Two Black candidates will compete against each other for Illinois attorney general in November after winning their party’s nomination Tuesday night.
State Sen. Kwame Raoul won a close race against former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary. In the Republican contest, Erika Harold beat out Garry Grasso, former mayor of Burr Ridge, Illinois.
Harold, a former Miss America winner, faced controversy during her campaign after it was reported that Harold said she would prefer to give a foster child to known child abusers rather than a same-sex couple. The comment, which she claims to not recall, came while competing for Miss Illinois in 2000, according to Fox News.
During his victory speech, Raoul turned his attention to Harold: “One’s sexual orientation does not have anything to do with whether you are able to provide a safe, loving home.” Raoul, the son of Haitian immigrants, also pledged to protect immigrant rights in Illinois, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
If she wins, Harold would also be the first Republican to serve as the state’s attorney general since Jim Ryan, who served two four-year terms after winning the office in 1995. Some members of her party seem to have trouble seeing past her race. During the campaign, she was allegedly the victim of a racial slur (the N-word) from Peter Breen, a GOP member of the Illinois House, who also asked her if she’s a “lesbo” during a conversation. However, Harold, who called herself “reform-minded,” has the support of establishment Republicans.
Several other African-American candidates are poised to make history in statewide elections in 2018 midterm elections. Stacey Abrams is considered a “nominal favorite” to win the Democratic primary to run to become Georgia’s first African-American governor. And in Maryland, Rushern Baker, a leading Democratic candidate for governor, is ahead in Democratic primary polls.