CHICAGO (CBS) — A war of words is heating up the attorney general’s race, based on what the Republican candidate allegedly said almost 20 years ago.

In his first general election TV ad, Democratic candidate Kwame Raoul took direct aim at opponent Erika Harold over alleged anti-gay comments.

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CBS 2’s Political Reporter Derrick Blakley fact checked if she really made those comments. Blakley reports it’s a charge that has become a central issue in the attorney general’s race, even though it happened two decades ago, if it even happened at all.

“We can’t allow that kind of extremism into the attorney general’s office,” stated Kwame Raoul in his political television ad in the race for Illinois Attorney General.

Kwame Raoul’s first TV ad attacks GOP candidate Erika Harold. In the ad, he refers to her as “someone who I think is very extreme.”

“You have a candidate who literally said she’d place a child in the home of abusers,” Raoul said.

CBS 2 fact checkers found allegations, but not hard evidence that she made those comments.

Harold’s remark reportedly came before judges during another Miss America pageant, before she finally won the crown in 2003.

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In the book, “Being Miss America, author Kate Shindle wrote, “Harold reportedly stated that she would choose to place a child in an abusive, heterosexual home rather than with a loving, gay couple.”

The charge is strong, but at best, it is a second-hand reference from an unidentified source.

Harold responded to the allegations, “I don’t recall the specific exchange that the sources allege. If I said it, it was absolutely wrong.”

“If you had been accused of saying you’d place a child in the home of abusers, you would remember whether or not you made those allegations,” stated Raoul.

Harold says her positions have evolved, saying she “absolutely supports same sex adoption and same sex foster parenting.”

In response, the Harold campaign came up with a 20-year-old charge of its own: as an attorney, Raoul argued to return two neglected children to a home where a child had died of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

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In defense, Raoul says he was acting as a professional advocate, not reflecting his own beliefs.