Cohen drops out of IL race; Update: Video added

Along with Scott Cohen’s departure from the Illinois lieutenant governor race goes the potential for months of blog posts.  Just think about it: we could have written endless stories about Cohen’s race, complete with quotes from the apparent myriad of legal actions against Cohen over the last few years, while Cohen ran on the slogan, “They never convicted me!”  Alas, it just wasn’t to be:

Illinois Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Scott Lee Cohen announced Sunday evening that he is withdrawing from the race amid revelations about his personal history.

Cohen, a millionaire pawnbroker and cleaning supplies company executive who emerged the victor in last week’s primary, had been accused of holding a knife to the neck of his ex-girlfriend, a prostitute, in 2005.

It has also been revealed in recent days that Cohen had once been accused of abusing an ex-wife. Cohen has also acknowledged using steroids for a period of time.

Cohen announced his decision to drop out of the race this evening at a Chicago bar.

In a bar?  Well, why not?  The setting does seem somewhat appropriate for a man who apparently lacked the insight to understand that domestic-violence accusations and an arrest for putting a knife to a prostitute’s neck might just be considered political baggage, even in Chicago.  Using “roid rage” as an excuse isn’t exactly a winner, either.

There are actually two mysteries still left to explore.  What made a man with this many skeletons in the closet spend $3 million of his own money to run for statewide office?  And what made most of the media ignore these allegations until after the primaries, even after some of them arose in the Chicago Sun-Times beforehand?

In case one is tempted to see Cohen’s withdrawal as a victory over Chicago politics as usual, his withdrawal after the primary means that state House speaker and power broker Michael Madigan gets to hand-pick the Democratic nominee, at least according to Politico.  Maybe that blog potential hasn’t entirely dissipated after all.

Update: Here’s the tearful withdrawal: