Erika Harold

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Erika Harold
Ms. Erika Harold.JPG
Born (1980-02-20) February 20, 1980 (age 37)
Urbana, Illinois
Alma mater University of Illinois, B.A. (2001)
Harvard University, J.D. (2007)
Occupation Attorney, Politician
Title Miss Illinois 2002
Miss America 2003
Predecessor Katie Harman
Successor Ericka Dunlap

Erika Natalie Louise Harold (born February 20, 1980), Miss America 2003, is an American attorney. She is also a two-time Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional District seat in the State of Illinois.


Sign for Urbana, Illinois honoring Harold

Harold was born in Urbana, Illinois. Her ethnic background is extremely varied. On her father's side, she has Greek, German and English ancestry, and on her mother's side, Native-American, and African-American ancestry.[1]

She graduated from the University of Illinois, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in political science and was a Chancellor's Scholar.[2] In 2007, she graduated from Harvard University's Law School, where she won best brief in the Harvard Ames Moot Court semi-final and final rounds of competition.[3][4] She has worked in Chicago, Illinois, as an associate attorney at Sidley Austin LLP and at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella.[3] She currently works for Meyer Capel law firm in Champaign, Illinois.[5]


She became Miss America 2003 on September 21, 2002 (as Miss Illinois 2002). Her official platform was "Preventing Youth Violence and Bullying: Protect Yourself, Respect Yourself." Her platform choice grew out of personal experience; she recounts having been the subject of racial and sexual harassment[6] while growing up. In a May 2, 2003 speech, Harold said when she turned to teachers and school administrators, her concerns were dismissed.[7] As part of her platform, she became a national spokesperson for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national advocacy group.[8]

In the first week of her reign, she also adopted a secondary platform for sexual abstinence.[citation needed] Some pageant observers accused her of harboring a hidden agenda.[6] The Washington Times suggested that pageant officials demonstrated a liberal bias when they allowed Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle, whose platform was HIV prevention, to advocate condom distribution and needle exchange during her time as Miss America.[6] On October 8, 2002, Harold gave a speech at the National Press Club in Washington during which she stated that she would talk about sexual abstinence and that she "will not be bullied" into dropping the topic from her platform.[9] Thirty-eight members of Congress sent her a letter of support, encouraging her to press on with her “healthy message of abstinence until marriage.”[10]

During her time as Miss America, Harold interacted with legislators and testified before Congress on bullying and abstinence, which provided her with additional motivation to pursue a political career.[11]


Harold is politically conservative, and was the Youth Director for the Republican primary campaign of Illinois gubernatorial candidate Patrick O'Malley.[12] She later served as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention.[13] She gave a speech to the convention on August 31, 2004 to support George W. Bush's faith-based initiatives.[14] She worked on the Bush campaign to reach out to minority voters.[1]

In May 2012, Herold was one of four finalists for the Republican nomination for Congress in Illinois's 13th district, a nomination selected by the Republican chairmen of the 14 counties covered by the 13th Congressional District, instead of a primary election.[15] The Republican chairmen selected Rodney L. Davis, over Harold, and Davis was subsequently elected to Congress, in a close and expensive race.[5][16]

2014 congressional campaign[edit]

On June 4, 2013, Harold announced she would run against Rep. Rodney L. Davis, R-Ill. in the 2014 Republican primary for Illinois's 13th congressional district.[17][18] Davis, Harold's opponent in the primary, is a top target for the Democrats in 2014.[19] On March 18, 2014, Harold lost the Republican primary to Davis 54–41.[20][21]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois's 13th congressional district Republican primary results, 2014[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney L. Davis 27,816 55
Republican Erika Harold 20,951 41
Republican Michael Firsching 2,147 4
Total votes 50,914 100


  1. ^ a b Ury, Faryl. Miss America Visits HRC, The Harvard Crimson, February 14, 2005.
  2. ^ Biography
  3. ^ a b Press Release. Firm Welcomes New Associate, Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., February 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Zhou, Kevin. Justice Kennedy Presides at Law School, Law students face Supreme Court justice in Moot Trial Competition, The Harvard Crimson, November 15, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Lowe, Kenneth. GOP candidate Erika Harold says she will stress ‘conservative values’, Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph, June 6, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Riscol, Lara. Miss America's stealth virginity campaign, Salon, October 28, 2002.
  7. ^ Erika Harold, Miss America 2003, National Press Club Luncheon Speaker – May 2, 2003, National Public Radio, May 2, 2003.
  8. ^ " / News / Nation / Effects of bullying aren't confined to childhood, study finds". Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  9. ^ Miss America resists pressure to silence abstinence message, Baptist Press, October 9, 2002.
  10. ^ Carmon, Irin. There She Is, Inside the year of the Harvard beauty queen, The Harvard Crimson, September 25, 2003.
  11. ^ Friedman, Hilary Levey. Here She Comes, Miss (Elected) America, Slate, June 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Plenty of Republican Lt. Governor choices exist for 2014, Illinois Conservatives, February 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Griffy, Leslie. Ex-Miss America a delegate to GOP convention, Chicago Sun-Times, January 12, 2004, page 6
  14. ^ Tartakoff, Joseph M. HLS-Bound Beauty Queen Boosts Bush, The Harvard Crimson, September 13, 2004.
  15. ^ Pallasch, Abdon M. Former Miss America in running for Downstate GOP congressional nomination, Chicago Sun-Times, May 8, 2012.
  16. ^ Sabella, Jen. Erika Harold, Former Miss America, Considering GOP Bid For U.S. House (PHOTOS), Huffington Post, April 24, 2012.
  17. ^ Blake, Aaron. Former Miss America Erika Harold launches congressional run, Washington Post, June 4, 2013.
  18. ^ Linares, Veronica. "Miss America 2003 to run for Congress Illinois". UPI. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  19. ^ Camia, Catalina. Ex-Miss America Erika Harold begins Congress campaign, USA Today, June 4, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Official Illinois State Board of Elections Results
  21. ^ Cahn, Emily (2014-03-18). "Ann Callis, Rodney Davis to Face Off in Targeted Illinois District". Roll Call. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Katie Harman
Miss America
Succeeded by
Ericka Dunlap
Preceded by
Kristin Castillo
Miss Illinois
Succeeded by
Michelle LaGroue