Aaron Coleman

Aaron Coleman (born c. 2000)[1] is an American politician. A Democrat, he is the Kansas House Representative representing the 37th district, which covers the Turner neighborhood and parts of the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, in Wyandotte County.[2]

Aaron Coleman
Member of the
Kansas House of Representatives
from the 37th district
Assumed office
January 11, 2021
Preceded byStan Frownfelter
Personal details
Bornc. 2000 (age 20–21)
Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (before Jan. 2021; Feb. 2021–present)
Other political
affiliations
Independent (Jan.–Feb. 2021)
Websitewww.AaronforKansasHouse.com

Coleman admitted to and apologized for deviant childhood acts of online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn in middle school, and threatening to kill a girl in high school[3] for which he received criticism.

CareerEdit

In 2017, as a seventeen-year-old high school dropout, Coleman entered the race for governor of Kansas as a write-in independent candidate ahead of the 2018 election.[4] In 2018, he ran for the board of public utilities in Kansas City, Kansas.[5]

In 2020, he defeated seven-term Democratic incumbent Stan Frownfelter in the district's Democratic primary in an upset victory.[6] Coleman, then 19, won by just 14 votes.[3] He also won the general election, making him one of the youngest members of the Kansas state legislature.[7]

He ran on a platform of supporting women's rights (to equal pay for equal work; to contraceptives and abortion services), making public colleges tuition free, defunding the police, Medicare for all, legalizing cannabis, the Green New Deal[8][9]

Abuse allegationsEdit

After his primary victory, his past history generated significant controversy, leading to him admitting, that at the age of 12 years old, to an incident of revenge porn in middle school.[10] He has admitted to bullying, extortion, and threats of physical violence also at his middle school.[11] The Kansas City Star reported that in May 2015, when Coleman was 14, he was arrested and charged for threatening to shoot a girl at another high school.[11][12] Coleman pleaded guilty in the criminal case in which he threatened to go to the girl's high school, shoot her, and turn the gun on himself.[13] He was initially charged with a felony count of making a criminal threat but later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of harassment.[12]

While running for state legislature in December 2019, at the age of 19, Coleman's girlfriend indicated that Coleman choked her, hit her, and told her to kill herself.[14] The Topeka Capitol-Journal reported he texted her, saying, "I hope you get abducted raped chopped up and have ya pieces scattered and Burnt in different locations."[15] Furthermore, Coleman texted her, "If you get pregnant, I will have to kill you and the baby."[15]

Coleman apologized for his actions, blaming child abuse from his elementary school teachers. On June 17, 2020, Coleman said, on Facebook, that he spent “the vast majority” of his elementary school education “in a closet” instead of getting proper help at school. Coleman claims that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder at 15.[9] Turner USD #202 school district, where Coleman went to elementary school, stated that they do not “put kids in closets”, denying Coleman's allegation.[9]

The Kansas City Star reported that in August 2020, during the campaign, Coleman said to former Republican state lawmaker John Whitmer that he would "laugh and giggle when you get COVID and die".[9][16] Coleman claimed Whitmer was repeating anti-mask “conspiracy theories”.[16] He compared it to someone getting into an automobile accident because they were talking on a cellphone while driving.[16]

On December 4, 2020, Kathleen Lynch, a Wyandotte County, Kansas judge, issued a temporary anti-stalking order (no-contact order) against Coleman after Brandie Armstrong, the campaign manager for Frownfelter, accused Coleman of harassment. The two later reached an agreement after the case and order was dismissed.[17][12][18][19]

On December 21, 2020, seven recently elected female Democratic state legislators signed a letter calling on Coleman to resign before he takes office on January 11, 2021. The seven female legislators included Jennifer Day, Mari Lynn Poskin, Stephanie Byers, Linda Featherston, Christina Haswood, Jo Ella Hoye, and Lindsay Vaughn.[20]

Conflict with the Kansas Democratic PartyEdit

Frownfelter announced he would run a write-in campaign in response to Coleman admitting to online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn.[21][22] Coleman initially dropped out after being pressured to, but later reversed his decision, and got back in the race.[23] Tom Sawyer, the Kansas House Minority Leader, supported Frownfelter's write-in campaign, as did Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.[21] Another candidate, Kristina Smith, a paralegal and treasurer of the Wyandotte County Republican Party, also pursued a write-in campaign.[24] The Kansas Young Democrats endorsed Frownfelter and condemned Coleman.[25] Coleman defeated Frownfelter's and Smith's write-in campaigns in the general election on November 3, 2020.[26]

On Twitter after the November 2020 election, Coleman stated Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly would face an “extremely bloody” Democratic primary race in two years.[13] Coleman has said that his tweet was not a call for physical violence against the Governor.[27] Identifying as a democratic socialist, Coleman believes that Kelly's moderate political positions do not appeal to the Democratic left-wing.[7] Lauren Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for Kelly, has said that Coleman is not fit to sit in the legislature.[9] Kansas Democratic leaders, including Tom Sawyer, have indicated that they will take steps to keep Coleman from getting seated in the legislature.[27] Sawyer and state chair Vicki Hiatt said Democrats in the House will file a complaint against Coleman when he is sworn in and work for the two-thirds vote in the Kansas House required to remove Coleman.[13] Jacques Barber, Wyandotte County Democratic Party chair, said that they should not try to remove him, but to give him guidance.[9] Republican Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. said to the Kansas City Star he would be "leery of an attempt to override the vote".[28] Ryckman later added the House would be punishing Coleman for conduct before Coleman took office, overturning the decision of the voters.[17] On December 31, 2020, House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, said Coleman would be denied committee seat assignments in the incoming legislature.[29]

