Marvel Comics’ Dr. Doom.

Grimes speaks quite highly of Alison Lundergan Grimes, according to the Leo Weekly, an alternative-weekly Louisville newspaper.

“Minutes after being sworn into office as Kentucky’s new secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes compared herself to the most accomplished political figure in Kentucky’s history, Alben Barkley,” the paper reported. “[T]hat kind of ego-trip should probably wait until you’ve held public office for at least a few days.”

Several Kentucky Democrats, including Star Trek: The Next Generation actress Ashley Judd, have begged off from facing McConnell’s formidable campaign machine, which one former McConnell staffer describes as a “woodchipper.”

“If you’re sitting there thinking about running against Mitch McConnell: Remember ‘Fargo,’” former McConnell chief of staff Billy Piper told Roll Call. “And remember the end, when that guy is putting that chopped-up person’s leg in the big woodchipper machine? Mitch McConnell is the woodchipper.”

The McConnell Senate Committee ’14 already has a website mocking Kentucky Democrats.

The Washington Free Beacon recently obtained a video mash-up of Alison Lundergan Grimes referring to herself in the third person, several screaming people, and a goat.

CJ Ciaramella   Email CJ | Full Bio | RSS
CJ Ciaramella is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, he was a reporter for the Daily Caller. He was also a Collegiate Network year-long fellow at the San Diego Union-Tribune and has written articles for the Weekly Standard and Oregon Quarterly. Ciaramella attended the University of Oregon, where he edited the award-winning student magazine, the Oregon Commentator. He lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @cjciaramella. His email address is

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