Indicted ex-lawmaker poses dilemma for Ill. Dems

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In this Oct. 24, 2012 photo, Unity Party candidate Lance Tyson, center, campaigns in Illinois' 10th legislative district in Chicago where he is challenging Derrick Smith. Smith, a former state representative indicted on federal bribery charges - and on the ballot as a Democrat - is fighting to regain the seat he was expelled from in August. A victory for Smith could be another embarrassment for a party and a state that already have a reputation for corruption, party leaders say, and they are going to great lengths to defeat Smith. The district’s Democratic party committeemen announced a new political party called the "10th District Unity Party" and selected Tyson as their candidate to take on Smith. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Punching a straight Democratic ticket on Election Day has been a Chicago tradition for decades.

But this November, the automatic vote is turning out to be a little too dependable for the state's Democratic leaders. The feared victory Tuesday of a former state lawmaker indicted on federal bribery charges has party leaders scrambling to defeat one of their own.

Former state Rep. Derrick Smith is trying to regain his seat in the Illinois House. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officials including the governor and secretary of state worry that a Smith victory could be another embarrassment in a city and state with a reputation for corruption.

They've backing another Democrat, Lance Tyson, who's running under the "Unity Party" banner.

Political consultant Delmarie Cobb says Tyson faces an uphill battle.