SPRINGFIELD — Miss America 2003 is expected to announce Tuesday that she’s running for Congress in Illinois’ 13th District.
Erika Harold, a Champaign native who lived in Chicago until last month, has planned a three-day rollout of campaign announcements in cities and towns within the Central Illinois district, including Bloomington.
A Republican, Harold would have to face freshman U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville for the GOP nomination. Democrat Ann Callis, a former Madison County judge, recently announced she’s also vying for the post.
Harold, an attorney who has not previously held political office, could not be reached for comment Monday, but a former aide to retired U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana suggested that the itinerary of this week’s announcements spells out what office Harold is seeking.
“She’s not technically saying what office she’s running for,” said Joan Dykstra of Savoy, who described herself as a senior adviser to the beauty pageant winner.
Harold, who was a convention delegate for President George W. Bush in 2004, was a candidate for the 13th District opening last year when Johnson opted to end his re-election bid after winning the GOP primary. At the time, she was working as a lawyer in Chicago.
Party leaders in the district instead chose Davis, who was then working for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville.
In a statement released Monday night, Davis said, “It’s unfortunate that in today’s political environment campaigns never end, but my focus has been and will continue to be on working hard in Washington and in Illinois for the families of the 13th District.”
Harold, 33, recently moved back to her hometown and went to work at the Meyer Capel law firm in Champaign.
The district, which stretches from Champaign to Edwardsville, is expected to be a battleground in the fight for control of Congress. Both parties have suggested they would be spending money on the race just a year after pouring more than $8 million into Davis’ successful battle against Bloomington Democrat Dr. David Gill.
Harold’s first announcement comes Tuesday morning in Monticello.
Davis said he’s lived up to the promises he made during his campaign against Gill.
“In just five months I’ve voted to cut government spending and address the national debt while advancing legislation to put Americans back to work and get our economy moving again,” he said.