(JTA) — A 19-year-old Jewish community college student has defeated a 13-year incumbent in the Democratic primary for a state House seat in Kansas.
But the party has disavowed Aaron Coleman, who has admitted to harassing girls online when he was in middle school.
Coleman, of Kansas City, defeated Stan Frownfelter, 823 to 809, in the 37th District. Frownfelter can call for a recount, and said he is mulling a write-in candidacy. There is no Republican candidate for the seat.
Coleman, the great-grandson of a Holocaust survivor, admitted to The Kansas City Star that he called one girl fat and told her to kill herself. She told the newspaper that she did, indeed, attempt suicide.
He blackmailed a second girl, threatening to send a nude photo of her to her family and friends unless she sent her more. When the girl did not comply, Coleman sent the photo he had. She told the newspaper that she doesn’t know how Coleman obtained the photo in the first place.
A third woman told the newspaper that he harassed her “for months.”
“I made serious mistakes in middle school and I deeply regret and apologize for them. I’ve grown up a great deal since then,” Coleman told The Star editorial board last week.
Coleman told The Jerusalem Post that he was “heavily inspired” by Bernie Sanders and his 2016 presidential campaign. He was also one of several teens who ran for Kansas governor in 2018 at the age of 17. Kansas has since passed a law setting 25 as the minimum age to run for governor.
“My Grandpa Charles’s mother was the only survivor of our family from Auschwitz. I have spent a great deal of time since my election victory this week reflecting on my family’s challenging journey from the Holocaust to the Kansas Legislature,” Coleman told The Jerusalem Post. “There is a certain pride to know that, if elected in November, I may be both the only Jewish representative and the youngest member of the Kansas House.”
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Kansas Jewish college student, 19, defeats longtime State House incumbent