Cohen Won't Rule Out Independent Run - NBC Chicago

Cohen Won't Rule Out Independent Run

Neither Madigan nor Quinn offer to reimburse the ex-Lt. Gov. nominee



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    Scott Lee Cohen may switch his affiliation.

    Cohen to run as an independent? He's not ruling it out.

    The pawnbroker-cum-politician who withdrew from the general election after being excoriated for abusing steroids, allegedly threatened his family and held a knife to the throat of a prostitute alluded to the possibility he would run independently in an interview Monday.

    "I ran for office to help the people," Cohen said. "The problem was the media was hammering me so bad...This is more outrageous because I gave the people the opportunity to know. It was out there, they all knew!"

    Asked whether he wouldn't run for office, Cohen said "I never said that. I realized from this whole thing that every single thing you say is on the record."

    As for the signatures required to run as an independent, Cohen says it wouldn't be a problem.

    "You know how many signatures I had before? 47 thousand."

    Cohen withdrew from the race Sunday evening in a tearful announcement at the Hop Haus Tavern.

    In the Monday interview on WLS Radio, an obviously frustrated and sometimes tearful Cohen said he was just trying to help the people of Illinois and listed a litany of complaints against politicians and the media.

    Cohen also took the opportunity to reiterate his claim that he never attacked anyone.

    "I just want to reassure, especially the women who voted for me -- I never ever hurt that woman I was with, I never hurt my ex-wife," Cohen said. "I respect women, I respect men, I just respect people in general. If I was hiding anything, I would've sealed those records. I'm not a saint, I never said I was a saint."

    As several women called in to express their outrage, Cohen's voice cracked and he sniffled several times.

    Cohen's withdrawal was at the behest of Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, who told him in no uncertain terms that his candidacy would undermine the Democratic party's chances in November.

    But Cohen said Madigan didn't offer him anything for withdrawing.

    "There were no promises," Cohen said. "He never promised he was going to fundraise for me."

    Cohen also noted that no politicians called him to congratulate him on his primary win, but they had no problem telling the media that he shouldn't run.

    He said Mayor Daley stepped up and refused to suggest Cohen drop out. Ald. Dick Mell also supported him. But Cohen never spoke to Gov. Pat Quinn, perhaps Cohen's most vociferous critic.

    Quinn said he also didn't offer to reimburse Cohen, who spent $2 million of his own funds on the campaign.

    "I've gotten no respect from the day I won until today," Cohen said.