The most interesting House primary of the 2014 cycle began in June in the 13th District of Illinois. It pits freshman Republican congressman Rodney Davis against an insurgent candidate named Erika Harold. Davis is a political operative who won his seat last year nearly by accident. Erika Harold is a 33-year-old lawyer. Who happens to have been Miss America.
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Yet the twin rationales for Harold’s campaign are fairly obvious: The 2012 results suggest that Republicans might be able to field a stronger general election candidate for a tough 2014 race. And more important, whatever Davis’s merits, Republican primary voters never got a say in choosing him.
When you add it all up, the real mystery about Harold isn’t why she’s challenging Davis. It’s why the Illinois GOP didn’t find a way to harness her talents and ambition when she came home five years ago.