Derrick Smith trounces 10th District opposition
November 7, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Despite the fact he was indicted on bribery charges and expelled from the Illinois House, State Representative Derrick Smith was re-elected in the 10th District.
Smith easily defeated Unity candidate Lance Tyson.
Smith didn't have a big party Tuesday night. But he won big.
"Thank God first," said Smith. "And I want to thank my mother for praying so hard for me through all of this."
The indicted Smith now goes back to Springfield. His Chicago office will once again wear his name on the front door.
Even though his fellow legislators expelled Smith from the house, because of the pending federal kickback case against him, they cannot block his return. When he does return, what he can accomplish is in question.
"He'll be radioactive," said ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington. "He won't be allowed to touch any legislation or have a say so in legislation because people perceive him as being corrupt."
"I'm in this as a state representative to represent the people, and that's why it won't be difficult because I have the people behind me," Smith said.
The numbers Tuesday suggest that to be true. Smith won with 63 percent of the vote.
"Am I disappointed? I mean, yeah, I'm disappointed, but at the end of the day, the voters spoke, and I honor that," Tyson said.
The losing candidate shut down his campaign office Wednesday after having learned a lesson about the power of the Democratic label -- the 10th District voted for the president, and for the state rep who was the Democrat on the ballot.
But there is also the sense that Derrick Smith hasn't had a chance to properly defend himself, that his fellow legislators were too hasty in expelling him, and that the political powerhouses who worked against Smith didn't make any friends in the 10th.
"People are concerned when you beat up on the little people," said former alderman Ed Smith. "Derrick Smith is little people and the secretary of state and governor were beating up on this little guy. People don't like that."
Some of the legislators who were quite vocal in expelling Derrick Smith from the house say their decision was correct, but they also say that "the voters have spoken."
When Smith returns to Springfield in January, it's not clear what -- if any --committee assignments he will be given.
Smith says he will be vindicated at trial and wants it to come sooner rather than later. But, with many pre-trial motions, the trial may not come until some months into the new year at the earliest.
politics, paul meincke
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