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Former Miss America Challenges GOP Freshman #IL13

Davis faces a competitive race in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Davis faces a competitive race in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Erika Harold, the 2003 winner of the Miss America pageant, will announce on Tuesday that she plans to challenge a vulnerable freshman Republican from Illinois, according to local reports.

Harold, also a Republican, will take on Rep. Rodney Davis in the 13th District primary next year.

The news should be worrisome for Davis, who represents one of the most competitive districts in the country. Democrats have targeted this race as one of their top 10 pickup opportunities in 2014. They’ve recruited Ann Callis, a former judge, to run for the seat, and are touting her as one of their top recruits this cycle.

This will also be the first primary for Davis. Last cycle, GOP Rep. Timothy V. Johnson announced his retirement after the primary. Local GOP chairmen picked Davis as their nominee a couple of months later.

Davis went on to eke out a win in 2012 by less than 1 point against the Democratic nominee, emergency room doctor David Gill. At the same time, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney each received 49 percent in the 2012 election.

Harold, a 33-year-old attorney, will make her campaign announcement at a series of events around the central Illinois district, according to a local news report. Davis reacted to the news in an email sent to supporters Tuesday.

“Recently, my team and I have been made aware that in addition to having a general opponent we will now be facing a primary opponent,” Davis wrote. “This comes at no surprise and only reinforces the mentality that my team and I have had since winning last November, 2014 will be just as hard as 2012.”

Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race Tossup/Tilt Republican in 2014.

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