For those of you outside the Illinois area (or for those of you not paying attention), what Rod Blagojevich got started was just the beginning. The man who won the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor is a man named Scott Cohen (read more about him here). It was revealed the day after he won the primary that his arrest in 2005 was due to an incident wherein he allegedly put a knife to the throat of his then-girlfriend, a woman who pleaded guilty to prostitution later that month. His charges were later dropped. Also, in December his ex-wife accused him of being $5400 behind in child support payments, despite the fact that Cohen spent $2 million of his own money to finance his campaign. Sounds like a swell guy.
This wouldn't be so big of a deal except for this: Illinois is one of seven states that chooses the lieutenant governor and governor separately in primary elections, but then requires the two to run together as one ticket in the general election. So incumbent Pat Quinn (who ironically was himself elected Lieutenant Governor and is now an incumbent only because of Blagojevich's shenanigans) is now saddled with this fella whether he likes it or not. Many Democratic leaders have called for Cohen to step down, but thus far he has refused to do so.
The reason this way of electing the governor was put in place was because in 1968, a Republican was elected governor and a Democrat elected lieutenant governor, so in 1970 they forced the two to run as a ticket. But the state has had the ability under the current constitution to ensure that a party's nominee could choose his running mate; they just never made it happen. Note to the other six states that run their elections this way: you may want to look into making some changes before this happens to you.
For the sheer comedy of it all, I'm grateful. Stay tuned!