Huffpost Chicago

Chicago Democrats For Derrick Smith: Lawmakers Tell Voters To Elect Recently Arrested State Rep

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
DERRICK SMITH BRIBERY DANNY DAVIS RALLY
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (left), state Rep. Derrick Smith. | AP

A coalition of West Side Chicago Democrats rallied on Sunday behind state Rep. Derrick Smith, the lawmaker who was arrested last week on the federal charge that he accepted a bribe.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis led the group, the West Side Black Elected Officials, in urging primary voters to re-elect Smith despite the controversy.

"We know that our colleague is charged with criminal activity," Davis said, according to WBEZ. "But we also know that a charge is not a conviction."

Should Smith not be re-elected Tuesday, the group argued, a Republican "wolf in sheep's clothing" -- Smith's primary challenger Tom Swiss -- stands to take his place.

"There's nothing wrong with being a Republican, except that if people are going to vote for a Republican, they ought to know they're voting for a Republican," Davis continued, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Other elected officials at the rally included Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele.

Smith was arrested last week for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe from a fictional daycare center in return for writing an official letter of support for its bid for a $50,000 state grant. According to the criminal complaint, the informant working with the FBI delivered an envelope filled with the cash to Smith, which he accepted earlier this month.

Powerful Illinois House speaker and Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan has not yet addressed Smith's arrest, the Associated Press reports. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told the AP that "it's all under review."

The lack of comment from Madigan's camp was blasted by state Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady as avoiding the issue because "I guess this time it isn't politically convenient," according to the AP.

"After all the scandal we have been through in Illinois, this should be a no-brainer for Madigan to call for the resignation of Derrick Smith," Brady continued.

The race presents a significant dilemma for voters in the state's 10th state House district as Swiss, Smith's opponent, is a former director of the Chicago Republican Party. Swiss, who is white, has also received criticism over a bizarre campaign billboard featuring his name next to an image of black construction worker.

Smith made no comment on his arrest Saturday as he rushed out from a court appearance, ABC Chicago reports.

Apparently absent from the Sunday rally in support of Smith was State Sen. Annazette Collins, who previously held Smith's state House seat before she was appointed to replace former State Sen. Rickey Hendon last year. Collins is, herself, embroiled in a heated primary battle with former Chicago mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt Watkins amid allegations that she abused the controversial state legislative scholarship program.

-

Races To Watch
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

State Rep. Derrick Smith Arrested on Federal Bribery Charge

Dems call on voters to support Derrick Smith, despite bribery arrest

Dems: Vote for accused bribe-taker

State Rep. Derrick Smith, of Chicago, is charged with accepting bribe

Feds: State Rep. Derrick Smith took $7000 bribe

Madigan won't say if Dem should step down after bribery arrest

The Alleged Crook vs. The Republican

Our Opinion: Seems it'll never end in Illinois