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Former Miss America eyes Johnson’s seat

Monday, Apr 23, 2012

* I’m told that former Miss America Erica Harold is interested in replacing Republican Congressman Tim Johnson on the ballot. From her Wikipedia page

Erika N. Harold (born 1980) was Miss America 2003, having qualified for the pageant by being selected Miss Illinois 2002. Her official platform was “Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: Protect Yourself, Respect Yourself.” This platform choice was said to have grown out of personal experience; she recounts having been the subject of racial and sexual harassment while growing up. However, in the first week of her reign, she also adopted a dual platform for Sexual Abstinence, causing some pageant observers to accuse her of harboring a hidden agenda. She held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington during which she claimed the Miss America organization was bullying her.

Harold’s ethnic background is extremely varied. On her father’s side, she has Greek, German and Welsh ancestry, and on her mother’s side, Native-American, African-American and Russian descent.

Harold was born in Urbana, Illinois. She attended University High School and Urbana High School in Urbana, and later graduated from the University of Illinois as a Phi Beta Kappa honoree. In 2007, she graduated Harvard University’s Law School and as of June 2008 was employed as an associate attorney at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, Illinois, but is no longer at the firm.

Harold is politically conservative, and was the Youth Director for the Republican primary campaign of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Patrick O’Malley. She later served as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


35 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    ===…Youth Director for the Republican primary campaign of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Patrick O’Malley. …===

    It’s “Six Degrees of the ‘Fab 5′ …”

    Dunno if the O’Malley ‘credential’ has any weight anymore …kinda like ANY reference to “leaders, the Fab 5 of the Senate”.

    Rauchie - OUT, of the Senate
    Fitzgerald - OUT .. of the Entire STATE!
    O’Malley - OUT, of the Senate
    Lauzen - OUT, of the Senate

    And then there is Syverson …

    Maybe the “Flame-Out 5″?

    Good luck to her … but let’s not put all our eggs in the “O’Malley” basket. Just a tip.


  2. - Decaturguy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 9:54 am:

    Reminds me of Alan Keyes fiasco.


  3. - phocion - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 9:57 am:

    Would be good for Republican diversity outreach. Not at all like Alan Keyes. Ms. Harold is bright, articulate, positive.


  4. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:02 am:

    Is she the only woman who has expressed interest? I think so.

    We really should have special primaries when there is a vacancy in nomination like this.


  5. - John Bambenek - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:07 am:

    I would agree on the need for a special primary. The Republican Party is more than just the county chairmen, it’s all republican voters and they deserve their say too.


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:12 am:

    Be quite a change of pace from Johnson, lol.

    Considering the Miss America pageant sells sex, it’s a little weird for the winner to promote abstinence, but that’s alright.

    Given all the media and peer presuure on kids to have sex, I think it’s cool that a role model can encourage abstinence — for as long as you can hold out.

    But given our innate biological hard-wiring to propagate the species, we know that abstinence can’t last forever (it just seemed that way when I was in high school).

    It’s true that abstinence is the surest way to prevent pregnancy and STD. But let’s make sure you teach about condoms and other birth control methods, too, because the moment will surely come when abstinence is just no longer a reasonable option for any human being.


  7. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:29 am:

    I remember when Harold came to our high school to talk with students during her reign. She’s quite an articulate and knowledgeable speaker, very charismatic. Why not?


  8. - 13th Voter - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    She’s great. Probably a little removed from the district right now to have a chance.

    I think it would be great to see her against Durbin!


  9. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:36 am:

    Great-another “bury her head in the sand” Republican. Wordslinger, I agree with you about being taught the sex stuff, but too many of the abstinence people believe that teaching safe sex and contraception actually encourages sex.


  10. - ChicagoR - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:38 am:

    “I think it would be great to see her against Durbin!”

    Me too. I’ve always wanted to see Durbin break 80%, and that could do it.


  11. - East Sider - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:51 am:

    I think Jim Watson would be the best choice out of the field I’ve seen so far. Solid conservative, a Marine reservist, Iraq War vet, and he’s actually been elected to office before.


  12. - Freeman - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:52 am:

    Harold is an impressive individual.

    Unfortunately, problem #1 is she has done nothing to support the GOP or engage the party since returning to Illinois. Problem #2 is the old carpetbagger complaint moving from Chicago to Southern Illinois.

