Scott Lee Cohen: Democrats Forced Me Out Because Of My Integrity

Scott Lee Cohen, the Chicago pawnbroker who dropped out of the Illinois lieutenant governor race only to announce this week that he’s running for governor, said on MSNBC today that Democrats had forced him out of the race because he “stood for honesty and integrity.”

“I was forced out by the Democratic Party,” Cohen said today on MSNBC. “Because I wasn’t the good ol’ boy, I wasn’t a career politician. I was a successful small business owner. I stood for honesty and integrity, something that Illinois politics doesn’t know.”Cohen dropped out of the race in February amid allegations of steroid abuse, sexual assault (of his ex-wife), domestic abuse (of his ex-girlfriend) and failure to pay child support. Democrats, including Cohen’s would-be running mate Gov. Pat Quinn, had been vocal about urging him to bow out.

He announced this week that he’s running for governor as an independent instead.

“These were things that I deeply regret. A lot of it was allegations that aren’t true,” he said.

Cohen also said getting 25,000 signatures by June 21 to qualify for the ballot will be a “challenge.” He added, however, that supporters had come to his house and “begged” him to run.

Reached yesterday by TPMDC, a spokeswoman for Cohen declined to set up an interview, saying the campaign is mostly “on lockdown” for the time being.

Her comment came after Cohen joked on a local radio show that the answer to Illinois’ troubles is to “Shoot all elected the politicians.”