Harold moving back to C-U, will announce political plans soon

Harold moving back to C-U, will announce political plans soon

CHAMPAIGN — Less than a year after Republican county chairmen in the 13th District turned down her candidacy for Congress, Urbana native Erika Harold is moving back to Champaign-Urbana and has indicated an interest in running for public office.

But she declined to say Monday if she is looking at a local, state or federal position.

"At this point I plan to make an announcement regarding future political plans within a couple of weeks," said the former Miss America, who grew up in Urbana, and graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and a law degree from Harvard.

Almost a year ago — on May 19, 2012 — the 14 Republican county chairmen in the 13th Congressional District chose Rodney Davis to be their candidate, replacing the retiring U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, on the ballot. Davis was chosen over Harold, then at the Chicago law firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella; former Johnson aide Jerry Clarke; and Kathy Wassink of Shipman.

Harold, 33, started work on May 6 at the Republican-connected Champaign law firm of Meyer Capel.

She currently is registered to vote in Cook County. She had been registered in Champaign County up to 2009, when she moved to Chicago. She said she is living with her parents in Urbana until she finds a permanent home.

On Monday, Harold denied that she had anything to do with a number of updated websites, including erikaforcongress.com and erikaharoldforcongress.org. She said the sites are left over from last year's unsuccessful attempt to win the nomination.

And Andrew Flach, a spokesman for Davis, said he hasn't heard any talk of Harold challenging the incumbent congressman in the GOP primary next March. Davis already has almost $335,000 in his campaign fund and has been declared a recipient of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot program, aimed at protecting 11 especially vulnerable congressmen.

Two Democrats already have announced that they are interested in the 13th District race: University of Illinois physics Professor George Golin and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis of rural Troy.

The 13th District, which arcs from Champaign-Urbana southwest to Edwardsville and Collinsville, is considered one of the most competitive congressional districts in the United States. Last November, Davis defeated Democrat David Gill of Bloomington by 1,002 votes.

But other positions on the 2014 ballot — and potential targets for a Harold candidacy — include all statewide positions, from governor to state treasurer, state representative in the 103rd District (now held by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana); and the Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The state Senate seat held by Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs is not up for election until 2016.

Harold, who was Miss America 2003, had been considered politically conservative but she showed a moderate tone in last year's interview process among the Republican hopefuls for Johnson's seat.

"What is really at stake in this election is about two competing conceptions of government. The Democratic Party feels it's the government's role to take care of people from cradle to grave. They believe in the expansion of government," Harold said at one candidate forum. "And I'm not denigrating the motives. The motives are good. They want to care for people. But we as Republicans have a completely different conception of government.

"We know that our conception of limited government is really what empowers people. It creates the greatest amount of wealth for the greatest number of people. That is really what's at stake."

Harold, a graduate of Urbana High School, received a bachelor's degree in political science from the UI, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 2007, she received her law degree from Harvard.

At Meyer Capel, she will be an associate attorney focused on general litigation and a more specialized health care practice.

"In the health care practice, it could be some litigation, but it also could be some risk management and providing guidance about compliance with different regulations relating to health care," she said.

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billbtri5 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 7:05 am

run in the primary against that liberal Davis

sweet caroline wrote on May 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

Erika is a winner and will succeed in whatever course she chooses.  Go, Erika!

Watching Urbana wrote on May 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Good grief!!! Why wasn't she here over a year ago establishing residency to run for MAYOR!!!!!

2016--shadows of Obama? Get in now and run for president with little experience? 

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm
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Maybe because she didn't want to lose to Prussing by 20 percent or more?

kyedpa5 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

If Davis wins in 2014 and Frerichs gets himself elected state treasurer, I think you're looking at the next state senator from the 52nd district.  The GOP has been waiting a long time for Frerichs to move on because not many Democrats can win this district and on top of that Harold is a homerun.  She'll be in Congress before 2020. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

She will not run against Davis in the primary.  She will not run against Durbin either.  It is too early for higher state, and federal offices.  She will run against Naomi. 

She will do her time supporting the party, and gaining more party leaders support.  Some day in the future, she will be the new GOP Judy Barr Topinka.  She will rise fast though if the moderates in the GOP come to their senses.  The district has cities, small towns, and farms.  She might not be radical enough for some Tea Party GOP members.  She is going to need a lot of money from somewhere to spend on media exposure. 

