Aaron Coleman, 19, a Demoratic candidate for state representative, 37th District, left Kansas City Monday night to go to Colorado Springs.
He was at dinner on Tuesday night when he started getting messages saying he had won the primary election over Democratic State Rep. Stan Frownfelter, 69, who has served in the Legislature since 2007. Frownfelter is the ranking minority member on the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development subcommittee.
Coleman, who ran for governor and Board of Public Utilities previously and is a precinct committeeman, said he didn’t believe it at first.
“I was expecting to lose by at least a couple of digits,” he said.
He said he doesn’t know how he won – “just hard work, I guess,” he said.
“I knocked probably about 1,000 doors in July,” Coleman said.
It was during the pandemic, and everyone was home, he added.
“I don’t think my opponent took me seriously,” he added. “I knocked on 70 percent of voters’ doors.”
He said he realizes that probably 50 ballots or so may still be out there that could come in, or not, to the Election Office by Friday. Anything postmarked by Tuesday may be counted if it arrives by Friday. It could require an automatic recount because it’s so close, he added.
Coleman said the election is a testament to the strength and power of the progressive movement.
He closely identifies with Sen. Bernie Sanders, and he said the biggest problem politics faces in both parties is money.
The difference between him and other Democrats, he said, is he has not taken $20,000 in donations from banks, telecom groups and other big donors.
“The biggest issue if we want to have a serious discussion in Kansas, is how to have representation by and for the people,” he said. “We need to ban lobbying.”
He said they need to get money out of politics.
Coleman said he supports each candidate receiving the same set amount of money and not having campaign donations, and he would support campaign reform laws.
“I believe if we have public funding of our elections, the people win each time,” Coleman said.
Rep. Frownfelter had about $19,575 on hand on July 24, with $34,354 available during the campaign reporting period, according to campaign finance reports. Coleman reported $1,939 on hand, having raised a total of $3,685, campaign finance reports stated.
Coleman said he was in favor of Medicaid expansion, but it does not go far enough. He supports universal health care, a single-payer system, sometimes called Medicaid for all.
To pay for the system, a tax on the very rich could generate enough for health care. Countries such as Switzerland, he noted, tax the rich to fund the health care system.
Coleman said Bernie Sanders was a great inspiration to him in campaigning for governor and state Senate.
“Regardless of if I win or lose, I’m just glad it even got this close,” Coleman said. “This shows the power and strength of the progressive movement, and that it works.”
Coleman currently is a dishwasher at a restaurant, and a college student at Johnson County Community College. He said he has hopes of graduating, going to the University of Kansas and entering the Air Force ROTC program, and getting his bachelor’s degree. Then he would join the Air Force for a six-year term.
He said if elected, he would like to serve two terms while in college, then go on to his career.
Coleman said he thinks the voters were saying they were sick and tired of the status quo.
“People are suffocating, dying, losing homes, jobs, lost health care, everything,” he said.
See comments from Rep. Frownfelter at http://wyandottedaily.com/election-night-totals-shocking-to-rep-frownfelter/.