Despite Bribery Arrest, Rep. Smith Wins Primary Vs. Swiss

Updated 03/20/12 – 10:12 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago), who was arrested on a federal bribery charge last week, easily defeated challenger Tom Swiss on Tuesday in the Democratic race for the 10th District seat in the Illinois House.

With 94 percent of the precincts reporting, Smith had won 77 percent of the vote, compared to 23 percent for Swiss.

Smith did not speak after his victory, although dozens of supporters celebrated outside his campaign headquarters.

For his part, Swiss said it was difficult to beat Smith with record low turnout for an Illinois primary in a presidential election year, especially when Smith was backed by the Democratic machine.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe eports

“The low turnout was impossible to overcome. You had the political class – that anyone had a city, county, state job is gonna vote with the organization guys,” Swiss said. “And then, also, my association with Republicans in the past was very difficult to overcome with the people that did come out, because they are more of the extreme on the liberal side, so they had no interest whatsoever in even giving me a chance.”

Swiss laughed and said “of course” when asked if he was surprised that a candidate charged with accepting a bribe so close to the election managed to win the vote.

“But it is Chicago. It is Chicago, so there shouldn’t be anything that really surprises you. I told these guys all along that Chicago is known for a lot of political heartbreak,” Swiss added.

Smith was arrested last week on a federal bribery charge. Federal prosecutors said an undercover investigation found he accepted $7,000 to write a letter of recommendation for a daycare center that he thought was seeking a state grant.

He allegedly accepted $7,000 in cash from the aide in exchange for the recommendation letter. The aide was cooperating with the FBI, which had set up a sting. The daycare center itself was real, but the owner Smith was allegedly trying to help was fake.

Smith was appointed state representative for the 10th District, which covers portions of Chicago’s Near West and Near Northwest sides, in March 2011. This was his first bid for election to the legislature.

He has not spoken publicly since his arrest.

Swiss, a former director of the Cook County Republican Party, was running against Smith as a Democrat. Some of his ads in the racially-mixed 10th District have drawn criticism for blurring racial lines. Some of his ads feature his name and his picture — he is white — but other billboards feature his name and the picture of a black construction worker.

Swiss has denied the ads are intended to deceive voters.

Over the weekend, a number of Democratic leaders urged voters to support Smith, despite his arrest, arguing Smith has not yet been convicted. They also said they did not want a Republican winning the Democratic nomination, pointing to Swiss’ past leadership position with the local Republican Party.

If Smith eventually steps down over the bribery charge before the general election, Democratic party officials would choose a replacement for the Democratic nomination.

  • Me

    Sad state of affairs for this State. Its true, the inmates are running the asylum. :(

  • German Leprechaun

    Wow. Stunning. Disappointing. Deplorable. Scandalous. Disgraceful. Reprehensible. Alarming. Distressing. Disheartening. Disconcerting. Shocking. Astounding! Dreadful. Abominable. Loathsome. Appalling.

    • Just Axin

      G-Lep, slow down. I like how you added the ! in there after astounding. What a bunch of f-ups in that district. Many Blacks also think it’s ok to beat their woman, so them rewarding this loser is expected.

      • THEE Yard Ape

        G-Lep, I like that!!! Yo G-Lep & Just – well said gentlemen as always. Looks like “Smiff” is a real hero to the negro.

      • German Leprechaun

        Thanks, Yard. G-Lep? I was thinkin’ “Grandmaster G”, but okay G-Lep it is!!!!!!!!

      • LYNDIA

        White men don’t beat their women? (or mamas?)

      • German Leprechaun

        Hey, thanks, Axe. I thought about placin’ it after “Disconcerting.” I actually did trouble over its placement for a minute or two…

  • Civilized

    Every p.o.s that voted for this crook should be lined up and shot dead immediately.

  • Doug Odom

    And this, my friends, is the beginning of the end.

  • PG

    I do not want to hear one, NOT ONE, person from that district complain about anything politically ever again! Here this clown gets caught taking bribes, and this bunch of FOOLS vote for him anyhow! And we wonder why we’ve got the crooks in office that we do, it’s because of mouth breathing knuckledraggers like these people who vote! UGH!

    • LYNDIA

      Oh, you are such a perfect person!!

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  • tom sharp

    I hope those swine that worked and voted for this felon and the crook Dorothy Brown live to regret it. i know I’ll never vote for anyone supported by the 43rd Ward or that tumbling coach–Jesse White. Term Limits of One!! Republican in November.

  • Reb Biker

    It is strange that committing felonies is a political badge of honor in the black community. But all of black people’s problems are caused by white people, right?

  • Centurion

    If you think this is bad…wait till the homies get out the vote for YO BAMA!


    We dont care bout nuthin. Worster peepuls then him be in guvmint. So long as I be getting my checks I dont care bout nuthin

    • Jim

      It seems that you speak for the Afro-American community, Lyndia. Now I see how that low life, racist, crooked piece of sh!t, Jackson was reelected!

  • Percy

    It’s sad when a person would was arrested for bribery is re elected. It’s even worst that people would vote for him knowing what he did. I would rather an honest person that I disagree with than a crook that I do. But for all of the white comments I see, blacks and whites are at fault. Neither side showed up at the poles in great numbers so who are you to talk if you didn’t vote either. And don’t tell me that there are no white people on the near Northwest Side. We all look like fools on this one. Sad day in Chicago.

    • Jim

      Unfortunately negros will always vote for negros. The criminal status has never deterred Afros from taking care of their own. Look at the south and west sides of the city. A perfect example!!

      • THEE Yard Ape

        You are correct Jim. They should have never been given the right to vote in the first place!!!

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  • Tom

    Is CBS ever going to require registration and real names on their comment boards? I’m so tired of reading news articles littered with racism and pure lunacy in the comment sections.

    • THEE Yard Ape

      @Tom- I agree, after all how do we know your real name is Tom!!?? Here’s a novel idea, READ THE STORY & here’s the important part…………………………………………DON’T READ THE COMMENTS!!!

    • Jim

      Tom, The freedom to express oneself freely is why most of us enjoy this particular blog. I’m sure you can find something more suited to your taste. China, Iran, and Russia control what their people say and think. Maybe you should check out a blog from one of those countries.

      • Me

        @Tom, I totally agree with your statements about the racist rhetoric…but that’s one of the good things about America and the ‘net.

      • Just Axin

        Percy- Whitey made the mistake of putting Obama in, but they didn’t vote for Smith. Also, Blacks are the only group that when their economic status changes, their voting habits do not (unlike other groups)

  • Just Axin

    Tom- Sashay on over to the ABC web site; they don’t like many comments at all.

  • State Panel To Review Charges Against Rep. Derrick Smith « CBS Chicago

    […] Smith was appointed state representative for the 10th District, which covers portions of Chicago’s Near West and Near Northwest sides, in March 2011. Even while under indictment, he won the primary for reelection against Tom Swiss, a longtime Chicago… […]

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