Signatures to Spare - NBC Chicago

Signatures to Spare

Cohen team says it gathered 133,000 signatures in 5 weeks



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    Independent candidate for governor Scott Lee Cohen wheels a stack of signatures petitions to get him on the November ballot.

    Scott Lee Cohen says he's done it.

    The would-be independent candidate for governor has had teams of signature collectors out of the streets for weeks, trying to gather the required 25,000 by Monday's deadline.

    Just before a Sunday afternoon news conference at his campaign headquarters, Cohen spokesman John Davis said they have the 25,000 -- plus more than 100,000 to spare.  In total, the campaign says they have 133,170 signatures -- more than 5 times the required number.

    Cohen and his lieutenant governor candidate, former campaign staffer Baxter Swilley, showed off by helping their team do the heavy lifting to get all the petitions on a truck Sunday, so they could be delivered to the state Board of Elections on time.

    Before helping to load them on the truck, Cohen and Swilley stood next to the waist-high stack of petitions.  Beside them was a cardboard cut-out of Gov. Pat Quinn, and a much smaller stack representing the 5,000 signatures they say he'd need as an incumbent.

    At an earlier event, Cohen called that disparity in the number of required signatures "a very powerful career politician protection plan."

    "It keeps the career politician in office and makes it very hard for a newcomer to get on the ballot,” Cohen said.

    In a campaign news release, Cohen said he was very confident his signatures would stand up against a legal challenge already in the works by the state

    Democratic Party