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Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman says he's leaving Democratic Party

House Dems file complaint against new lawmaker
Aaron Coleman
Posted at 10:50 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 14:02:20-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new Kansas lawmaker who admitted to circulating revenge porn and other abusive behavior will leave the Democratic Party, as party leaders in the state House of Representatives move forward in their efforts to oust him.

Rep. Aaron Coleman of Kansas City, Kansas, said in a Facebook post Tuesday that he has asked for his party affiliation to be changed to Independent, effective immediately.

Coleman said in the post that since taking office, the Democratic leadership in the state House has refused to assign him to committees, notify him of caucus meetings or list him as an elected representative on the Kansas House Democrats website. He also said he has not yet been assigned an office in the state Capitol.

“It has been made clear to me that the Kansas Democratic leadership, despite presiding over a party with so few members that it cannot prevent the majority party from overriding any vetoed legislation, is not willing to respect the fact that I was elected as a Kansas Democrat to represent my constituents,” Coleman said in the post.

On Tuesday, Kansas Democrats began the process to oust the new lawmaker, filing a formal complaint that will kick off a bipartisan investigation. A two-thirds majority would be necessary to remove him.

He won't be assigned to any committees or given an office while the inquiry is underway, according to an Associated Press report.

In the August primary election, Coleman, then 19, defeated incumbent Stan Frownfelter by 14 votes. He ran unopposed in November, though he faced a write-in campaign for Frownfelter backed by Democratic leaders.

The Kansas Democratic Party disavowed Coleman in August after an ex-girlfriend accused him of being physically abusive. He also admitted that allegations of revenge porn and harassment against him were true but called them the actions of a "sick and troubled 14-year-old boy."

Last week, Coleman reached a legal agreement with a woman who accused him of harassment, ending an anti-stalking order against him. The order was one of the reasons Kansas Democrats wanted to expel him.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly also called him unfit to serve in office after he sent a now-deleted tweet in November saying that Kelly would face an "extremely bloody" primary in 2022 and wrote, "People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it’s real."

The Associated Press contributed to this report