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Illinois: Former Miss America Mulls House Bid

There she is, Miss Congressional Candidate?

Attorney Erika Harold, who was Miss America 2003, told Roll Call today that she’s considering a bid for retiring Rep. Timothy Johnson’s (R-Ill.) seat.

“I am exploring the possibility, but I haven’t made any decisions at this point,” Harold said. “I feel that I might have a unique perspective to offer at this point in time as a young woman who understands some of the concerns that young people face in this economic condition.”

She’s already reached out to local county officials and Members of Congress to discuss the race, although she declined to say who. If she jumps into the race, she’ll join a crowded field of local GOP officials, including state Rep. Dan Brandy, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, former state Rep. Mike Tate, real estate agent David Paul Blumenshine, former Johnson top aide Jerry Clarke and Rodney Davis, a former top aide to Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).

The 13th district county Republican Party chairmen will pick Johnson’s replacement on the November ballot following his unexpected retirement announcement earlier this month.

A Chicago resident, Harold was raised in the Champaign-Urbana area — the heart of the redrawn 13th district. The 32-year-old has never sought public office but she served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2004.

Harold said she entered the pageant world because of the scholarship money prize. As a result of her win, she said, she graduated from Harvard Law School without any debt. In the meantime, Harold picked up some transferable skills from her yearlong tour as Miss America.

“You develop the ability to think quickly on your feet — and quickly learn the consequences of not being able to do so,” Harold said.

In other words, if Harold wins, she’ll have the rope line act down.

The Illinois insider newsletter Capitol Fax first reported Harold’s interest in the race.

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