In the Illinois primary elections on Tuesday, candidates on Chicago’s Democratic ballot will include someone who served a prison term for bribery, another who is due to go on trial on bribery charges this spring and a third charged with bank fraud.
“It’s a terrible indictment” of the local political culture, said Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman who teaches at University of Illinois at Chicago. “There is still a patronage-based political army on the West Side of Chicago.”
Political experts say all three candidates are either guaranteed victory or heavily favored to win.
The candidates include Isaac “Ike” Carothers, a former Chicago alderman who was sentenced to 28 months for bribery and tax fraud, and is now running for commissioner of the Cook County Board. He was released from prison in late 2011.
Derrick Smith, a state representative, was expelled by the Illinois House in 2012 after he was charged with taking a $7,000 bribe, but then won his seat back and is now running for re-election. His trial date has been set for the spring.
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