So far, her resume seems impressive.  Who in the GOP leadership is going to tell her not to do it?  She will run against Naomi since Naomi is the weakest target.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm
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Naomi would beat Erika 55-45% if Erika was lucky.  It's a very strongly Democratic district.  I imagine she is waiting on Frerichs to give up his seat, and depending on how long that takes she may seek a county board seat or a countywide office in the meantime.  She should refrain from running against Jakobsson, Frerichs, or Davis unless she would like to lose her first official political campaign.

thelowedown wrote on May 15, 2013 at 1:05 am

"If Davis wins in 2014 and Frerichs gets himself elected state treasurer, I think you're looking at the next state senator from the 52nd district."


You will not be seeing Harold as the next state senator if Frerichs becomes state treasuer because he is currently in a four-year term and Democratic committemen in the 52nd district will select the next state senator.

read the DI wrote on May 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Nice beak.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm
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The logical seat for her to run for is either the state senate seat or a county office.

A run against Davis isn't happening, not unless she wants the national, state, and local GOP pissed off at her for the next decade or two.

A Republican is simply not going to win Jakobsson's seat unless there is a perfect storm of an outstanding GOP candidate, a horrible Democrat candidate, and a wave election in favor of the GOP.  Perhaps if Frerichs gives up the seat, Harold runs, AND a clown candidate like Don Gerard or Michael Richards were to somehow get the Dem nomination, the GOP would maybe have a shot at the seat.  Maybe.

The state senate seat is pretty much 50/50 and is eminently winnable for either party if it is open.  If she runs for that once Frerichs leaves, she'll probably be the frontrunner unless the Democrats find a very appealing candidate of their own.

She is obviously not going to beat Dick Durbin if she runs for Senate, but she would probably get the nomination if she chose to seek it, mostly because no strong Republican statewide candidate is likely to pick the Senate race over the Governor race.  She wouldn't have a prayer of winning the Governor nomination, and running for any statewide office without any political experience would not be prudent.


STM wrote on May 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I hope she brings more to the table than typical Republican "my way or no way" obstructionism. Even if she fails, she'll probably get "Tebowed" into a cushy media job with a local failing newspaper or a job with a conservative "think tank."

I really hope she's a conservative who's in touch with reality.

ddf1972 wrote on May 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Miss America title and degrees notwithstanding - am I missing something?  What sort of coalition building experience does she bring to bear on possible elective office?  We certainly don't need any more shrill partisan political grandstanding - on anyone's part!

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

If she is going to run for any state or nation-wide office from this part of the state, a whole lot of her success is going to hinge on just what type of Republican she is.  It appears from the comments in this story that she is a fiscal conservative, but is she also a social conservative?  ...if not, she may very well have a tough time winning any primary election.  However, if she could somehow get on a fall ballot, not being a social conservative could work in her favor, as she would draw more independent voters.  I don't remember reading about her position on social issues, so perhaps someone could educate me.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I agree.  Many public service employees both current, and retired were disappointed, and later angry that Naomi did not show up for the vote on Madigan's "pension reform".  Naomi's medical excuse was a joke.  Her reasoning that it would have passed whether she was there, or not, does not excuse her not doing the job that she was elected to do.  A moderate republican would appeal to many.  Emphasis on republican, or democrat should be meaningless in Illinois by now.  It is about the person, the candidate, and their position on issues.  I do not think that Naomi is that secure given her image with public employees, and her age.  She has been there for years; and she has contributed to the current financial mess that the state is in.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

It would probably be within Harolds best interest to get re-established in the community before making any political plans. She is at an age where she can start building the type of network that she needs to run for office, and laying the groundwork will help her out.

Commonsenseman wrote on May 16, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Erika Harold, you dont need to run for State anything or House anything, you need to run for U.S.  Senate, you bring the class and conservatism this State and Country needs to fix the disaster we are in now. I'm pretty sure you'll beat sneaky dick durbin, he's been there too long and is one of the worst obstructionists, good luck to you, you'll have my vote. We need a young attractive intelligent conservative voice to combat these old ignorant people.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 16, 2013 at 11:05 pm
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She's not going to run for Senate if she has any sense.

Barring health problems or some outrageous scandal, you can bet everything you own that Durbin will be re-elected by a huge margin in 2012.  National Republicans have a bunch of Senate seats they are trying to pick up in 2014, and they aren't going to waste a dime on an unwinnable race in Illinois.