On Tuesday, attorney and Congressional hopeful Erika Harold announced her run for office in her hometown Urbana, Ill. Many remember Harold as Miss America 2003, and for being among few women of African ancestry to hold the title.
Harold, a Harvard Law graduate, plans to challenge Rep. Rodney Davis in next year’s GOP primary for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. In a campaign promotion video Harold stated, “I’ve learned that our lives are defined not by the titles we earn but rather by the service we render.”
Vowing to fight for “fiscal responsibility” and “our constitutional liberties,” supporters see Harold as a necessary face and voice for Republicans, many who suffered blows in public perception for everything from meddlesome gender politics to alienating language about America’s diversifying landscape.
By supporting an intelligent multiracial woman, who is noted for her steadfast conservative views, some strategists believe that Harold can increase inclusivity in the office and within the GOP.
Media reports commend Harold’s decision not to attack her opponent. She reminds constituents of her background in public service, religious advocacy and work in a prison ministry. Harold also used her Miss America crown to condemn bullying and support abstinence.
During the Miss America pageant, Illinois native appeared an unlikely winner. While her singing talent was effective, she did not score highly for eveningwear or the swimsuit competition. Instead, Harold won over judges during the interview process and with awareness of global events.
Incumbent Davis released a statement in response to Harold’s announcement. According to Politico, Davis said, “It’s unfortunate that in today’s political environment campaigns never end, but my focus has been and will continue to be on working hard in Washington and in Illinois for the families of the 13th District.”
Politico reported that Davis “is in a risky position for reelection” and that he had the narrowest victory margin of any Republican voted to Congress during last election cycle.