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A former Kansas lawmaker with a history of abusing people is running for a school board seat

Aaron Coleman speaking in a campaign video
Coleman's campaign
Aaron Coleman speaking in a campaign video. He is running for a school board seat a year after losing his Statehouse reelection race.

Aaron Coleman was arrested twice in office and was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend. He spent one term in the Kansas House, but wants another shot in office.

TOPEKA, Kansas — Former Kansas state legislator Aaron Coleman, who lost reelection after accusations of abuse by a former girlfriend and an arrest for assaulting his brother, is trying to revive his political career by running for a school board seat in Wyandotte County.

Coleman is one of five candidates running for an at-large seat on the Turner Board of Education. The top four vote-getters will win seats. The other four candidates are incumbents.

His school-board candidacy comes a year after he lost his Statehouse seat. Coleman took office at 20 years old, but the Democrat spent just one term in the Kansas House and he is mostly remembered for his out-of-office controversies.

He was arrested twice in office — once for domestic battery after allegedly hitting his brother. Coleman tried to “shame” his brother for wanting to get baptized, according to an affidavit. He was also arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, but that was later dropped and he was only charged with speeding and not yielding to emergency vehicles.

Before that, Coleman admitted he blackmailed a classmate in an attempt to get more nude photos of her. Then in middle school, Coleman got a nude photo of a girl and demanded more, but when she didn’t send more, he circulated the nude photo.

Coleman admitted to that mistake and promised to grow past it. But in Dec. 2019, Coleman allegedly choked his then-girlfriend Taylor Passow. The two were talking about a threesome, The Intercept reported. She wasn’t interested in having one but said she could break up with him for a day to allow him to have one. Passow said that’s when Coleman attacked her.

“He jumped on top of me, put his hands around my throat and started squeezing, and slapped me three times, and said, ‘I don’t know where the fuck you think you’re going,’” Passow told the Intercept.

Days later, Coleman said Passow was misremembering events.

“You dumped me and I smacked you and you smacked me and I immediately got up and stormed out of the hot tub,” text messages between Coleman and Passow said.

Coleman didn’t respond to interview requests for this story.

In campaign ads, he said mental health and preventing bullying are two of his top issues. The election is Nov. 7.

Blaise Mesa reports on criminal justice and social services for the Kansas News Service in Topeka. You can email him at blaise@kcur.org.

The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. 

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.

Blaise Mesa is based in Topeka, where he covers the Legislature and state government for the Kansas City Beacon. He previously covered social services and criminal justice for the Kansas News Service.
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