CHICAGO (CBS) – Despite having been indicted for allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe, and having been booted out of the Illinois House, former state Rep. Derrick Smith has won his seat back in the General Assembly.
Smith easily won his bid in the 10th District on the West Side, defeating challenger Lance Tyson, who was picked by Democratic Party leaders for an independent run against Smith under the 10th District Unity Party banner. With 72 percent of the vote counted, Smith was winning 62 percent to 38 percent.
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.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White – Smith’s former mentor – and Gov. Pat Quinn had led the charge to keep Smith from winning back his seat, endorsing Tyson and urging voters to back Tyson.
But the 10th District is a district where many voters traditionally vote a straight Democratic ticket, hampering Tyson’s ability to mount a successful challenge.
White and other West Side Democrats backed Smith during the primary, hoping Smith would later resign and drop out of the race.
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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 Smith stayed on the ballot for the general election.
The Illinois House voted to expel him from the General Assembly this summer, but the state constitution does not allow a lawmaker to be expelled twice for the same offense.
However, Smith still risks losing his seat again next year if he’s convicted of the bribery charge.