The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Dems Want Derrick Smith To Resign Now That Primary Is Over

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 23, 2012 3:00PM

2012_3_23_derrick_smith.jpg Now that State Rep. Derrick Smith won his Tuesday primary election against tom Swiss, high-ranking Democrats are calling for him to resign from his seat.

And politicians wonder why voter turnout was so low?

Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Smith's political backer, said that Smith's arrest last week for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe would hinder his ability to represent his district. Funny how they didn't say that in the days before the primary.

White said Wednesday:

"The allegations in the charge against him convey unacceptable conduct, making it extremely difficult to represent the citizens of the district," White said. "The public would be much better served if Derrick were to step down."

Quinn, who was in Brussels on a trade mission related to the May NATO summit in Chicago, said the allegations represent a "cloud hanging over" him.

Smith was nabbed in an FBI undercover sting last week of allegedly accepting a bribe in return for supporting a bid for a state grant. The FBi supposedly has audio of Smith accepting the cash. Last weekend, Democrats including Congressman Danny Davis and 27th ward Ald. Walter Burnett attended a rally for Smith where they urged supporters to vote for him. In a case of old school racial politics, Davis and Burnett adopted the motto “No defeat or retreat — keep the Dem seat,” while stressing Swiss' former Republican allegiances as reasons to vote for Smith. Davis now says the rally was more about keeping the seat in Democratic control than as a show of support for Smith.

"I was glad to see Derrick win the election, but I think in reality one can say that Democrats won the election," Davis said. "I don't think they were necessarily voting for Derrick, but I think they were saying 'Democrat, Democrat, Democrat.'"

"It's not just about the man, but it's also about, as Ossie Davis said, the plan," Davis said. "So I think people were intelligent enough, they were wise enough, they understood enough that they wanted to give themselves another chances to get a good, solid Democrat to represent them."

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who contributed more than $60,000 to Smith's campaign, is keeping quiet. If Smith resigns, his successor would be chosen by Democratic party committeemen whose wards include Smith's district, in a weighted ballot. 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack said he plans to reach out to White to ensure a better process in choosing a successor. White holds the most clout in a weighted ballot to choose Smith's successor.