Thursday, March 6 2014, 04:29 PM CST
Erika Harold Facing Uphill Battle
She's a Miss America winner, University of Illinois graduate, Champaign lawyer, and she's running for Congress in Central Illinois. But have you heard of Erika Harold? Despite her background, some are asking, "Who is she or where is she?"
Erika Harold's Facebook page has more than 4,600 likes. She has been traveling the 13th Congressional District for months. Places like Champaign, Bloomington, Edwardsville, Pana, Decatur, and Springfield, trying to get her name out there.
"When you are facing an incumbent, the incumbent has certain opportunities based on their Congressional service to do things that are higher visibility throughout the district," said Harold. "One of the challenges I have face is some within the party have not wanted to include me in some of the traditional events where candidates would have the ability to speak."
Harold, a Republican, is trying to beat Congressman Rodney Davis in the primary.
"Some of the reasons why some in the party may not feel I am visible in their district is because they may have a county where the county chairman has prevented me from attending some party events," Harold said. "So then I seek other ways of engaging voters directly."
Mike Miller, a UIS Political Science Professor, says the 13th Congressional race will ultimately be very competitive and a lot of money will be poured into it, as Democrats try to take the seat back.
"You have an interesting dynamic here in that you have a challenger coming in for a first-time Congressman who doesn't have a record you can attack," said Miller. "I think that has shaken things up on the Republican side."
Miller says the strategy of taking on Davis is questionable, considering he's already won once and he has more money than Harold.
"But, I do think she is qualified," said Miller. "If you look at her resume, it would be hard to come up with a better candidate in a district. This just may not be the district or the time."
"I've been working to do town hall and other events to engage with voters regardless of what the party may do to impede that effort," said Harold.
We reached out to Sangamon County Republican Chair Rosemarie Long regarding Harold's comment about county chairman preventing Harold from attending some party events.
"I don't think anyone has been stopping her," Long said. "She hasn't been stopped here."
She went on to say, "There have been some places Harold was given a chilling reception. People will tell her they like her, but question why she is running."
The 13th Congressional District has three Republicans vying for the nomination:
The Democrats also have three:
The primary is March 18.
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