Erika Harold, Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional district, is being described as “a glimmer of hope for the Illinois GOP” and “a formidable candidate”. Those very reasons just may be why, months before the 2014 GOP primary, Harold is already being attacked.
Harold has a compelling background. She is multi-racial woman in her early thirties and a Harvard educated lawyer. Harold is also a former Miss America. She won the coveted crown in 2003 and used the scholarship money she won to pay for law school. Harold is challenging an incumbent Congressman, Rodney Davis, who just took office earlier this year. In 2012, shortly after the GOP primary, Congressman Tim Johnson retired. The Republican party in the 13th district was tasked with finding someone to take Johnson’s place on the November ballot. Candidates were asked to put forth their names if they were interested in being considered. From those names, four preliminary candidates were chosen. Both Rodney Davis and Erika Harold were among these candidates. A series of forums were held where these potential candidates shared their views. GOP chairs from the counties represented in this district were then charged with the task of choosing the candidate to represent the party in November’s election. Davis, a longtime Congressional aide and the interim executive director of the Illinois GOP, ultimately became the choice of the county chairs. The voters of 13th district were never given a choice. That, in part, is why Harold is running. Harold told the Washington Examiner in an interview earlier this month, ” I think it’s important for the party that the primary voters within the district have the final say on who represents them going forward.”
In that same interview, Harold also spoke about oft-spoken political “war on women”:
“If I thought that the Republican Party wasn’t a welcoming place for women, I wouldn’t run, because making sure that women have the ability to pursue their aspirations both professionally and within their families is something that’s very important to me,” Harold replied when The Washington Examiner raised the topic during a phone interview conducted in two parts on Thursday and Friday.
Harold added that she wants “to show that principles of economic freedom and limited government are not part of the ‘war on women’ but can actually empower women.”
To that end, she suggested that “it’s important for our party that we do promote strong women in the Republican Party, because that’s a great way of showing that, not only is there no war, but that we support women that want to stand for conservative principles.”
Harold articulates a clear message about the empowerment that the free market can bring women and her belief that the Republican party is welcoming to women. Unfortunately, Harold has been targeted by people within her own party. On Wednesday, the Montgomery county GOP chair, Jim Allen, a supporter of Davis, launched a sexist and racially charged attack on Harold through an email, saying:
Rodney Davis will win, and the love child of the DNC will be back in Chicago by May working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires. …The little queen touts her abstinence. Now, Miss Queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the Democrat Party. These pimps want something they can’t get.
Allen’s attack is not only vile and absurd; it is demonstrably false. Harold got to where she is on her own merits, not as a result of a law firm’s need to fulfill quotas. As someone who was a delegate to the 2004 RNC convention and who strongly espouses conservative principles, she is hardly a “love child” of the DNC. Harold responded by noting that such comments had “no place in the public discourse” and that she wanted to remain focused on a positive campaign. Sadly, sexually charged attacks are common place when conservative (and minority) women take on the establishments of their own party. Sarah Palin has been referred to as the ” supreme commander of MILF-istan” by pundit Tucker Carlson and referred to as a Spice Girl during her mayoral campaign in the mid 1990s. Indian American South Carolina governor was called a “raghead” and was hit with allegations of an affair by men within her own party during her 2010 gubernatorial run.
The Davis campaign and RNC chair Reince Prebius rightfully called for Allen’s resignation, and on Thursday, Allen resigned from his chair. To paraphrase a World War II term, Erika Harold is taking flak; she must be over the target. In World War II, flight crews knew that if they were taking flak from the enemy, they must be over their target (i.e.doing their job effectively). Those who choose to take on the establishment of their own party are often attacked. Women like Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley especially can attest to that, and that puts Harold in pretty good company.