Updated: Harold calls on GOP to 'end political obstructionism'

Updated: Harold calls on GOP to 'end political obstructionism'

URBANA — Republican congressional candidate Erika Harold asked party leaders Thursday to stop their "political obstructionism" and allow voters "to make their own choice" in her 13th Congressional District challenge of U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

Harold, an Urbana attorney, issued the statement near the end of a month that saw a former supporter call on her to drop out of the race and in which the state Republican Party denied her access to a voter database.

There was more bad news Thursday afternoon when Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk said he would urge voters to support Davis in the March primary.

"I think he's been an outstanding congressman," Kirk said during a visit to Champaign. "I don't see anything that Rodney has done that warrants him being let go as our congressman."

But the statement Harold issued Thursday was taken as another indication that she was in the race to stay. Campaign spokesman Phil Bloomer said Harold wanted "to clarify her position and her resolve" to stay in the race.

"Members of the Republican establishment continue their attempts to make this primary a coronation," Harold said in her statement. "From day one, party leaders have angled to ensure that Congressman Rodney Davis is the only person on the Republican primary ballot. This is despite the fact that he received the nomination last time through an appointment by county chairmen and not by an election of primary voters.

"Elections are not coronations. They are the Constitutionally protected right of voters to compare candidates' ideas and qualifications. Unfortunately, party leaders have sought to deprive voters of this right. Party leaders have barred me from speaking at Republican Day at the state fair, denied my campaign access to the voter data contained in the Data Center/Voter Vault, and attempted to discourage people who wanted to support or contribute to my candidacy. Party leaders have sought to ensure that Congressman Davis does not have to compete against anyone else for votes in the primary. But votes must be earned; no one is entitled to a nomination.

"I am calling upon the Republican leadership to end the political obstructionism and allow the voters of the 13th District to make their own choice regarding who would best represent their interests and defend the Constitution. The voters of the 13th District are more than capable of thinking for themselves. Voters routinely tell me that they are looking forward to hearing where each candidate stands on the key issues and comparing our leadership skills through the process of debates. I commit to giving them that opportunity and hope that Congressman Davis will do the same."

Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Habeeb Habeeb urged "both camps to ratchet down the rhetoric and engage in a civil primary. Play hard, play fair, but in the end, we are all Americans and we are all on the same side."

He said he would grant permission to either candidate to have access to Champaign County's portion of the GOP "voter vault" database.

"Up till today, I have not received any information about anyone requesting permission, and if Erika asks for access, I will approve it immediately," Habeeb said.

He added that candidates also can request voter data from the State Board of Elections, for a fee, or from individual county clerks.

Harold said last week, though, that the GOP "voter vault" data was more thorough.

State Republican officials refuse to grant Harold access to the information, in part because some of the data had been collected last year by the Davis campaign.

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Mr Dreamy wrote on October 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

Harold calls out the party establishment. Not smart. Not smart at all. It's one thing to run a campaign against the incumbent party choice, it's something else to publicly attack the party. She won't ever get party backing, not now and not ever. Put a fork in her, she's done, for good.

whoever is advising her is giving very bad advice.

Pintail6 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

I disagree with you Mr. Dreamy. I admire Ms. Harold for her persistance and I am upset that the Rep. party seems to want to eliminate any potential for competition within it's ranks. I have been a lifelong Republican, but I'm seriously considering abaondoning the party both locally and nationally as they seem to be too limited in focus and too concerned about self preservation rather than listening to the conservative-minded public. Why wouldn't the party be open to sincere and honest debates among their members to determine the individual best suited to represent them? From the git-go, Ms. Harold has been resisted - I think it's mostly out of fear of something new. While I agree with Rep. Davis on most issues, I am in no way opposed to a legitimate Republican contender for the office.


spangwurfelt wrote on October 26, 2013 at 9:10 am

Isn't it time to tell the good people whose campaign you're working for, Mr. Dreamy?

EdRyan wrote on October 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

Her campaign is inexperienced?  People associated with her campaign have been winning elections around here long before anyone ever heard of Rodney Davis.

yates wrote on October 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

For this "so called" republican to call on republicans to end political obstruction would be like a democrat candidate calling on democrats to end free Obama phones. Wonder who she really works for?

alabaster jones 71 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm
STM wrote on October 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

What's this "so called" business?  If someone says they're a Republican and is registered as such, isn't that good enough?  OHHH....I see, Yates is one of those party faithful who call free-thinking Republicans "RINOs" (Repubican In Name Only).  It must be reassuring to know that your party grows smaller every day they practice the politics of exclusion.

With the latest poll numbers, you'd think the Republican faithful would be welcoming anyone who is still willing to admit being a party member — or with a pulse for that matter.  Maybe not.

BTW, what the heck is an "Obama phone?"  — Certainly it's a "smart" phone. ;-)

Joe American wrote on October 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

No, it's not good enough.  Responses like yours is why it's not good enough.  LIberals love RINOs.  They know it's a flip of the coin how they'll vote, and too often it's with the left side of the aisle. They don't base their voting on an ideology or for who they were elected to represent, but on pandering to the sources of their funding.  It's no wonder you like them.  Stick to your own party's business.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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That's right!  You had better be a pure, unquestioning ideologue who votes with your party 100% of the time, or you're a phony!

