West Side Democrats taking on Derrick Smith
05/16/2012 3:24 PM
Leaders of Chicago’s Democratic establishment, spurned in their efforts to get accused bribe-taking state Rep. Derrick Smith (10th) to resign, have decided to run a candidate against him in this fall’s general election.
Since they can’t force him to step down from his seat, they’re forming a new political party to run against him dubbed the 10th District Unity Party, according to Dave Druker , a spokesman for Secretary of State and 27th Ward Committeeman Jesse White.
By forming a third political party, Druker said people who voted in the Democratic primary are eligible to run for the seat — a move that frees up loyal Democrats to run. The other option, fielding a party-agnostic independent candidate, would have barred those who voted in the Democratic primary from running.
The process will be run much like the one that put Smith in the office in the first place last year, when the Democratic committeemen who cover the 10th District voted for Smith to replace Annazette Collins in the state legislature.
But this time, Druker said, the screening process will be much more rigorous. Candidates wanting to run with the party’s blessing must fill out a survey available online at 10thdistrictunityparty.com by Friday, May 18. It includes agreeing to a background check, as well as questions about criminal history, lawsuits, and past discipline at jobs.
“It’s much more intense” than past questionnaires, Druker said. “I think even if Mr. Smith had resigned, they would have gone through the same intense questioning of individuals.”
The candidate will be picked at a public meeting 9 a.m. on May 22 at the Painter’s Council union hall, 1456 W. Adams St. in Chicago.