While incumbent 10th District state Rep. Derrick Smith insists he is a "new man" following his election night trouncing of Lance Tyson last Tuesday, Secretary of State Jesse White is calling Smith's victory a "black eye" for the state.
After winning in the March Democratic Primary, Smith, who was indicted that month on federal corruption charges for accepting a bribe, won handily in the Nov. 6 general election against Tyson. An attorney who reportedly lives outside of the 10th District, Smith ran under the "Unity Party" banner.
White backed Tyson in the election and is expressing outrage over Smith's victory.
"It's not only what he did but his history. He has a checkered past," White said to reporters following the city's annual Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony on Sunday in downtown Chicago.
Federal authorities indicted Smith a week before the March 20 Primary. He's accused of accepting a 7,000 cash payment from an informant in exchange for writing a letter in support of day care center looking to receive a $50,000 state grant. Smith has denied the charge. White, meanwhile, has been critical of the incumbent.
"Why would the federal government seek him out to give him an opportunity to receive $7,000 in the form of bribery?" White asked. "They undoubtedly knew what I knew but yet it wasn't properly conveyed to the people of the district."
Smith was appointed state rep in March 2011 by Chicago Democratic committeemen to replace Annazette Collins, who was also appointed that month as 5th District state senator, taking over the seat from Rickey Hendon after his resignation. White was among the committeemen who initially backed Smith's appointment as state rep.
In August, Smith was expelled from the House by his General Assembly peers. Some of those lawmakers are reportedly meeting to figure out what can be done to prevent Smith from taking office in January.
When told of that situation, White responded: "That I don't know, but I wish them well because the people on the West Side of Chicago have paid their fair share of individuals who have been in violation of the law...There is a lot of history when it comes to Derrick Smith and if I had known then what I know now, I would not have been a part of helping him get the appointment."