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Illinois lawyer and congressional candidate paid for law school with Miss America scholarship money

Posted Sep 18, 2013 5:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Illinois lawyer who is running for Congress had no debt when she graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007, thanks to scholarship money she got by winning the 2003 Miss America pageant.

Erika Harold, 33, tells the Press of Atlantic City she gained political skills by participating in the pageant. It helped her communicate with people, speak to the press and work with people from different walks of life.

"I think serving as Miss America was a great preparation for running for political office," Harold said. "It empowers young women to be leaders at a very early age."

The Daily Beast profiled Harold as one of nine women “breathing new life into the GOP.”

“If a former Miss America and Harvard-trained lawyer doesn't get your attention,” the Daily Beast says, “maybe the unmitigated crap this woman is taking from some of the men in her own party will reveal the tenacity she's using to unseat a fellow Republican in Illinois's 13th Congressional District. For having the gall—some would call it courage—to run against her party's establishment, Harold, 33, has been called Miss Queen, 'a love child,' and 'a streetwalker' whose 'pimps are the Democrats,' all by a local GOP chairman.”

Other lawyers on the list are New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a former district attorney, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

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