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Scott Lee Cohen
Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Mon Nov 1, 2010

Cohen Is Not Gubernatorial Material

There's no doubt that Independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen is going to influence tomorrow's gubernatorial election. What's less clear is the type of impact he will have. While previous surveys suggest that the former Democratic lieutenant governor nominee is peeling off potential Brady supporters, this morning's PPP poll showed that 5 percent of Democratic respondents are backing his candidacy. If those voters decide instead to vote for Gov. Pat Quinn, it could give the Democrat the edge he needs to overcome Brady's slim lead.

Just on principle, Cohen doesn't deserve any protest votes. That's a message driven home by several papers this month, including the Chicago Defender, the State Journal-Register, and the Tribune. Given how little critical coverage his candidacy has received this fall, it's easy to forget that Cohen was dumped from the Democratic ticket earlier this year after the media unearthed some startling details about the self-funded pawnbroker's sordid past. (The most serious was a 2005 arrest on domestic battery charges involving an ex-girlfriend.) Back in February, anti-violence and women's groups expressed outrage about his previous behavior. Since then, all Cohen has done is dump another $3 million of his own money into his campaign, offered cash to Chicago-area ministers in exchange for their support, and missed a required campaign finance disclosure deadline. Cohen, to be frank, is not gubernatorial material.

Quick Hit
by Micah Maidenberg
Thu Oct 21, 2010

Defender Backs Quinn, Brady And Cohen Are "Wholly Unqualified"

The Chicago Defender, a historic voice in the city's black community, is endorsing Pat Quinn for governor. The newspaper's editorial board lauded what they said was Quinn's "close relationship" with African-Americans: "He has made a point of stepping up and considering African Americans for positions and he alone has promulgated a plan – even if it means a higher income tax – to help get Illinois out of debt and bring jobs back to the state."

The Defender offered some harsh words for the others seeking the top job in Springfield. State Sen. Bill Brady, the Republican candidate for governor, "has persistently ignored the Black community – staying away from the debates at Black venues and offering no evidence that he even knows the Black community exists."

Interestingly, the endorsement spends more words warning readers against voting for independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen than it does criticizing Brady. Cohen, the former Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, is trying to make inroads with black voters in Chicagoland. Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin recently watched as Cohen, "in the mode of a Bible-thumping revivalist, declared that minorities are not getting their fair share of state contracts" at a South Suburban luncheon attended by some 30 black pastors. But the Defender writes, "A vote for Cohen sends the message that the Black electorate is easily duped."

In other gubernatorial endorsement news, the Rockford Register-Star's editorial board recently backed Brady in "a contentious compromise." "This is not," the paper wrote of Brady, "a ringing endorsement."

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
Thu Oct 14, 2010

Whitney Wants In

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is pushing back on debate organizers who are excluding him -- along with Libertarian Lex Green and Independent Scott Lee Cohen -- from taking part in the discussion. One of the debates in question is scheduled for October 20 and is organized by the League of Women Voters and the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Gov. Pat Quinn and GOP nominee Bill Brady have been invited to take part in the debate, which will air on ABC 7.

In response, Whitney has released a message to Illinois voters urging them to demand that he be able to participate in all of the debates, pointing out that he won over 300,000 votes in the 2006 primary, which established the Green Party in Illinois and is twice the number of votes Brady received in the February primary. Watch it:

The executive director of the League of Women Voters, Jan Czarnik, told Illinois Issues that her group did not deem it necessary to invite all of the gubernatorial candidates because the focus of the debate is to hear from the candidates who are most likely to win on November 2. "It’s not our job to build support for candidates that the public doesn’t seem to be very interested in," she said.

Whitney will take part in a debate tonight with Quinn and Brady in his hometown of Carbondale, which will air on public radio.