"They don't base their voting on an ideology"

Thank God.  Ideology is the single most destructive force in the history of humanity.

"....but on pandering to the sources of their funding"

Yes, the conservative politicians you love would never do such a thing, right?

Joe American wrote on October 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Simple minds think simple thoughts. 

I'll let you sit on that one for awhile.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm
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True.  That's why we still have political parties.

STM wrote on October 25, 2013 at 8:10 am

Joe "American" <smirk> — That's why you have simple answers, huh?  You presume a lot when you tell me to "stick to my own party's business."  I don't have a party.  I'm not so ideologically brainwashed as to pick a side. One option I have as an "American" is that I can pick and choose candidates and parties at will (even if the offerings are slim).  As an "American" I can also comment freely (even if the News Gazoot feels obligated to censor those comments).

The Republican party is not by invitation only.  It is not (contrary to popular belief) a private club, and you Joe, are not in charge of the membership committee.  

I know plenty of lifelong R's who are dissatisfied with the direction of the party.  These are thoughtful, intelligent, and for the most part, free-thinking individuals.  You could take a lesson from Republicans who would like to restore sanity to the party.

However, if you lack the ability to question the one-sided information you parrot, I doubt you can add anything substantive to the conversation.

I may not agree with Ms. Harold on every issue, but as an "American" she has the right to run for office within the party of her choice.  The more voices the better.

EdRyan wrote on October 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Of the two candidates, Erika H. seems to be the more conservative.

spangwurfelt wrote on October 26, 2013 at 9:10 am

That's the point that people are missing here. The ruinously stupid Tea Party shutdown fiasco was a cataclysm for the GOP - here are the numbers:


And so they're justifiably afraid of any candidate that will move them either farther to the wocka-wocka outskirts. In this case, that means Harold.

Local Yocal wrote on October 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm
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When you consider the origin of this hub-hub: one person giving an opinion on a radio talk show in Decatur, and how Tom Kacich then sought a follow-up-interview to make a headline out of it, (a great opportunity to remind voters how far behind Harold is in the campaign money-grab and opinion polls); maybe this story should be re-titled: "Harold defies News-Gazette's call for her to quit."

Funny, did Kacich ever report on Harold getting banned to speak at the State Fair? A search of anything from the summer of 2013 shows The News-Gazette didn't bother with that drama.

To The News-Gazette's credit, they do print Erika's reactions to these media attacks by party insiders but the point that Harold's statement makes clear, is: these little squabbles have nothing to do with future policy making- something the voters would like discussed.

We see now why the naive and idealistic Harold was never invited to the Good 'Ol Boy Network, with its two branches The Party and The Established Media alike: she is revealing how our candidates are chosen for us; and when a candidate is unwanted by the Old Guard, they deploy subtle techniques to deny them access to be heard, deny them the ability to target their constituents, and smear them in the media. You go, girl.

But don't expect an endorsement or a fair report about your views from The News-Gazette. You just don't have that much money to spend for newspaper and radio ads.

EdRyan wrote on October 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

This paper like the rest of the news media exists for the primary purpose of selling advertising.  Once you know that the rest is clear.

Local Yocal wrote on October 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm
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And it's clear why news departments are compromised in what they publish. Reporters like Kacich are willing to appease those that buy lots of ads and steer clear of unpleasant facts that expose their big advertisers to bad publicity. Or,...if a big advertiser needs a news spin on something, The N-G will run it. Hence this mountain out of a mole hill here. Really? A news story based on one opinion on one call-in show nobody around here heard.

Meanwhile the big stuff goes unreported. Notice how The News-Gazette never touches this new hospital scam of only having to pony up a one-page, unitemized declaration of their charity-care in exchange for property tax exemption? But let a single welfare recipient get an extra food stamp and The N-G editorial staff will call for the end to welfare in the name of tax relief.


football jingoists wrote on October 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

"...only having to pony up a one-page, unitemized declaration of their charity-care in exchange for property tax exemption..."

Very interesting. Got any more on this? My google-fu is failing me.

Local Yocal wrote on October 31, 2013 at 11:10 am
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Below is an excerpt from an article from April 14, 2013, entitled, $6 million setback, printed once by The News-Gazette with no follow-up editorials challenging it (but let a few homeless people set up a tent city and the N-G would be all over it):

"In order to annually renew the tax exemption, Carle will need only to file a short application form, according to Jenkins. [Stan Jenkins, Champaign County's supervisor of assessments.]

"Each year from now on there is a very simple status form they fill out that basically says the ownership and the use is still the same this year as it was in the year that they were granted the exemption," Jenkins said. "It's a very simple, one-page form and it's not like an entire application process that has to go through the Department of Revenue."

In its application to the Revenue Department, the Carle Foundation claimed that it provided $15.7 million worth of charity care in 2012, had $10.2 million in unreimbursed costs for health services provided to low-income and underserved individuals, and provided $6.4 million in subsidies for state and local governments' health care services."

