Erika Harold, Miss America 2003, announced today that she is entering the Republican primary in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. Only one problem: the seat is already held by a Republican, freshman Rodney Davis, whom Harold describes as “a good person.” So her quest might, on first impression, seem quixotic.
But don’t sell Miss Harold, who is 33 and single, short. Not because she used her Miss America money to attend Harvard Law School, although that is rather impressive. No: my own experience with Erika Harold convinces me that she is a formidable candidate.
I met Miss Harold at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, to which she was an Illinois delegate. I was part of “bloggers’ row,” covering the convention for Power Line. It was a lot of fun and we made news a couple of times, but one of the highlights was meeting Miss Harold when she stopped by for interviews. I have never in my life met anyone as instantly empathetic as Erika Harold. She came across as the nicest, kindest person imaginable. She was unaffected and genuinely curious about all of us internet correspondents. She had us eating out of her hand, not because she is so beautiful–she isn’t, actually–but because after five minutes you feel like she is your best friend. Or you wish she were, anyway.
One of the bloggers who fit the mother’s-basement stereotype said or did something mildly inappropriate, but Erika was unfazed. She rescued the situation effortlessly, gave the guy a hug, and made a friend for life. Seriously: I have met thousands of people, but never anyone as instantly likable as Erika Harold. I took this photo during that session in 2004:
Politics is about logic and ideology, but it is also about personality and emotion: take, for example, Bill Clinton. But compared with Erika Harold, Clinton is a cold fish. Seriously. So keep your eye on her. If she spends three minutes with every constituent, I guarantee: she will win.