BLOOMINGTON — In her final campaign speech before Tuesday's primary election, Republican congressional candidate Erika Harold said she was satisfied with her 10-month-long campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.
"At the outset of this I wanted to run a positive campaign where we focused on issues and focused on giving people a reason to vote for as opposed to running against," Harold, an Urbana attorney, told a McLean County Republican Party luncheon in Bloomington.
"At the beginning people said, 'Oh, that's naive. People always have to go negative.' And I sincerely believe that one of the reasons that people are so disenfranchised with our democratic process is that we don't spend enough time talking about things that we want people to vote for. And by the end of the campaign things become so negative, so polarized that people wonder, are these the best candidates that we have to offer?"
Harold, who along with Moro, Ill., veterinarian Michael Firsching is challenging Davis in the 14-county 13th Congressional District on Tuesday said felt she "ran the campaign that I wanted to run.
"In politics you cannot control other people. You ultimately can only control the campaign that you run, and I believe I've run a positive campaign that focused on issues. For people who decide to vote for me, they are voting for me as opposed to voting against someone," said the Harvard Law School graduate and former Miss America.
She said she has received "a great reception," adding, "I so expect to pull an upset tomorrow."
Polls taken last month showed a big lead for Davis, who has raised substantially more money and run more television and radio commercials. But Harold claimed that sources in Davis' campaign had said that internal polls showed the race tightening.
"I know that the polls have tightened and that if you drive throughout the district people are stunned by the level of (yard) signs that are up throughout the district," she said.
Harold pledged that if elected she would meet with constituents, as she has in town hall sessions and speeches in each county in the district since she announced her candidacy last June.
"I would definitely want to carry that same level of transparency and outreach to people if I was their representative," she said. "One of the things that frustrates people is they feel that there are so many barriers between themslves and their representative, and they feel that they either have to contribute to that person or be politically connected."