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What Chicago election is complete without elements of domestic violence, prostitution and tax evasion?
A Chicago pawnbroker who financed his campaign with nearly $2 million of his own wealth, Scott Lee Cohen Tuesday won the Democratic Party’s nomination for Lieutenant Governor. But with new details of Cohen’s sordid past emerging today, Democratic primary voters will soon be wishing they had given his five rivals a second look.
Cohen allegedly held a knife to his then-girlfriend’s neck in October 2005. Charges were later dropped after the woman, once convicted of prostitution, failed to appear in court to testify against Cohen.
A police report of obtained by the Chicago Sun Times said the woman had scaring and defensive wounds on her hands “from trying to defend herself against the arrestee swinging the knife at her.” Additionally, Cohen “pushed [the] complainant’s head against [a] wall, causing a bump on the back of her head.”
The arrest came only months after Cohen’s former wife filed for divorce and was awarded by the courts a temporary protection order. Cohen’s deep bench of troubles don’t stop at reports of domestic violence, as records also indicate also he had federal tax problems.
Cohen disclosed his domestic battery arrest at the outset of his campaign, but details of the episode–namely, that he wielded a knife against his live-in prostitute girlfriend–surfaced only after voters had gone to the polls.
Pat Quinn, who leads in the count for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and succeeded disgorged former Governor Rod Blagojevich last January, is keeping quiet on the matter.
At a post-election presser, Quinn fielded questions on his likely running mate, but said he was unaware of the details of his 2005 arrest.
“I don’t know. Any information to come out, people will look at,” he said. “I have no idea. I think the voters voted yesterday. We’ll see what happens.”
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey notes the unenviable position of scandal-plagued state Democrats, whose democratic and senatorial bids have been jeopardized by Wednesday’s revelations.
According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Republican Representative Mark Kirk leads Democrat Alexi Giannoulias by a comfortable six-point margin. And the extent to which Cohen’s scandal will be a drag on Quinn’s candidacy cannot be overstated, and is amplified by near-constant reminders from the ILGOP of Blogojevich’s expulsion from office.