Candidate for Illinois House seat pounces on opponent's expulsion

August 20, 2012

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A candidate for an Illinois state House seat is reacting to the unusual circumstance of having his Democratic opponent kicked out of office.

The Illinois House of Representatives voted last week to expel Derrick Smith from office because he’s accused of taking a bribe. The final vote was 100 representatives voting in favor of expulsion, six opposed and three voted "present." Just after legislators took the vote in Springfield on Friday, Smith held a press conference in Chicago.

"I intend to remain on the ballot and run for office in November," Smith told reporters.

In fact, Smith is on the ballot, although Democratic leaders have mostly abandoned him. Most Democrats are instead supporting attorney Lance Tyson, who’s running against Smith. Except Tyson isn't running as a Democrat. Tyson created a new party called the 10th District Unity Party.

Tyson said Smith’s removal is reverberating throughout his West Side district.

"Derrick Smith politics is over," Tyson said Monday. "The politics of selfishness, the politics of putting one’s own interest before the people’s, the taxpayers, that those days are over."

Democratic ward committeemen could appoint a temporary replacement before November’s election between Tyson and Smith.