Teen candidate who won Kansas House primary faces write-in challengers
Aaron Coleman facing controversy for bullying, blackmailing and using revenge porn in middle school
WYANDOTTE COUNTY, Kan. — Two write-in campaigns are in the works in Wyandotte County after a 19-year-old dishwasher beat a 69-year-old business owner in the race for the 37th District seat in Kansas legislature.
Stan Frownfelter is launching a write-in campaign for November after losing the primary to Aaron Coleman. Kansas Republicans also plan to campaign with Kristina Smith as a write-in candidate, since so many people in Topeka claim Coleman is unfit for office.
When the 19-year old launched his campaign with low-tech YouTube videos and door-to-door conversations, his expectations were low.
“I was extremely surprised to hear that I won because when I initially started going door-to-door, I had no intention of winning,” Coleman said, adding that his main goal was simply discussion on issues he finds important – health care and the economy.
He describes himself as a Progressive, with some Libertarian views.
“I don’t think the government should ever get involved with what you’re smoking in the basement, and especially the government should never be involved with a woman’s ovaries,” he told KCTV5 News.
Coleman’s name will be the only one on the ballot in November for the 37th District seat, despite Governor Laura Kelly saying he’s unfit for office.
Kelly is not the only Kansas Democrat concerns over the race. Kansas House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer issued a statement disowning Coleman and supporting the incumbent Frownfelter.
“Coleman does not represent the values of House Democrats. Representative Frownfelter has served his community with integrity and the best interests of his constituents always in mind,” Hiatt wrote. “We will now explore what options are available to us to right this situation as we move forward, as Mr. Coleman has continuously proven himself unfit to serve in the Kansas Legislature.”
Brandi Shepherd, Frownfelter’s campaign manager, said their team is continuing with it write-in effort.
“I think we have a shot. I think who Mr. Coleman is really starting to shine through,” she claimed.
Shepard said voters didn’t know about what she called Coleman’s dark past. The teen has admitted to bullying, blackmailing and using revenge porn against young girls while in middle school.
He also posted now-deleted comments on social media saying he’d laugh if a Republican lawmaker died of COVID-19 and said he supports abortion up until birth.
Coleman has apologized online for all of it and directs questions on the topic to his previous public comments, saying he wants to focus on governing now. He also said he is not concerned with the Republican party’s or Frownfelter’s write-in campaigns against him.
“When you pay so little attention to your district that you lose to a 19-year-old with no political connections, it probably means you should retire,” he said of Frownfelter.
With a write-in campaign, spelling of the candidate’s name does matter. It will be up to the county election board to decide how lenient they want to be.
A write-in candidate did win a general election back in 1994. Ellen Samuelson lost the primary by more than 100 votes for the 74th House District but won the general election with a write-in campaign by more than 600 votes.