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ABC7 Exclusive: Ousted Representative Smith on the campaign trail

Monday, October 29, 2012

Former Illinois State Representative Derrick Smith, charged with taking a bribe and was expelled from office, is trying to get back to the General Assembly.

Smith is on the campaign trail, professing his innocence as he stumps for votes.

"I think they moved a little too fast," Smith said. "I'm innocent until proven guilty."

Smith was arrested in an FBI sting in March, accused of accepting $7,000 to help a daycare center get a state grant.

He has pled not guilty.

"This is who I know and this is who I want to know," said 10th District resident Laporscha Glover. "That's why I'm voting for Derrick."

Despite his ouster, Smith, who was first appointed to the House last year to fill a vacancy in the 10th District, remains on the November 6 ballot and easily won his primary against third party challenger, Lance Tyson, getting around 80 percent of the vote.

Democratic leaders soon tapped Tyson as a candidate under the Unity Party banner after Smith reneged on a promise to let another Democrat take the seat.

Saturday morning, the former lawmaker worked West Madison Street, with supporters including former 28th Ward Alderman Ed Smith, who accuses the unity party candidate of not living in the district.

"Would you believe he's a guy who's running asking me to vote for him and he can't even vote for himself," Ed Smith said.

"Notwithstanding their attempts to remap me out of the district, under the constitution, I am eligible to run," Tyson said.

While at an unrelated event, the bond attorney and former Chief of Staff for Cook County President Todd Stroger, said character and not residency is the real campaign issue.

"And like I said, 'Derrick did you take the money man? Did you take the money?'" Tyson said. "If he can answer that then we wouldn't be here (Saturday)."

Smith is the first House member kicked out in over 100 years. but if he wins, he can hold office.

Illinois law only allows someone to be expelled once.

"I don't have to boast," Smith said. "I don't have to do anything like that. When it happens, it happens, it's God's will."

Come Election Day, it's possible voters may not know much more about Derrick Smith's corruption case than they do now.

And because these types of cases can actually take years to come to trial in federal court, it could be only a small factor in how voters cast their ballots on November 6th.

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