Former Miss America Erika Harold said that she would return to practicing law full time after she lost her longshot bid to unseat Rep. Rodney Davis in the Illinois Republican primary on Tuesday.
"I have not given any thought to any political aspirations," Harold, 33, told local news radio station WDWS-AM
in Champaign, Ill., on Tuesday night after the votes were counted. "I'm more looking forward to catching up on sleep … ."
Davis, 44, who is in his first term, beat Harold
by 55 percent to 42 percent in the downstate district. A third candidate, Michael Firsching, had 4 percent.
The incumbent won the seat in 2012 by slightly more than 1,000 votes — and Davis is seen as vulnerable by Democrats in the November election, where he will face former chief judge Ann Callis.
Harold, 33, who was Miss America 2003, is a civil attorney at the Meyer Capel law firm, which is also in Champaign. A Harvard Law School graduate, she was bidding to become the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress.
"I feel very proud of the campaign we were able to run," Harold told WDWS. "We wanted to run a positive campaign that was focused on the issues — and I feel that we were able to do that. I have no regrets."
The political novice acknowledged that her 10-month bid was a longshot.
"When you enter a race, you know that you can either win or lose — so that all you can hope for is to run a race that you feel proud of and that you feel has made a positive impact," Harold said. "I feel very positive about this experience."
In traveling throughout her district during the campaign, she said she most learned "how hungry people are for a message of hope.
"Oftentimes, people run campaigns that are negative and focus on tearing down other people because they think that, ultimately, that is what people will reward.
"There's a significant amount of the public who wants people to run positive campaigns," she added. "If candidates can do more of that, it can re-engage the American public."
Harold said that she congratulated Davis on his victory and "wished him well" in the November election. "It's important that the party unify going forward."
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