The 2003 winner of the Miss America Pageant is throwing her tiara, er, hat, into the ring for the Illinois 13th Congressional District GOP primary. Erika Harold, a 33-year-old Harvard graduate, is a Chicago-based civil litigation attorney who claims her pageant past would help her succeed in Congress.
“Hopefully, it’s a thing that gets someone’s attention, but then they will see that I graduated from Harvard Law School…and in a wide variety of ways am qualified to be in Congress,” Harold told ABC News.
During her reign as Miss America, Harold was the subject of controversy when she focused on sexual abstinence as part of her advocacy platform. Though she was pressured by pageant officials to drop the issue, she refused to comply.
Harold hopes to focus on restoring economic growth if elected. “I’ll be focusing on the economy,” she said, “because I think one of the founding principles of the Republican Party is that when you can empower people to make choices for themselves, that is the best scenario.”
The seat is held by incumbent Rodney Davis, whose position is precarious due to tension over sequestration. Davis won his seat last year by a very close margin: 1,002 votes. He has released a statement that he plans to keep his focus on his work in Congress.
“I view this primary process as being very healthful to the party because we will be able throughout the campaign to debate the issues that are important to the party,” Harold told Politico.