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Illinois AG candidate Erika Harold under fire for alleged anti-gay adoption remarks

Gary Grasso: 'I'm asking Erika Harold withdraw as a candidate for attorney general.'

The Republican race for attorney general has one of the candidates calling for Erika Harold to drop out of the March 20 primary over reports she made controversial remarks on gay adoptions.

Erika Harold :: nbc chicago
Erika Harold 
credit :: nbc chicago
NBC Chicago first reported March 8 that multiple individuals recalled Harold's answer in a 2000 background interview she participated in with Miss Illinois pageant officials. She was asked whether it would be preferable to place a foster child with a gay couple or a household wherein the foster parents were known child abusers. Harold reportedly chose the child abusers.

"I'm asking Erika Harold withdraw as a candidate for attorney general," Gary Grasso said in response to the report.

Harold, 38, has not yet spoken publicly.

In a statement, Harold campaign spokesman Jason Heffley said, "It is troubling that NBC Chicago chose to run with a political hit piece based on anonymous sources that occurred almost twenty years ago.

"Two decades ago when Erika was 20 years old, she did not support same sex adoption. It was a different era when many from both political parties did not support it. Erika, like many others, has changed her position on the issue over the last twenty years. She acknowledges that position was wrong and now strongly supports same sex adoption and foster placement.

"She does not recall the specific exchange alleged by anonymous sources. If some form of that exchange did occur, it was wrong and it is in no way reflective of how Erika feels or has lived her life. She has spent her career working to protect the interests of the underserved and advocating for those who have been bullied and abused."

One pageant official told NBC Chicago, "I find it literally impossible she does not remember because it cost her the pageant."

Harold lost the 2000 contest, but won the title two years later and went on to be Miss America.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has contributed more than $350,000 to Harold's campaign has not commented on the controversy.
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