Just when it was beginning to look like moderate Republicans have to switch parties to get elected, a small victory in Illinois, gives hope. I could not believe my eyes when I read an article the other day about how an African American candidate, a former Miss America and Harvard grad who is also a moderate Republican was called “a street walker” by someone in her own party. Jim Allen of Farmersville, who accused attorney Erika Howard of “pimping” for the Democrats and moderate Republicans, was forced to resign from his post as county chairman by state officials who have, ironically, been actively courting minority candidates. State Republican officials did the right thing when they labeled his comments “offensive and inappropriate” and asked him to step aside. 

Lately, I’ve been wondering about both sides and wondering what it is going to take to build up a reasonable middle ground in politics. It seems like some Democrats consider themselves the small kid on the playground who has to throw a sucker punch to stand up to a much bigger, more powerful opponent. After all, reports of the Obama Administration’s cell phone tapping and internet surveillance of ordinary citizens does give pause. Terrorists, yes. Ordinary Citizens? No.

Instead of coming together, each side seems to be digging in and looking for new weapons to unleash in the fight.  And that isn’t what Americans want.  They want compromise. And progress. 

This attack on female candidates isn’t new or even the work of just one side. In fact, it’s the oldest tactic in the book. And while some Republicans are guilty of legislating against women, it isn’t just Republicans who are using this ugly strategy of labeling smart, strong, opinionated and outspoken women “whores.”  It happened to moderate Republican Meg Whitman when she ran against Gov. Jerry Brown in California. It happened here in Missouri when Claire McCaskill was accused of being unladylike by opponent Todd Aiken.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again.

Here’s the full article on Erika Howard in the Chicago Tribune: 

Remarks were in email about her planned candidacy

June 21, 2013|By Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune reporter
A Downstate Illinois Republican county chairman resigned Thursday in the wake of likening former Miss America Erika Harold, who’s challenging a sitting GOP congressman in next year’s primary election, to a “street walker” whose “pimps” were Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Jim Allen, of Farmersville, the chairman of the Montgomery County GOP, sent the resignation letter to new Illinois Republican Chairman Jack Dorgan, who called Allen’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate.”

Allen, who supports Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville, made his remarks in an e-mail to a supporter of Harold’s. She is the 2003 Miss America from Urbana and a former Chicago attorney who plans to run against Davis.

In the email, which was later posted online, Allen referred to Harold as a “little queen” and the “love child” of the Democratic National Committee. Allen also wrote that after losing the March 2014 primary, Harold would end up back in Chicago — though he used a derogatory spelling of the city — “working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.” Harold is African American.

Allen, who was unavailable for comment, later acknowledged to the State Journal-Register of Springfield that his comments were “very inappropriate” and said he had apologized to Harold and her supporters.

But on Thursday, Allen submitted his resignation to state GOP officials after being urged to do so by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and by Rep. Davis.

Priebus, who heads a political party actively seeking to improve its outreach to racial and ethnic groups after the 2012 elections, said “the astonishingly offensive views” expressed by Allen have no place in the party. “His behavior is inexcusable and must not be tolerated,” Priebus said.

Davis said Allen made comments that were “incredibly dumb” and said he should step down.

Harold’s entry into a primary race against Davis has fueled anger among the freshman congressman’s supporters who contend a costly contest would divert resources from what’s expected to be a tough general election campaign.

Davis was 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. Davis 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 Democrat David Gill by 1,002 votes, or 0.34 percent, out of more than 273,000 ballots cast between the two candidates.