- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2010

CHICAGO | Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes conceded defeat Thursday in the Democratic primary for governor, promising to help Gov. Patrick Quinn win in November after a rough-and-tumble campaign that offered Republicans several lines of attack.

As Mr. Quinn saw one problem vanish with Mr. Hynes’ concession, he faced a new predicament with the revelation that his voter-selected running mate was once arrested for domestic battery.

Mr. Quinn said he knew nothing about the allegations against Scott Lee Cohen until after Tuesday’s election when they were paired up on the Democratic ticket after Mr. Cohen won the lieutenant governor nomination.

In his concession speech, Mr. Hynes dismissed the strife of the primary campaign as “a spirited discussion about our future.”

“I’m supporting him because I believe that our shared values and his basic decency is what Illinois needs, especially compared to what’s being suggested or offered by the Republican Party at this time,” Mr. Hynes, who trailed Mr. Quinn by a few thousand votes Tuesday night and initially refused to bow out.

But his campaign attacks are expected to be refined by the Republican candidate who emerges from a still undecided race. State Sen. Bill Brady led by just a few hundred votes over state Sen. Kirk Dillard, and the race could wind up going to a recount.

Mr. Hynes ran an ad featuring old footage of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington saying that hiring Mr. Quinn as city budget director had been his biggest political mistake. He attacked Mr. Quinn’s income tax proposal as an assault on working families. And he questioned Mr. Quinn’s basic competence over a prison early release program that Mr. Hynes said had endangered public safety.

Republicans hope to capture the governor’s office, as well as President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, by exploiting Democratic turmoil. Illinois faces the largest budget deficit in its history, and Mr. Quinn became governor only because his predecessor, Rod R. Blagojevich, was impeached after being arrested on federal corruption charges, including the allegation that he tried to sell an appointment to Mr. Obama’s seat.

While calling on Mr. Cohen to fully answer all questions about the domestic battery charges, Mr. Quinn predicted Mr. Cohen ultimately would have to drop out of the race.

Mr. Cohen, however, said he will not step aside and had never hidden his arrest from voters. He said in a statement Thursday people should make up their minds about him after the facts come to light.

Illinois voters selected Mr. Quinn and Mr. Cohen separately in the primary, but the pair now make up the Democratic ticket. Mr. Quinn didn’t endorse Mr. Cohen in the primary or campaign with him.

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