19-year-old Kansas House nominee goes back on decision to withdraw from race

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 13:52:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas teen who won the Democratic nomination for a seat in the state House of Representatives is reversing his decision to withdraw from the November election.

Aaron Coleman, 19, defeated incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter in the August Democratic primary for the 37th District, which represents part of Kansas City, Kansas.

Initially, Coleman led by five votes. A recount certified Coleman as the winner by just 14 votes.

No Republican is running for the House seat, so the winning Democrat would be the only one on the November ballot.

Coleman said in a series of tweets on Sunday that he would be "resigning" from the nomination.

He made the claim after he told the Associated Press that accusations of “online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn” were true.

Jacques Barber, Wyandotte County Democratic Party Chair, confirmed to 41 Action News that Coleman contacted him to say he wanted to withdraw from the race.

In a reversal on Tuesday, Coleman posted a message titled, "Onwards to November!"

"From the moment I won, I have endured sustained attacks," the teen said in a statement. "I obviously did not expect to have my entire personal life, especially what I did in middle school, put under that kind of national microscope."

Coleman said he heard from voters that they did not vote for him expecting him to be a "perfect person" and that he wouldn't have been able to unseat an incumbent unless the people wanted him in office.

"My withdrawal would immediately return the power to corporatist, out-of-touch 7-term incumbent that voters just rejected," the statement read.

Coleman said he will do everything he can to earn the trust of the voters in the district.

A 2019 Kansas statute states that those who wish to withdraw can do so because of a “severe medical hardship on the nominee or the nominee’s immediate family” or if the nominee does not live in the state.

In order to withdraw under medical hardship, the nominee must provide certification signed by a medical doctor, according to the statute.

Coleman said in a tweet on Sunday that his father currently is hospitalized.

It is unclear if the decision to stay in the race was affected by the need for a medical reason.


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