Ald. Ervin Calls on Rep. Smith to Quit Race for General Assembly

By Ted Cox on February 7, 2014 6:26pm 

 Ald. Jason Ervin called on state Rep. Derrick Smith to resign.
Ald. Jason Ervin called on state Rep. Derrick Smith to resign.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — A West Side alderman has called on two General Assembly candidates to drop out of next month's primary.

"The residents of my community are expressing serious concerns about the lack of integrity of the individuals running for office," Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said this week at a City Hall news conference.

Ervin called on incumbent state Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) to resign and drop his bid for re-election, and for challenger Eddie Winters, a Chicago police sergeant, to drop out of next month's Democratic primary as well.

Neither Smith nor Winters responded Friday to requests for comment.

Smith has been fighting bribery and corruption charges for two years since being snared in a federal sting for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe to write a formal letter of support for a day-care center. He has entered a plea of not guilty, and is scheduled to face trial in May.

"This case continues to drag on far beyond the normal case," Ervin said.

Smith, in fact, was expelled by his colleagues in the General Assembly two years ago, and Winters was appointed to replace him on an interim basis. But Smith remained on the November ballot, having won the Democratic primary, and was returned to office in the general election by voters in the 10th Representative District, which stretches from Lincoln Park through Garfield Park to Austin. Ervin had backed a third-party challenger, Lance Tyson.

Ervin renewed those charges this week. "Those who violate the [public] trust generate the most damage," Ervin said.

Ervin said Smith had not initiated a single piece of passed legislation and was not serving the district. "Our representatives are fighting personal battles and not the battles of our community," Ervin said. "I'm asking Derrick Smith to be the bigger person and not continue in his selfish ways and do the community justice and step aside."

Ervin also called on Winters to drop out of the race.

House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has come out in support of Derrick Smith as the incumbent. Winters claims the support of Gov. Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White and City Council progressives Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd) and Scott Waguespack (32nd).

Smith faces five challengers, four of them in next month's Democratic primary, including Winters.

Pamela Reaves-Harris claims Ervin's support in the primary, but Ervin did not back her in making his accusations, saying, "For me, right now, it's not about supporting a candidate or anyone. This is about these two individuals and their continued deception to degenerate the district."

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