Aaron Coleman is a 21-year-old member of the Kansas House of Representatives, but after he was arrested on a DUI charge on Saturday, he might not be a lawmaker much longer.
Coleman is no stranger to controversy. During the 2020 campaign and after he was elected, the Democrat gained national media attention for his admitted involvement in a “revenge porn” case.
Democrats are scrambling to deal with the strong possibility that a 19-year-old candidate will win a Kansas House seat despite making incendiary comments on social media and acknowledging online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn. https://t.co/0mVE6f0IRH
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 15, 2020
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) November 5, 2020
His arrest over the weekend was his second in less than a month, according to The Kansas City Star.
It reported that just a few weeks ago, Coleman was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly hitting and spitting on his brother and threatening to attack his grandfather.
BREAKING: Just weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman was arrested for driving under the influence.https://t.co/kRvPgv9rkt
— KSNT News (@KSNTNews) November 29, 2021
He is scheduled for a diversion hearing next month, but a Johnson County judge also ordered Coleman to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to the Star.
The young lawmaker said on Twitter last week that he was in group therapy.
In group therapy today we were talking about the mythical “perfect person” and how nobody is perfect.
I was just thinking that If the *worst* thing I did at 21yo is get into a “religious debate” with my younger brother than I should get a golden star for good behavior #ksleg pic.twitter.com/RwdAo3N8dq
— Rep. Aaron Coleman 🌹✡️ (@Aaron4KS37) November 26, 2021
Getting arrested on a DUI charge would be a violation of Coleman’s bond since it prohibited the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
In light of these issues, the Democratic leader of the Kansas House called for Coleman to step down.
“For the sake of the state of Kansas, his constituents, and himself, he should resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs. The stress of the legislature is not a healthy environment for someone in this mental state,” Minority Leader Tom Sawyer said in a statement on Monday.
“I want to reiterate what I have said in the past: It is clear Representative Coleman is in dire need of help,” Sawyer added.
— Kansas House Democrats (@KSHouseDems) November 29, 2021
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly agreed that Coleman needs to resign. She added that if he does not do so of his own volition, his colleagues should remove him.
“Mr. Coleman’s most recent arrest is further evidence that he is not fit to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives and that his continued presence in the Legislature is a disservice to his constituents,” Kelly said in a statement, the Star reported.
Coleman’s previous troubles have left him with few allies in state politics.
His victory in the Democratic primary in August 2020 came after he faced allegations of abuse and “revenge porn” against middle school classmates.
“One of his former classmates said Coleman’s verbal harassment was so severe she attempted suicide; another said that when she was 13, he tried to blackmail her with a nude photo he’d gotten a hold of, then ‘sent it to everyone [she] knew’ when she refused to share more,” The Cut reported.
When The New York Times asked Coleman about the claims, his response was: “They’re accurate.”
“The charges include: bullying, revenge porn, and blackmail — I just want to make clear all these allegations are both true and occurred only digitally,” he wrote on his official campaign Facebook page in June.
“I denounce these actions and they are the actions of a sick and troubled 14-yo boy.”
There have been other allegations of violence. The Cut reported that Coleman “was arrested and charged for threatening to shoot a girl at another high school in 2015, when he was 14-years-old.” A former girlfriend also said he choked and slapped her, according to The Wichita Eagle.
Under pressure, Coleman dropped out of the race days after winning the primary, but he quickly reversed course, saying he was responding to what he called the “many people” who told him they wanted him to run.
As the only candidate whose name was listed on the ballet, he easily won the November election.
Before Coleman took office at the beginning of 2021, seven other incoming Democratic legislators — all women — called for his resignation. They said he needed to be held accountable for a “history of violence” against women that shows he is “unfit to serve,” according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.
Now it appears his turbulent time in the state Legislature might be coming to an end.