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A Glimmer of Hope for the Illinois GOP

Erika Harold contemplates her next move.

2:25 PM, May 22, 2013 • By IKE BRANNON
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The GOP has since been solicitous of her desire to begin a political career, but it has little to offer her. With a new law on the books saying that gubernatorial candidates need to have a lieutenant governor nominee, several have approached her to join their campaign, but she has no intention of riding on that ship to nowhere. Others have tried to steer her to run for a state senate or state assembly seat, but there are no open seats around her hometown and despite the political success of another Chicago transplant with a degree from Harvard Law School she does not see herself running for office in her adopted hometown.

The attorney general’s office is likely to be an open race and in many other states it has been used as a springboard to higher office, but it’s a heady post for a political newcomer whose dad isn’t the speaker of the state assembly, and the spoils that go with such a system make it unlikely she’d receive strong party support.

What’s left is for her to run for Congress against Rodney Davis in a real primary in 2014, and there are indications that this is precisely what she intends to do—the rumor afoot is that she is in the process of moving back to Champaign, and that she will make some sort of announcement this summer.

The prospect of a contested primary has the downstate GOP nervous: Davis is now one of their own and they’ll line up in lockstep to support him. But there’s no denying that this hyper-intelligent, charismatic woman may be the only person on the horizon with the chops to run a statewide race and have the ability to run well among the suburban soccer moms, the Chicago yuppies, and the small town denizens downstate.

Winning a primary against an incumbent is a tall order, and it would require not a few politicians to think beyond short-term exigencies and do something that might offer the only hope for the GOP to have success at the statewide level again.

The Illinois GOP (and the national GOP as well, for that matter) has proven itself adept at making myopic decisions. We may soon find out if this practice will change.

Ike Brannon is research director of the R Street Institute.

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