From now on, I'm going to claim a large amount of deductible donations and tell the IRS I'm the same nice guy as I was 8 years ago when I itemized my deductions.

Mr Dreamy wrote on October 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm

To be clear, I support the primary process, and she should have a chance to convince voters she is the best candidate. But she is crashing the party and those in charge of the party don't like it. They have the money, they have the connections to speaking engagements, party inside information, etc.

It's not just Republicans, Democrats do it too. If you rock the boat, you won't get help. You better win (thereby becoming the establishment) or you are done, your political career is over.

Whether she may be the best candidate isn't the point. She is trying to horn her way in, and those already in don't want her. She will not be able to rehabilitate herself within the party because she is an outlier who has now taken to (mildly) insulting the party and the process. "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" was cute, but fiction. It just doesn't happen that way.

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

...and we want the World to adopt our American Democracy where an inner circle decides the candidate, and funds the candidate with all of the money needed to win?   Well, it has always been this way though.

Local Yocal wrote on October 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm
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"Whether she may be the best candidate isn't the point."

The question is, (and voter apathy and disinterest in legislation might support the above,) is the best candidate the point for the voters?

No doubt this sabatoge to a genuinely open process is the way Democrats operate too, and Mr. Dreamy's above post is a perfect encapsulation as to why we have a large group of millionaires running Congress.

It's surprising so many accept this state of state. Let this be a lesson to all who would dare to "horn in," "rock boats" and "crash parties."

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Many years ago, I had a professor who mentored me in one of my degrees.  He was Ukranian.  I was confused later on when he was accused by another professor of being a nazi during World War II.  When I asked him about it, he replied: "It was either Hitler, or Stalin.  My family in Ukrania knew all about Stalin."  I mention this because of the extreme choices allowed to us when we vote.  A "moderate" is now an archaic term.  It is either "liberal", "conservative", or "tea party".  The reality is that the majority of us have shared values.  Those include abortion, government surveillance, student debt, health care, etc.   The candidates now are "either, or" with nothing in the middle; and most of us are in the middle. 

Until there is real, court interpreted, campaign reform; it will come down to money instead of intelligence.   With shares being offerred to the public on an athelete's career, it is time to offer shares to the public on a politician's career maybe? 

TruthMatters wrote on October 30, 2013 at 1:10 am

Well said. 

Mr Dreamy wrote on October 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

To be very clear, I do not endorse the inner circle party process, but if you want to join a club, you have to follow the club's rules.

Citizens, voters, average people do not control who the "Party" chooses who it will support. As a voter, you may select one of the Party's candidates, or someone else, but you don't have the right to say, "I am in your party so you must treat me well, you must treat me like others." The a Republican Party, and the Democrat Party are closed clubs. You can vote for them, but to join the club, you must play by the club's rules.

Taking on incumbents, and then demanding equal treatment, doesn't play by the rules. If you don't play by the rules, you get tossed out. She is toast politically, because she called those in charge "obstructionists. She thinks politics is open, and she's wrong, as are her advisors, whose victories in the past have no bearing on this discussion.

i'm not saying I support the need to consult with the Party and get its approval, but it is what it is. Any other belief is borne of ignorance or naivety.

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm

The Party has a long arm also.  State employees under Big Jim Thompson were told that in order to keep their job they needed to have the approval of their local precinct committee chairman.  That previously applied to promotions.  Thankfully; Carol Rutan, and a few others, took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Later, we got the Friends of George Ryan e-mails putting the squeeze of intimidation on.  Of course; we were urgently alerted via e-mail to destroy all e-mails, and correspondence with the Friends of George Ryan on them later.  Finally, the rank and file employees who are not patronage were disregarded.  They do have their rule; but sometimes they have to bend them.

TruthMatters wrote on October 30, 2013 at 1:10 am

I agree it is the reality of both parties to have a good 'ol boys club. Closed door, agenda-aligned members only mentality. But unless you have people like Harold who challenge that mentality we are all at the mercy of it. The party chooses who is best, not the voters. The party's agenda runs our communities, not the voters. I would even go one step farther and say that the leaders of the parties call the shots, not even those in the party. It all boils down then to those select few who control the purse strings and control who "gets in." With that being the case, frankly, we're all screwed. We see how well the federal government operates when there is not a bipartisanship. That's one party against another. When those inside parties are at each other's throats it leaves a lot to be desired and who are we supposed to trust? 

Let her have her campaign. If her party doesn't like it who cares. The voters aren't raising h*ll over this. Just her party. Let them squabble and hash it out. If they have the time on their hands to do that, good for them. But they should keep in mind, all the parties should keep in mind, that voters are watching. We see their irresponsible behavior. We see their immature reactions. They may be keeping score of their party members, but so are voters. And as they say, "What goes around, comes around."

Brad Lumpkins wrote on October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm

You mean the GOP is denying her political welfare by saying she has to spend $75 at the Board of Elections for her own data?

alabaster jones 71 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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