BLOOMINGTON — Erika Harold isn't running against Lisa Madigan anymore, but she still has the state attorney general's family in her sights.

"One Madigan down means one more Madigan to go," she said of Lisa and her father, House Speaker Mike Madigan, D-Chicago. "People said, if you run against the Madigans, be prepared. Take your car in to make sure your brakes are checked. That was advice I really got. ... That's not a great commentary on our political system."

Harold said Lisa Madigan, who bowed out of the 2018 election last month after four terms as attorney general, "decided not to run again because she understood the reality of having to run for office while people finally understood what her dad had done to our state."

Harold, an Urbana attorney, also spoke about her priorities as a Republican candidate for attorney general at Monday's monthly McLean County Republican Party breakfast. Michael Madigan has been a frequent target for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who's also on the ballot in 2018.

Harold mostly avoided partisan issues, but she said she opposes local sanctuary city designations — Chicago has named itself one, setting up a protracted battle with President Donald Trump's administration on immigration policy — and dislikes how Lisa Madigan has opposed Trump, an effort that's included suing on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"Elections have consequences, and we still have a system of federalism," said Harold. "I would only sue if I believe the executive exceeded the scope of their executive power."

She also pledged to target political corruption, promote criminal justice reform and increase transparency in the attorney general's office — though Harold stopped short of endorsing a public process to adjudicate Freedom of Information Act disputes, which could be costly for small municipalities.

"If you propose something, it needs to be budget-neutral," she said.

Harold also spoke about her history as a University of Illinois graduate who paid her way through Harvard Law School with scholarships and speaking fees after becoming Miss America 2003.

"Because I am not somebody who looks like a stereotypical Republican," said Harold, whose ethnic background includes black and Native American heritage, "I have a great opportunity to introduce our Republican principles to a lot of people who may have written us off."

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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Staff Writer

Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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