Lately, the aspiring governor/conspiracy theorist has been claiming he surrendered the lieutenant governor’s nomination because an unnamed, high ranking party official threatened to ship him to the gulag.
And then he told WLS on Saturday: "It was, if you don't drop out today, then all your tax records better be in impeccable order, because someone’s going to jail. And then I was told, if they couldn't find anything to put me in jail over, they’d still put me in jail. They would make something up to put me in jail. They did not want me on that ticket.”
But now, there’s a more tangible threat to Cohen’s independent candidacy: another independent candidate. Namely, William “Dock” Walls, whose zeal for holding public office is exceeded only by his lack of political success.
Walls was Harold Washington’s personal assistant -- i.e., his “body man” -- from 1983 to 1986. Being that close to the mayor inspired him to want to be mayor himself. In 2007, Walls challenged Mayor Daley, receiving 8 percent of the vote. Setting his sights a bit lower, he challenged Bobby Rush for Congress in 2008 -- and received 8 percent of the vote.
Walls is now setting his sights even lower, by aiming to fill Rod Blagojevich’s shoes. On his campaign website , he declares he is “not part of the Republican or Democrat Machines, which protect and perpetuate their selfish interests to the detriment of taxpayers. In fact, we oppose those good old boy networks. We are not beholden to the Banks, Big Businesses or Big Government Contractors. We will fight to foil their schemes to get rich at the taxpayers expense.”
Although Walls misspells his own first name several times, he’s got some good ideas: he wants to save money by switching state employees to a four-day-a-week, 10-hour-a-day schedule, reduce the prison population by reducing non-violent offenders, and raising taxes on out-of-state residents who work in Illinois (“specifically Indiana residents”). “Tax the Hoosier” isn’t going to lose him any votes in this state.
Walls has been around Chicago politics. He managed Joyce Washington’s campaign for lieutenant governor, was national political director for Rainbow PUSH and headed his own 527 group, the Committee for a Better Chicago, which collected $12,565 during its existence. He knows how to get on a ballot, too. When he challenged Daley, he submitted 39,000 signatures, even more than the mayor.
Unfortunately, the diligent Walls -- still married to the mother of his three children -- is less colorful than the miscreant Cohen, who is turning into the Sideshow Bob of Illinois politics. That’s why Cohen is interviewed on WLS and Walls has been campaigning on … CAN-TV.
Maybe there should be equal time for independent candidates, too.