Lt. Governor nominee Scott Lee Cohen insists he won’t step down, despite a whirlwind of media attention focused on his shady past.
"I have no intention of stepping down or stepping aside," Cohen who spent close to $2 million of his own money on the race said repeatedly Thursday.
Technically, the Illinois Democratic Party is powerless to force the former pawnbroker, steroid user and alleged domestic violence purveyor, to take himself off the ticket, the Daily Herald reports. It’s an oddity of politics that voters essentially select the governor’s running mate for him.
But Governor Pat Quinn, who has been saddled with Cohen on the trail, said he'd spoken with House Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan about Cohen and hinted that behind the scenes action was underway.
"That matter will be resolved properly," Quinn said Thursday. "I really don't believe this issue will be with us much longer."
If the party does manage to convince Cohen to move aside, then the party will have a say in who should replace him. Party leaders could, by all means, bypass the other five candidates who ran in the primary and ask Dan Hynes to fill the spot, for example.
That move would be ideal compared to the ailing ticket the Democrats are forced to promote in the coming weeks and months.
While the Lt. Governor position is essentially a non-factor when it comes to governing, the office does come with unique and powerful opportunities. Quinn was Lt. Governor and assumed the executive role once Rod Blagojevich was bounced from office.
Cohen, a political unknown, managed to slip through the contest without much hubbub, but the fact that he’s a hair’s breath from running the state could give some voters pause.
And while he’s been adamant that he would'nt go quietly into that political night, there is a ray of light for the party. When pressed on the question of retiring his candidacy, Cohen did say: "I would have to seriously think about it. I would never, ever do anything to hurt the people of Illinois."
Guess that definition of "people" doesn't include the Democratic ticket.