SPRINGFIELD — Chicago Democratic leaders are forming an alternative party to put up a candidate in the November election against indicted Rep. Derrick Smith, a Democrat who won the primary.
Smith has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of taking a $7,000 cash bribe. The Illinois House is trying to determine whether he should be censured or expelled.
The new party is being formed because Smith has said he plans to fight the charges and has shown no interest in exiting the contest. Smith won the primary with the help of Democratic leaders who wanted voters to support Smith to keep the seat in Democratic hands. Because Smith is staying on the ballot, the Democratic leaders are now looking for someone to run against him.
People interested in the new 10th District Unity Party can go to www.10thdistrictunityparty.com according to David Druker, spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White. Forty-seven questions are asked, ranging from whether a person has committed a crime to what potential candidates' legislative priorities would be.
White, the Democratic committeeman of the 27th Ward, will hold a hearing May 22 at the painter’s union hall at 1645 W. Adams to review applicants, Druker said.
“The goal is to come up with a top-notch candidate” to face Smith in the November election, Druker said.
Smith, who used to work for White in the secretary of state's office, was picked in March 2011 to fill a House vacancy. White led the panel that selected Smith.
The district runs roughly from Lincoln Park on the east to Wicker Park on the West Side of Chicago.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun