News Briefs

Frownfelter to attempt write-in campaign

By: - August 18, 2020 2:42 pm
Democrat Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, Kan., says controversy about his stalking women while in middle school and other issues lead him to believe it best to quit his race for the 37th District seat in the Kansas House. He won the August primary against Rep. Stan Frownfelter. (Submitted to Kansas Reflector)

Democrat Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, Kan., was elected to the Kansas House in November. His future colleagues and others have called for him to resign or be removed from office due to allegations of his violence against women. (Submitted to Kansas Reflector)

Democratic Rep. Stan Frownfelter will attempt to hang onto his seat in the Kansas Legislature through a write-in campaign after losing a primary challenge to a teenager who wished death on Republicans and admitted to distributing revenge porn.

Aaron Coleman, 19, will be the only name on the November ballot for the 37th District legislative seat. He pulled off a stunning upset of the seven-term incumbent with a 14-vote victory, shocking Democratic party officials.

Coleman has acknowledged and apologized for troubling behavior that includes bullying and blackmailing women. The Kansas Reflector reported before the Aug. 4 primary that Coleman was amused by the prospect of COVID-19 spreading among Republican candidates who don’t take the pandemic seriously.

Wyandotte County’s election office on Monday certified the final tally of primary votes between Coleman and Frownfelter. On Tuesday, Frownfelter said he was assembling a team and necessary resources to organize a write-in campaign.

“The voters in our community didn’t have a full understanding of my opponent, or the kind of person he really is,” Frownfelter said. “It was easy for him to have quick conversations with voters, trying to get their vote, without revealing this dark side of him that we see now so clearly.”

House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer said Frownfelter is “the sole person in this race who is fit for public office.”

Coleman said he is the Democratic nominee because he supports the Green New Deal, women’s reproductive rights, single-payer health care, legal marijuana and a $15 minimum hourly wage.

When he was knocking on doors in the district, Coleman said, constituents had never heard of Frownfelter.

“When you pay so little attention to your district that you lose to a 19-year-old with no political experience, it’s a sign you should probably retire,” Coleman said.

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Sherman Smith
Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the 2021 and 2022 Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. He is a lifelong Kansan.