The recent controversy over what Erika Harold said while a contestant for the Miss Illinois pageant 18 years ago is a political hit job, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday.
He said he still supports her candidacy for attorney general, but how do Rauner and his opponent Jeanne Ives stand on the issue of gay adoptions?
"I've known Erika Harold for about five years," Rauner said. "I have found her to be a person of great talent and integrity."
Harold has not released a public schedule since the NBC 5 report last week that when she competed in the pageant in 2000 and was asked if she had to choose to place a child in foster care with either a loving gay couple or a heterosexual couple who were known child abusers. Sources in the room that days said she selected the child abusers.
"It's a preposterous question and I know many loving, excellent parents who are gay couples--and that would be a good option," Rauner said.
Jeanie Ives responded to the question as well.
"Nobody ever places any child in an abusive situation--period," she said.
The four sources with knowledge of the pageant, including a contestant who watched the videotaped interview, confirmed Harold's response. Other officials have taken offense to the comment.
"I know there are anti-gay people out there," Democrat state Rep. Greg Harri said. "But the disturbing thing to me is that she would want a child to go into a family of abusers."
As for the state of the GOP race, while Rauner leads in the polls, Ives, who is fighting ads that link her to House Speaker Mike Madigan, believes she could score an upset.
"We know the most motivated voters are the ones that are showing up at the poll," she said. "And when that comes up--I'll tell you what--that is real victory on March 20 for us."