Gov. Pat Quinn says he supports the efforts of the secretary of state to create a third political party to challenge an indicted state representative. The secretary of state is creating the “10th District Unity Party” to slate a candidate to challenge State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago), who has been indicted on federal bribery charges.
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“Secretary of State [Jesse] White and I have worked together on many, many different causes and I look forward to working with him on this cause,” Quinn said. “I think he’s on the right track. We’ll get a good person elected and I’m sure the 10th District party will be able to get the job done.”
The purpose of the new party will be to elect a respectable candidate in the heavily Democratic district, with the Democratic nomination in the hands of Smith. There has been a fair amount of interest in running for the seat against Smith, according to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), who says his office has been fielding calls from potential candidates. “Well, it’s amazing how many people are really interested,” Davis said with a laugh. “There is a large number of individuals who still have hope relative to the importance of public elected office, and I guess at least 10 or 12 people have called me.” Davis is not on the committee that will be making the decision on a candidate. Smith, who has refused to step down from office, is accused of taking $7,000 in exchange for his help in getting a state grant for a fictitious daycare operator, part of an FBI sting. He pleaded not guilty late last month. The Unity Party will begin interviewing candidates next week.