Karen Neoh via Flickr

In an ironic twist, the Democrat nominee for United States Congress against Republican nominee and 2014 Miss Ohio Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, once sued her university after she lost a beauty contest

Ohio State Representative Emilia Sykes sued Tuskegee University in 2006 for $75,000, the Washington Free Beacon reports, claiming “mental anguish” after a scoring error led to her being briefly named Miss Tuskegee University before officials realized the mistake.

“Tuskegee University awarded Sykes the victory because her top competitor was mistakenly docked points for a rules violation,” the Free Beacon reports. “The school yanked her crown away when officials realized they had erred in scoring the contest. In reality, Sykes had placed third in the popular vote but was ultimately given second place.”

Officials had named Calida Joy McCampbell the winner, before docking her points, claiming she had gone over allotted speaking time.  Her title was quickly restored when a review of the tape found she followed the rules.

Sykes did not take the correct score well, running to a federal court to file a lawsuit claiming she had been harmed by not winning a college beauty pageant.

“Sykes has been subjected to extreme mental and physical anguish, is unable to respond to persons who believe she is Miss Tuskegee University, and has experienced public embarrassment and personal psychological distress,” she claimed in a federal lawsuit, quoted by the Free Beacon.

Her claim was dismissed.  Her father, an Ohio state senator, joined her lawsuit demanding payments from the university.  The Free Beacon reports he used his position to try and draw a state house district for his daughter, but both maps were dismissed by courts.

They claimed the entire family had been harmed because they had already been congratulated by then-Senator Barack Obama (spelled “Barak Obama” in the suit.)

Sykes faces Gesiotto Gilbert, a 2014 Miss Ohio winner, Miss USA contestant and the wife of former NFL offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert, in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District.

The district is slightly Democratic and is currently represented by Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, who is vacating the seat to face Republican nominee J.D. Vance for the United States Senate.  The race is generally rated as either a toss-up, or Gesiotto Gilbert favored.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com

Michael Brigham has written for American Action News since the summer of 2019. His areas of expertise include foreign affairs, government, and politics, but regardless of the subject matter, he has a nose and an insatiable appetite for news. In his free time, he enjoys reading nonfiction, watching a mix of comedies and true crime documentaries, and spending time away from the swamp hiking in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.


  1. I was the prettyist little flower in the pageant. How could they not see that? My Momma and Daddy always told me I was special……..

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