Cohen denies deal was made for resignation

February 9, 2010 4:36:02 AM PST
As party leaders look for a replacement, Scott Lee Cohen said pressure on his family and party concerns led to his resignation as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. Cohen is moving on but not without admitting he is angry and disappointed. The pawnbroker-turned-politician tearfully took himself out of the lieutenant governor's race Sunday night. Pressure on his family and party concerns are what made Cohen decide enough is enough.

"If the Democrats lose in November, I don't want the people in the state of Illinois to ever be able to say it was because of Scott Lee Cohen," said Cohen.

Cohen is supporting the party that he says put him through the ringer. While he says he was promised nothing for dropping out, Cohen believes it would be honorable for the Democratic Party to pay him back for the $2 million he sunk into the race out of his own pocket.

State Rep. Art Turner wished he had that kind of money. Turner finished second behind Cohen.

"I was trying to get my message out. I just didn't have $2 million to let the people know I'm the best candidate for the position," said Turner.

After 29 years in the state House, Turner's campaign for lieutenant governor's is starting all over.

Turner spent Monday calling the 38 men and women who make up the Illinois Democratic Central Committee. The members, along with party chairman and House Speaker Michael Madigan, will pick the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

"For the best interest of the party, it should be someone who helps balance the entire ticket," said Alderman Ricardo Munoz, 22nd Ward.

Congressman Danny Davis is on the central committee. While he says he welcomes anyone who is interested in the job, Davis seems to have his mind made up on Art Turner.

"I certainly would be supporting him should he come before the committee," said Davis.

While the party did not slate a candidate for the primary, Michael Madigan did endorse Art Turner. However, that does not mean Turner is a shoe-in for the job.

Senator Dick Durbin is encouraging the central committee to look beyond the five names that were on the primary ballot.

Cohen says he is not closing the door on politics.

Democratic leaders look for replacement

Democratic Party leaders are trying to figure out who to place in the lieutenant governor spot left vacant by Cohen on the ballot in November.

If history is any teacher, the Democratic Party powers-that-be will make their deal to select Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate in private. Then the state central committee will ratify the decision that will have already been made by the bosses.

ABC7 learned Monday that one very high-profile name has been removed from consideration. In a matter of fact way, Governor Quinn eliminated his primary opponent, Dan Hynes, from the list of possible candidates.

"I met with Comptroller Hynes this morning. We had a very good meeting and he told me he was not interested," said Quinn.

Quinn said he'd work with state Democratic chairman Michael Madigan and the party's central committee to replace Cohen, who resigned after allegations that Cohen abused his ex-girlfriend, a former prostitute; injected steroids; and failed to make timely child support payments in the past five years.

Cohen defeated five other candidates in last week's weeks Democratic primary. Senator Dick Durbin said Monday the party should look beyond the five for a replacement.

The Illinois Democratic Central Committee has 38 members made up of one male and one female from each of the state's 19 congressional districts. Their vote is weighted according to the number of Democrats who voted in their respective districts in last week's primary. Their next meeting is March 15th but Chairman Madigan could assemble the committee earlier.

Governor Quinn says he wants a wide open process in which anyone of legal age and residence could apply.

"I'm open-minded to the number of folks who will come forward. I encourage anyone who is are interested to let us know," said Quinn.

Despite the uncertainty caused by the Cohen resignation, some party leaders say the situation will work to party's advantage. Now they can tailor the ticket to oppose the Republicans who still don't know who still don't who will be their candidate for governor.

Cohen's ex-girlfriend releases statement:

Gloria Allred, the attorney of Cohen's ex-girlfriend, released a statement on Monday for her client.

?On Saturday, February 6, 2010, we issued a statement on behalf of Amanda Eneman, Scott Lee Cohen's former girlfriend.? Mr. Cohen had previously invited his former girlfriend to speak out and she did.? In the statement, Ms. Eneman indicated that Mr. Cohen was not fit for any public office including that of Lt. Governor.??????????????

????Yesterday, the day after she issued her statement, ?Mr. Cohen dropped out of the race.?Ms. Eneman's statement may have been the final straw for his ill fated campaign.????????????????

?Ms. Eneman believes that the lesson to be learned from all of this is that politicians should be beyond reproach and live their lives in a way that reflects the high standard that the public has the right to expect.??????????

? ???? Ms. Eneman did not ask to be thrust into this public debate and would have preferred not to have been part of it.? It has been embarrassing for her to be the subject of discussion and to hear false statements being made about her.? I commend her for speaking out.? She has displayed an enormous amount of courage in order to make sure that the people of Illinois have elected officials of whom they can be proud.?