    If she spends some time engaging and participating, however, she could easily become a force in just a few years.


  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    —…but too many of the abstinence people believe that teaching safe sex and contraception actually encourages sex.–

    They didn’t have my high school health teacher, who promoted abstinence just by showing up for class.


  14. - too obvious - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    She would not only be a good choice on her merits, she would provide a way for the IL GOP to save face and escape what has already become an embarrassing trainwreck reeking of pudgy white men rigging the show behind closed doors. It’s been smelling that way because that’s exactly what’s been happening. Erika Harold would represent a clean break and slating her would be hard for any faction to criticize.


  15. - downstate commissioner - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:03 am:

    Word- LOL- GREAT!!!


  16. - Team Sleep - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:05 am:

    I am going to pull a Terrell Owens and get my popcorn ready for this fight. If Jim Watson, Sam McCann and Erika Harold enters the race, you have a pretty impressive list of contenders.

    Jim Watson: long-time state rep; respected elected official; Marine; articulate & well-educated

    Sam McCann: elected official who defeated a dynasty (basically by himself); small business owner

    Dan Brady: longtime state rep and very well-respected member of the ILGA; very bright and political savvy

    Erika Harold: former Miss America; attorney; grew up in Urbana and U of I graduate

    Jerry Clarke: former Congressional chief-of-staff; Air Force pilot; three tours of duty in Iraq


  17. - IrishPirate - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    I’m not sure she could get much support from the GOP congressional delegation. I won’t mention any names, but I can think of one young GOP congressman who might be quite annoyed at her presence. “Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the prettiest congressman of all”.

    On a more serious note I wonder if any GOP’ers would ask for HER Harvard transcripts? I guess that only applies to certain Democratic Harvard graduates.

    Since she grew up in Urbana I don’t really see the Carpetbagger label sticking to her. Then again I try to avoid going more than five miles south of I-80 unless I’m either headed to a lecture at the Lincoln Library or I’m being held at gunpoint so what the hell do I know?


  18. - Colossus - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    For some reason, most of the Health teachers I’ve met have that same “home field advantage” for abstinence. Then again, would you really want the opposite in place when getting the ol’ banana demonstration?

    To the point at hand: This is silly season stuff. Flurry of activity, then fade out. See: Ditka, Caroline Kennedy, etc…


  19. - Colossus - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    IrishPirate: LOL. As in, weird looks from officemates LOL. You’re dead on about Schock, though I’m sure publicly he would be supportive. He’s going to have trouble making the shift from being the youngest to being one of many as more people our age (he and I are the same age) enter elected office.

    To quote the philosopher Ben Folds: “Whiz Man will never fit you like the Whiz Kid did.”


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    “HERE SHE IS …” TJ’S REPLACEMENT

    JOHNSON’S REPLACEMENT - BEAUTY CONTEST?

    THIS CONTEST TO REPLACE JOHNSON WILL BE A BEAUTY

    FORMER MISS AMERICA TO BE MISS 13TH REPUB NOMINEE?


  21. - Stella - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    NOT Sam McCann OR Jim Watson, PLEASE!! Harold sounds like a great possibility!


  22. - Savoy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    1) There’s no carpetbagging involved, as the woman grew up in Chambana. 2) Anyone who doesn’t know the difference between Central Illinois and Southern Illinois should avoid commenting on this thread.


  23. - Freeman - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 12:03 pm:

    1.) Moving back to a district you’ve had no contact with for 9 years while doing nothing to support the GOP smacks at minimum of opportunism. 2.) Anyone who regards Godfrey or Edwardsville as Central Illinois should check a map.


  24. - Savoy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    1) Someone who contends that Harold — who visits Chambana on a regular basis — has had no contact with the district smacks of ignorance 2) Someone who labels the 13th CD as Southern Illinois because part of it dips below I70 smacks of stupidity.

    Seriously, you’re what is wrong with the ILGOP. No matter how many times they are proven wrong, they keep digging the same old hole deeper and deeper. I expect you will not let me down.


  25. - Freeman - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 1:05 pm:

    Wow. Someone is a little touchy today… struck a nerve?

    Nothing like calling names and a myopic viewpoint to unite a party.

    And Eri.. I mean Savoy, good luck to you.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    I can “leave” the swimsuit part of the county Chairman’s discussion, but how great would it be to have the “talent” displayed by all these possible nominees … or would it be “Stupid Human Tricks” ala David Letterman?


