Scott Lee Cohen, a businessman who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Illinois in Tuesday’s primary, is insisting that he will not drop out of the race. Cohen has come under fire for allegations of domestic violence, involving a 2005 arrest for allegedly holding a knife to a then-girlfriend’s throat.
“I have no intention of stepping down or stepping aside,” Cohen said in a statement. “When the facts come to light, after my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend speak, the people of Illinois can decide, and I will listen to them directly. I am asking my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend to come forward and to talk with the media.
“There are questions, and I will provide all answers honestly and openly. I only ask for time to do the interviews. 2005 was a difficult time in my life. I was going through a divorce, and I started running with a fast group. I was in a tumultuous relationship with the woman I was dating. We had a fight, but I never touched her. She called the police, however, she never came to court, and the charges were dismissed. I realized this relationship was not healthy, I ended it, and we parted amicably.”Gov. Pat Quinn, who won a close race in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, earlier today raised the possibility that Cohen should withdraw from the race. “If there are matters that are raised about your conduct that disqualify you from running in a proper way for an election in the fall, then the only appropriate thing is to step aside. And I think that’s what we’re looking at here,” said Quinn.
It should be noted that while Quinn and Cohen are technically “running mates,” in the sense that they will be listed together on the general election ballot in the same way that people vote for president and vice president, Quinn did not pick Cohen. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Illinois are nominated in separate primaries, but then run together as a ticket in the general election.
Quinn, a former lieutenant governor who succeeded to his office a year ago after the impeachment and removal of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, won his own primary with just over 50% in a two-way race. Meanwhile, Cohen was nominated with a 26% plurality in a field of six candidates.