CHICAGO (CBS) — Former state Rep. Derrick Smith has been indicted for taking a $7,000 cash bribe, and kicked out of the Illinois House, but he still has a good chance of winning back the seat in his West Side district on Tuesday.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports Smith is way ahead in the polls in the 10th District, despite losing his seat in the General Assembly and facing a federal trial next year.
Smith is running against attorney Lance Tyson, who served as former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger’s chief of staff.
Smith won the Democratic Party primary in March, just days after his arrest for allegedly taking a bribe in exchange for supporting a state grant for a daycare center in his district.
Democratic leaders tried to convince him to step down, but when he wouldn’t leave the race, they picked Tyson to run as an independent candidate against Smith.
On Friday, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White – Smith’s former mentor –several other top Democrats, and a group of West Side ministers held a rally for Tyson.
“Enough is enough, and we need better,” White said. “I’m going to work hard to defeat him.”
White backed Smith during the primary, hoping Smith would later resign and drop out of the race.
“We wanted to make sure the seat remained in the hands of the Democrats, and not go to the Republicans,” Smith said.
At the time, Smith was running against former Cook County Republican Party director Tom Swiss, who was posing as a Democrat. However, Smith did not step down after the primary and, although the Illinois House voted to expel him from the legislature, Smith stayed on the ballot for the general election.
Tyson said he brings a level of “competency” to the table that Smith does not, “having practiced law for 15 years, but more importantly having served the taxpayers of the city of Chicago before the Illinois General Assembly.”
Quinn has also endorsed Tyson.
“Lance is an honest, hardworking, diligent, committed person,” the governor said.
Aldermen Walter Burnett (27th) and Jason Ervin (28th) also attended the Tyson rally on Friday.
Those living in the 10th District, have different thoughts on the race.
Sue Blair said, “I don’t trust either one. I have no faith in them.
But another 10th District resident said Smith deserves a second chance.
Smith did not respond to requests for comment.