House Vote Next Month On Smith’s Fate Not The Final Word
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – Indicted State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) will find out next month if he’ll be kicked out of the Illinois House for allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe, but even if he is, that doesn’t mean he won’t be back.
The Illinois House is scheduled to reconvene on Aug. 17 to consider whether Smith should face disciplinary action for his federal indictment on bribery charges.
The House Select Committee on Discipline voted 11-1 earlier this month in favor of kicking Smith out of the House, and all indications are the full House will vote to expel him from the chamber.
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But, even if that happens, Smith will remain on the ballot for the 10th District seat in November. The only way he can be removed from the race is if he drops out voluntarily.
“There’s nothing in state law that would preclude him from running for office in November,” said State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), who chaired the disciplinary committee.
Smith was arrested on a bribery charge shortly before the March primary, and won the Democratic nomination. Top party leaders encouraged Democratic voters to cast their ballots for Smith in March, in order to prevent a Republican posing as a Democrat from getting the nomination. Afterward, party leaders urged Smith to drop out, but he refused, and top Democrats put up a third-party candidate to run against Smith in November.
Lance Tyson, a onetime chief of staff for Stroger, was picked to run as the 10th District Unity Party candidate to challenge Smith. Republican Kimberly Small has been removed from the November ballot, after challengers successfully invalidated most of the 1,300 petition signatures she filed to run in the 10th District.
Currie brushed aside questions about the Democratic Party’s involvement in Smith’s primary victory, adding, “I think it’s unfortunate that Mr. Smith has decided not to resign his post and not to resign from the ballot.”
Smith has been accused of accepting $7,000 in cash from an FBI informant in exchange for supporting a state grant for a daycare center.
If Smith wins the general election in November, he could be seated again in January, and face another effort to kick him out of the House.