With his Nov. 30 resignation now official, former Ald. Ed Smith (28th) has recently endorsed a candidate to replace him in February’s election: Jason C. Ervin, a longtime Smith supporter and adviser, who recently stepped down as village manager of Maywood, according to news reports.
Smith announced last month that he would resign from his 28th Ward alderman’s seat, a post he’s held since 1983. He gave little explanation at the time as to why he was not staying through the end of his term.
In an interview with AustinTalks, Smith maintained, “I’m not sick. I’m not indicted…I just decided it was time for me to go,” adding that he wants to put his energy toward campaigning for his picks for 28th Ward alderman and mayor-Ervin and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.
But if Smith’s opinion sways appointment-maker Mayor Richard Daley, Smith’s pick for the Feb. 22 election could wind up getting a boost on Election Day.
Technically, Daley appoints the person to finish Smith’s term, said Dick Simpson, head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former Chicago alderman, but historically, that decision has really been made by the outgoing alderman.
“The mayor usually selects the person the alderman recommends. That’s the standard way Mayor Daley does it. I think the timing (of Smith’s resignation) probably has to do with trying to be able to ensure his successor,” Simpson said.
Ald. Smith stopped short of saying he would ask Daley to appoint Ervin, insisting: “That’s the mayor’s call.” But the alderman called Ervin “a very talented young man” and “I’m definitely going to support him for the election.”
Ervin and Smith met 14 years, according to the alderman. Ervin became a volunteer and adviser to Smith.