On January 13, 2021, two days after being sworn in, Coleman announced he had left the Democratic Party and would sit as an independent.[1] On February 8, he re-joined the Democrats.[30]

Kansas House of Representatives 37th District 2020 Democratic Primary[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Aaron Coleman 823 49.8%
Democratic Stan Frownfelter (incumbent) 809 49.0%
Total votes 1,652 100.00

Private lifeEdit

Coleman lives in the Turner section of Kansas City, Kansas with his mother. Coleman works as a dishwasher.[32] He attends Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. He is Jewish.[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "New Kansas Representative changes affiliation from Democrat to Independent". KMBC 9. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  2. ^ Kansas candidate with a troubled past and ambitious platform: Change agent or pariah?, Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Missouri October 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Cramer, Maria (August 19, 2020). "Kansas Democrat, 19, Who Admitted to Revenge Porn, Ekes Out Primary Win". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  4. ^ Clarkin, Mary. High school dropout running for governor, Hutchinson News, December 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Rupert, Mary (August 5, 2019). "Seven candidates run for BPU Districts 1 and 3". Wyandotte Daily. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  6. ^ Sloan, Nick. "Aaron Coleman, under fire after victory, tweets that he'll leave the race". KCTV 5 Kansas City. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Vickers, Nathan. "Kansas Democrats could oust 20-year-old candidate following 'hit' tweet directed at Gov. Kelly". KCTV Kansas City. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "Wyandotte County looks to elect progressive with history of troubling behavior". The Kansas City Star. November 3, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Hanna, John. Teen leading in Kansas race admits blackmail, revenge porn, Associated Press, August 14, 2020.
  10. ^ "20-year-old who admitted to sexual harassment elected to Kansas House of Representatives". KSHB. November 4, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Lampen, Claire. Aaron Coleman, Revenge Porn Perpetrator, Officially Elected to Kansas House, The Cut, November 4, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Hanna, John (December 8, 2020). "Kansas lawmaker-to-be under order not to contact foe's aide". Houston Chronicle. Houston, Texas: Associated Press. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Bergan, Shain. State Rep-elect from KCK vows to "call out a hit" on Kansas governor, says 2022 primary will be "extremely bloody", KCTV Channel 5, Kansas City, Missouri, November 6, 2020.
  14. ^ Grim, Ryan. Aaron Coleman's Ex-girlfriend says he slapped and choked her in the part year, The Intercept, August 25, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Ex-girlfriend: Kansas House candidate was abusive last year", Associated Press, August 27, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c "'Mask it or casket': Democratic House candidate hopes GOP stricken by COVID-19". Kansas Reflector. July 31, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Kansas City, Kansas, lawmaker-to-be under order not to contact foe's aide, KMBC TV Channel 9, Kansas City, Missouri, December 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Associated Press. Headlines for Saturday, January 2, 2021, Kansas Public Radio, Lawrence, Kansas, January 2, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  19. ^ Hanna, John; Writer, Ap Political (January 7, 2021). "Lawyer: New Kansas lawmaker reaches deal to end court order". Alton Telegraph. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  20. ^ New Kansas lawmakers, Democratic leaders demand resignation of State Rep.-elect Aaron Coleman, KMBC TV Channel 9, Kansas City, Missouri, December 22, 2020.
  21. ^ a b Hanna, John. Kansas candidate admitting to revenge porn faces write-in, Associated Press, August 17, 2020.
  22. ^ "Kansas candidate who admitted to revenge porn drops out". news.yahoo.com. AP. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  23. ^ Embattled teen candidate for Kansas House reverses decision, says he’ll stay in race, Wichita Eagle, August 25, 2020.
  24. ^ After controversial teenager wins Kansas House primary, two write-in efforts emerge, Kansas City Star, August 18, 2020.
  25. ^ Rupert, Mary. Election night totals shocking to Rep. Frownfelter, Wyandotte Daily.com, August 5, 2020.
  26. ^ Morales, Christina (November 8, 2020). "Kansas Democrat Who Admitted to Revenge Porn Wins State House Seat". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  27. ^ a b Morales, Christina. Aaron Coleman: Democrat who admitted to revenge porn and bullying wins state house seat, London Independent, November 9, 2020.
  28. ^ Fordham, Evie. Kansas Democrat, 20, who admitted to 'revenge porn,' wins House state race, FOX News, November 9, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  29. ^ New Kansas lawmaker under court order denied committee seats, Associated Press, John Hanna, December 31, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  30. ^ "Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman rejoins Democratic Party". Associated Press. KSHB. February 8, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  31. ^ Maggie Gebhardt (August 17, 2020). "Wyandotte County election board certifies win for 19-year-old". kshb.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  32. ^ Maggie Gebhardt (August 17, 2020). "Wyandotte County election board certifies win for 19-year-old". kshb.com. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  33. ^ Nahmias, Omri. [1], Jerusalem Post, August 10, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.

External linksEdit