Cohen Announces IL Gov Candidacy After Quitting Lt. Gov Race Over Abuse Charges

Scott Lee Cohen, a pawnbroker who dropped out of the Illinois lieutenant governor race in February over allegations of domestic abuse and other scandals, announced today that he instead will run for governor as an independent.

The mostly unknown Cohen had won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor earlier this year, but his campaign was quickly thwarted by reports that he had been charged with domestic abuse in 2005 for allegedly holding a knife to his girlfriend’s throat and slamming her head into a wall. He has also admitted to steroid abuse and his ex-wife, in divorce proceedings, claimed he had tried to sexually assault her.“Illinois needs honesty more than perfection,” Cohen said this morning, according to the Chicago Tribune. He said he has no running mate and encouraged interested parties to contact him.

Cohen needs to collect 25,000 signatures by June 21 to qualify for the ballot.

He dropped out of the lieutenant governor’s race in a tearful announcement during the Super Bowl. “For the good of the people of the state of Illinois and for the Democratic Party, I will resign,” he said then, with The Who’s halftime performance playing in the background.

He had been called on by Illinois Democrats, including his presumptive running mate Gov. Pat Quinn, to step aside.