Scott Lee Cohen appears to have crossed an important threshold in his independent bid for governor of Illinois.
At a press conference on Sunday, the Cohen campaign said it had collected over 133,000 signatures supporting his candidacy, well more than the 25,000 required to appear on the ballot.
Scroll down for video from the press conference.
But with Cohen's signature-gathering process dogged by allegations of misconduct, the petitions are almost certain to face legal challenges before the pawnbroker becomes a candidate.
Scott Lee Cohen was briefly slated to be on this year's ballot after he won the February Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor. But he was forced to resign from the ticket after allegations surfaced that he abused steroids, had forcible sex with his wife and threatened an ex-girlfriend with a knife to her throat.
Seeking an unlikely political renaissance, Cohen announced in May that he would run for governor as an independent, a feat that would require 25,000 signatures on a petition.
With less than two months to collect the signatures and no political organization behind him, the task seemed daunting. And, indeed, reports soon surfaced that the campaign was paying people off the street -- some of whom were described as "junkies," many of whom didn't know who Scott Lee Cohen is -- to circulate signatures.
A reporter from Medill told one circulator that he wasn't registered in Illinois; the circulator took his signature anyway. Other circulators said they'd farmed their signature sheets out to friends, to whom they paid half their take. Neither of these practices is allowed under Illinois election law.
The Cohen campaign denied using untrained circulators, though a volunteer for the campaign did acknowledge that the petitions were being farmed out.
Regardless, Cohen seemed unfazed by the allegations at his press conference, as he proudly announced the total number of signatures -- 133,170 in all -- and attacked Gov. Pat Quinn, his former running mate and now chief rival.
Of Cohen's candidacy, Quinn said, "I think competition is good... You've got to expect, though, when you get into the water, to have some tough questions."
If he qualifies for the ballot, Cohen will also face Republican Bill Brady and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney in November.
Watch video from Cohen's press conference: