Former Miss America Erika Harold announced Tuesday that she plans to seek the GOP nomination for Illinois attorney general with hopes of taking on Lisa Madigan next fall.
An attorney from Urbana, Harold in 2012 and 2014 unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 13th District.
Harold is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She says she entered the Miss America pageant to help fund her graduate education at Harvard Law School. She won the Miss Illinois pageant in 2002 and was crowned Miss America in 2003.
“Today in Illinois, it’s nearly impossible to find opportunity and live out your dreams,” Harold says in an online campaign announcement launched Tuesday. “Instead, career politicians have made it a nightmare for too many families in our state.”
Madigan, daughter of powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, said earlier this year that she would seek a fifth term in 2018.
From the initial campaign ad, it’s clear Harold plans to use Lisa Madigan’s connection to her controversial father against her.
“Protecting the powerful … squashing reform … crushing the little guy to preserve the status quo,” the ad opens. “That’s what Springfield does, the Madigan way.”
While Lisa Madigan has been attorney general since 2003, Michael Madigan has been House speaker for all but two years since 1983. This summer, he became the longest-serving statehouse speaker in modern U.S. history.
Some, including the Chicago Tribune, have criticized Lisa Madigan for avoiding investigations into corruption in Illinois in part because of her father’s position.
“On the campaign trail, she said allegations of wrongdoing ‘must be investigated, no matter if they involve Democrats, Republicans or even my father,'” the Tribune’s editorial board wrote in a May op-ed piece. “But somewhere along the path to reform, Attorney General Madigan dimmed the lights. She stood in the shadows as other officials took heat for exposing clout and crimes among clouted government insiders. She quietly refocused her mission: heavy on consumer advocacy, easy on corruption-busting.”
According to her website, Harold was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2015 to serve on the court’s Committee on Equality. She also is a member of Trinity International University’s Board of Regents, and serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.
She works at the Champaign County law firm Meyer Capel.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the years in which Erika Harold unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 13th District. She sought the nomination in 2012 and 2014.