In a surprise move on Tuesday, Miss America of 2003 announced she would challenge freshman Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois's 13th District next year. In so doing, 33-year-old Erika Harold re-opens a contest that began the year when then Rep. Tim Johnson decided against seeking a seventh term.
A closed-door meeting of district party leaders then chose former congressional staffer Davis over a group of potential GOP hopefuls that included Harold.
As supporters like to say, "Erika is not just a pretty face." She has been a vocal champion for sexual abstinence and is also strongly pro-life and involved in much community work.
In the nomination battle last year, most tea partiers and other grass-roots conservatives had their hearts set on Harold. Although Davis has been conservative in his voting record, his vote to raise the debt ceiling is one that most upset the tea party movement.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax
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