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Teen Candidate Is Out of Race After Admitting Revenge Porn

Aaron Coleman, 19, says he will withdraw
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2020 2:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the teenagers running for office in Kansas is exiting the race amid a scandal. Aaron Coleman, 19, had previously admitted to abusing girls online, including via online bullying, blackmail, and revenge porn, the AP reports. He initially insisted he had changed, the Wyandotte Daily reports; he was 14 years old and in middle school when he engaged in the behavior. But the controversy grew, Law and Crime reports, and ultimately Coleman said he would drop out of the race to become Kansas state representative for the 37th District Sunday—though he made no mention of sexual harassment in his official statement. Rather, he said, his father has been hospitalized for the past 10 days. "I have no choice but to use medical hardship to take my name off the ballot and allow the Democratic precinct people to choose the next nominee," he said.

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Coleman upset seven-term incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter in the primary; Frownfelter has said he will run in the general election as a write-in candidate. Coleman would have been the only candidate actually appearing on the ballot; Republican Kristina Smith is also running as a write-in candidate. Democrats had been backing away from Coleman amid the revenge porn scandal, and the chief of staff to Kansas' House minority leader tells the Kansas City Star there was a "sense of relief" Coleman decided to withdraw. In a series of tweets during the wee hours Sunday, Coleman said "feminism hasn’t got a chance so long as Donatism remains on the march. The progressive circular firing squad has done more to uphold the status quo than conservatives could have ever dreamed of." But he also added, "I regret my past actions and hope to continually learn from them as I grow into the person I hope to be." (Read more Kansas stories.)

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