Illinois GOP official resigns after calling former Miss America 'street walker'
A Downstate Illinois GOP county chairman resigned today after likening former Miss America Erika Harold, whoâs challenging a sitting Republican congressman in next yearâs primary election, to a âstreet walkerâ whose âpimpsâ were Democrats and moderate Republicans.
Jim Allen of Farmersville, the chairman of the Montgomery County GOP, sent the resignation letter today to new Illinois Republican Chairman Jack Dorgan. Dorgan called Allenâs remarks âoffensive and inappropriate.â
Allen, who supports freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville, made his remarks in an e-mail to a supporter of Harold. She is the 2003 Miss America from Urbana and a former Chicago attorney.
In the e-mail, which was later posted online, Allen referred to Harold as a âlittle queenâ and the âlove childâ of the Democratic National Committee. Allen also wrote that after losing the 2014 March primary Harold would end up back in Chicago --- though he used a derogatory spelling --- âworking for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.â Harold is African American.
Allen later acknowledged to the State Journal-Register of Springfield that his comments were âvery inappropriateâ and said he had apologized to Harold and her supporters. Allen was unavailable for comment today.
But on Thursday, Allen submitted his resignation to state GOP officials after being urged to do so by National Republican Chairman Reince Priebus and by U.S. Rep. Davis.
Priebus, who heads a political party actively seeking to improve its outreach to racial and ethnic groups following the 2012 elections, said âthe astonishingly offensive viewsâ expressed by Allen have no place in the party. âHis behavior is inexcusable and must not be tolerated,â Priebus said.
Davis said Allen made comments that were âincredibly dumbâ and said he should step down.
Haroldâs entry into a primary race against Davis has fueled anger among the freshman congressmanâs supporters who contend a costly contest would divert resources from whatâs expected to be a tough general election campaign.
Davis, chosen by local GOP leaders to fill a ballot vacancy last year after veteran Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana decided not to run again after winning the primary, is regarded as a top target for Democrats next year in the 13th District, which stretches from Champaign-Urbana north to Bloomington and southwest toward East St. Louis.
In the November 2012 election, Davis defeated frequent Democrat David Gill by 1,002 votes, or 0.34 percent, out of more than 273,000 ballots cast between the two candidates.