Friday, August 24, 2012

EXTRA: A bizarre little twist

Could we be seeing the concept of “state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago” once again in the near future?
SMITH: Will he be back?

I’m not quite sure what to make of the fact that the political powers-that-be on the West Side have picked a replacement to finish out the rest of Smith’s term – which runs through January.

EDDIE WINTERS, WHOSE career is as a Chicago police officer who has run token campaigns for the Legislature, was picked to be the Illinois House 10th District state representative. Not that it’s going to take up much of his time.

He’ll have to be in Springfield come November when the General Assembly reconvenes for a couple of weeks for the fall veto session. Then, he’ll have to show up in January for the last couple of days of the current legislative session.

Then he gets to go back home, and will be able to add the line to his resume that he was an Illinois state representative – albeit one that no one will remember years from now.

What is strange about this is the fact that this is the campaign where Democrats in the district are throwing their backing behind an independent candidate to try to keep Smith from winning re-election on Nov. 6 – just three months after he became the first legislator to be expelled in more than a century.

THAT CANDIDATE IS Lance Tyson (a former aide to Todd Stroger when he was Cook County Board president), and it would have seemed ever-so-logical for Tyson to be picked as the replacement legislator so as to give him the image of incumbency.

Any advantage that would allow Tyson to actually gain votes from people in a district that goes knee-jerk Democrat (and likely won’t put much thought into the idea of Smith being too tainted by the federal indictment pending against him to get their vote) would have seemed natural. And yes, the only token Republican was too weak to even stay on the ballot.

Besides, picking the desired replacement to complete a predecessor’s term is the way it often gets done in Springfield. When Constance Howard resigned her seat months before her planned retirement, it was a no-brainer that Elsie Sims would get to add the “state Rep.” and “D-Chicago” to his name five months earlier than he originally anticipated.

Could there be some serious hesitation about Tyson getting too comfortable? Or could it be clueless political operatives who aren’t too clear about what they’re doing?

WHICH WOULD MAKE me wonder if they’re really up to the task of letting the voters of the legislative district to vote a nearly-straight Democratic ticket on Nov. 6 – all except for the state representative candidate?

All in all, it makes me incredibly pleased to be of South Side origins, rather than coming from the West Side. It would be headache-inducing for me, at least, to have to cope with this voter decision personally.


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