Lt. gov candidate won't stand aside

Feb. 4, 2010 at 6:38 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The winner of the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in Illinois said Thursday he will not step aside as Gov. Pat Quinn has requested.

Scott Lee Cohen, a Chicago pawnbroker who won a six-way primary Tuesday, said he wants his ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend to come clean about a 2005 domestic violence arrest, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He said he was in a "difficult time" in his life and had an argument with his inebriated girlfriend. Cohen said he did not strike her, but she called the police and had him arrested.

"I was going through a divorce, and I started running with a fast group. I was in a tumultuous relationship with the woman I was dating," he said. "We had a fight, but I never touched her. She called the police; however, she never came to court, and the charges were dismissed. I realized this relationship was not healthy, I ended it, and we parted amicably."

Cohen issued a second statement saying he had tried to talk about the issue during the campaign, but no one wanted to listen because they assumed he had no chance to win.

Quinn held an hour-long news conference, never mentioning Cohen by name but saying he "has an obligation to step aside" if his past becomes a problem for the Democratic party and that candidates unable to run "in a proper way" in November should stand down.

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