  27. - siriusly - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    I’m with Oswego Willy. Her resume was looking okay until the words Pat O’Malley appeared.

    I actually think she’d be a pretty good Congresswoman. But I am

    pulling for Sam McCann because I want to see him succeed on a

    bigger stage just like he’s done here.


  28. - D.P. Gumby - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 3:12 pm:

    Rich…are your headlines double entendres or are you aiming to be quoted on Leno? I don’t think Johnson’s seat worthy of a look by Miss America!


  29. - Sally whit - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    Please: No Sam McCann, Illinois needs him here. Find someone electable to just be one of the 400 and some doing nothing but spending money.


  30. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 3:31 pm:

    ===are your headlines double entendres===

    Why, no, they’re not. Whatever gave you that idea?


  31. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 3:56 pm:

    What is it with Republican women and Esther? Every time I hear quotes like this I immediately think of the ridiculousness of Katharine Harris in HBO’s “Recount.”

    ….

    Some Christians are opposed to the entire concept of a beauty pageant, yet Harold draws a parallel to Esther in the Old Testament. While humans picked Esther as queen because of her physical attributes resulting from six months of beauty treatments, God designated her to stand up for virtue in a hostile society. “I am under no illusion that I won because of beauty or talent,” Harold says. “God has creative ways of using people to make a difference. We should never limit him to the traditional ways we conceive of ministry.”

    http://www.christianity.com/christian%20living/features/11622493/page5/

    —-

    Any way, I was wondering if someone can tell me what Erika Harold did as youth director for Pat O’Malley. I remember when she won Miss America it being a big deal on the U of I campus but I just don’t remember her speaking out about politics at all. Maybe she did and it just wasn’t covered, or maybe she was doing more behind the scenes stuff for the campaign. But I have really vivid memories of the 2002 primary because that was the first one I voted in and it’s the only GOP primary I ever voted in, and I also don’t remember Pat O’Malley having any events on campus at all. Maybe they just outreached to the IVF and Newman Center kids and said forget about the rest of the heathen students at U of I?

    Now all that aside, good for her being willing to step into the political arena. More women in politics are needed whether it’s Republican women or Democratic women.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    I look forward to Rich’s headlines. This one gave me a chuckle, glad you pointed out the double entendre. I am aways afraid if I point it out, I can get “deleted”.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 4:06 pm:

    - hisgirlfriday -

    She was a big deal, insofar that the campaign (Dan Proft & Co.) would make a point that O’Malley represents conservatives and can draw young conservatives … like Miss America AND they both don’t compromise on family, conservative values.

    She was like the cement to stack bricks to make a wall … not as important as the bicks, but something to connect all the bricks together, somehow. (Youths-Conservatives-Family Values … and Miss America tying it all in.)

    Not blaming her, but that campaign never seem to take off, conservative or not.


  34. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 5:06 pm:

    –She was a big deal, insofar that the campaign (Dan Proft & Co.) would make a point that O’Malley represents conservatives and can draw young conservatives –

    That crew could also fit in the phone book at the Cook GOP/Sangamon Dem fundraiser phonebooth.

    She could be an attractive candidate. But it’s a game of addition. Why get involved with perennial losers who can’t break double digits — in GOP primaries?

    With Johnson’s withdrawal, the votes are with the chairmen.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 12 @ 5:24 pm:

    ===That crew could also fit in the phone book at the Cook GOP/Sangamon Dem fundraiser phonebooth.

    She could be an attractive candidate. But it’s a game of addition. Why get involved with perennial losers who can’t break double digits — in GOP primaries?===

    A-Men!

    O’Malley’s Crew with Proft were indeed “small”, and the vote total at the end turned out to be … small.

    Nitche campaigns, as a model, always trouble me because its usually 6 people, out of a basement or garage, that thinks everyone is out to get them, when in reality, no one cares about them, then they make a stink that their 4% gets them a seat at the table, even thou that 4% wants nothing to do with forming a majority, unless the majority is 100% pure to what the 4% believe …

    Whew!

    Long story short … the “IllinoisLeader.com” and O’Malley were the campaign, and I think were the only people who voted for O’Malley.

    “Look, we lost, but we kept our beliefs …”

    80% friend … 20% traitor?

    I miss the ‘Fab 5′ …


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