Erika Harold For Congress? Former Miss America May Run In Illinois

Erika Harold, Miss America 2003
Miss Illinois Erika Harold (L) is crowned Miss America 2003 by Miss America 2002 Katie Harman at the pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. REUTERS

The race to succeed U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) may get a little bit hotter after former Miss America Erika Harold announced she is considering a candidacy.

Harold has the brains to go along with her beauty, having graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007. She is a Chicago attorney.

The former Miss America 2003 says she is a Republican due to her stance on economic issues. She's also pro-life and supports gun rights.

I'm a Republican because I believe that the Republican principles of fiscal conservatism and free-market economics creates the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people, Erika Harold told the Springfield State Journal-Register.

Should Harold enter the race, she has enough credentials to be taken seriously.

Erika Harold served as youth director of former Illinois gubernatorial candidate Patrick O'Malley's campaign and attended the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York as an Illinois delegate.

Harold said she has spoken with Champaign County officials about the open seat. Johnson is not running for re-election in in his Illinois district, which is located in the eastern part of the state along the Illinois-Indiana border .

I have spoken with some county chairmen, said Harold, according to the News-Gazette. This is not a decision that I take lightly. I would consider it an incredible honor and privilege to represent the area in which I grew up. I will be assessing in my own heart whether I felt that I was the best person to represent the 13th District. If I did I would likely put my name forth.

Champaign County's 14 chairmen will decide who replaces Johnson on the ballot. The congressman won the Republican primary back in March but reversed course on his re-election bid.

Illinois State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) slammed Johnson's move, saying it was an orchestrated attempt to put the congressman's chief of staff, Jerry Clarke, in the seat.

You know what's really insulting about this? It didn't just happen, McCarter told the News-Gazette. There was talk of this happening a year ago, and it's a real insult to the people. Like I said, their vote was taken away from them.

Harold has not yet made a decision whether to enter the race.

I've spoken with some chairmen and expressed some interest in seeing what the process is like and exploring it. I'm sort of in the information-gathering process myself and I'm definitely someone who likes to think I'm fully informed before making a decision. This certainly will be one of the biggest decisions I've made in my life, she said. I have heard from people in the district who believed that I might be a good representative and they encouraged me to think about it. In terms of a process it's not like a primary where you declare, hold a campaign press conference, print up campaign literature and yard signs. And so I don't know how the process will play out.

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