Most election years, if a district has only one candidate on the ballot for the general election, it’s almost a sure bet the candidate will be elected.
This year, however, sees a campaign being mounted for write-in challengers to Aaron Coleman, 19, who upset Rep. Stan Frownfelter in the Democratic primary for the 37th District.
Rather than being “for” issues, the write-in candidates seem more motivated by being “against” Coleman, who during the primary campaign admitted to revenge porn and bullying when he was younger. There also were allegations of abuse against a girlfriend. Coleman also was criticized for social media comments that some said were inappropriate, such as wishing people who went to rallies without masks got COVID-19.
There may be many write-in candidates in the 37th District, and they are not required to register with the secretary of state’s office.
‘Stop Coleman’ effort announced
Today, a new “Stop Coleman” effort was announced, complete with a political action committee to provide funding.
“We thought it would be a good idea to create an organization that specifically focused on letting voters know about the conduct of Aaron Coleman,” said Edward Rosson, chairperson of the PAC. “While others figure out their strategy, we could be doing the work to let those others be successful.”
He said they plan to fund social media campaigns and mailers to voters in the 37th District.
Rosson, who lives in Lansing, Kansas, registered the Stop Coleman PAC to a post office box address in Lebo, Kansas, according to campaign finance records. The PAC’s treasurer, Jamie Jarvis, is in Lebo, which is in Coffey County.
While he doesn’t live in Wyandotte County, Rosson said he worked almost the entire election cycle in 2018 here with the Brent Welder campaign for Congress, then with the Progressive Turnout Project. This year, Rosson worked with the Bernie Sanders campaign in Iowa, and he is currently the 2nd Congressional District director for the Progressive Turnout Project.
“His (Coleman’s) platform is certainly progressive, but the things that came out about his conduct and his treatment of people is in my view anathema to progressive values,” Rosson said today. “You cannot consider yourself a progressive and harass and abuse people.”
He said he doesn’t think most of the voters in the 37th District had heard of Coleman’s past mistakes.
Rosson said he isn’t sure if the consensus alternative will be Rep. Frownfelter or if another write-in candidate will emerge.
He said by the end of today, he’ll probably have $200 in donations to the PAC that will be used for social media and for political literature to be distributed in the district.
Coleman has described himself as a progressive who is in favor of legalizing marijuana, universal health care, defunding the police and free community college tuition.
After winning the primary election, Coleman said he would withdraw, then a few days later he changed his mind and decided to stay in the contest.
Coleman said last month that he thought it would be too hard to run as a write-in candidate. He’s tried it himself in the past and it is too difficult, he said. He ran for governor previously, and also ran for Board of Public Utilities last year.
Although there has been much criticism of Coleman’s past behavior, one person who was in favor of Coleman staying in the race was State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist. Seven of the precincts in the 4th District also are in the 37th District.
Sen. Haley said he had been a supporter of juvenile justice initiatives in the past that call for second chances for juveniles, and he didn’t want to be inconsistent now and deny Coleman a second chance.
Write-in candidates have one thing in common – opposition to Coleman
There are three write-in candidates we’ve heard of so far: Rep. Stan Frownfelter, Kristina Smith and Keith Jordan.
The week of the primary election results, Rep. Frownfelter, 69, said he would run as a write-in candidate in the general election Nov. 3. Rep. Frownfelter has been in office since 2007 and he described his positions on the issues at http://wyandottedaily.com/questionnaire-rep-frownfelter-seeks-re-election-to-37th-district/. (See also http://wyandottedaily.com/coleman-wins-37th-district-nomination-by-14-votes/)
The two other write-in candidates for the 37th District include Kristina Smith and Keith Jordan.
GOP candidate launches write-in campaign
Kristina Smith, the treasurer of the Wyandotte County Republican Central Committee, didn’t decide to run for office until after the June 1 filing deadline.
It wasn’t until Coleman came by her house to campaign that she thought about running, she said. They talked about a half-hour and “I just did not agree with his policies and I told him I didn’t agree with him,” she said.
Later, other information came out about him and then she decided to file her intention of being a candidate with the secretary of state, she said. Write-in candidates don’t have to file with the secretary of state or election office, according to officials.
She started her write-in campaign just a short time before the primary, and did not receive the 500 write-in votes necessary to get her name on the general election ballot, but she is not giving up, she said. She said she will try a write-in campaign at the general election.
“I’m pro-life, I support law enforcement,” Smith said. “My husband is a 32-year police veteran.”
The first thing Coleman mentioned to Smith was that he wanted to defund the Police Department. “I do not believe in that,” Smith said. “I believe we need strong law enforcement for our community.”
If in the future there are any tax increases presented to the Legislature, Smith said she would be in favor of cutting other places and not increasing taxes.
Smith is not in favor of legalizing marijuana, and doesn’t want Kansas to turn into Seattle or Portland, she said. There are a lot of other problems that come with legalizing marijuana, she added.
Smith, 52, is self-employed as a paralegal and bookkeeper. She has a son in the U.S. Marines and a daughter who is a cosmetologist.
She said a 19-year-old is not quite mature enough yet to understand some of the issues that go along with serving as a state legislator.
She works as a volunteer with the Republican Party, and has served as campaign treasurer for Sen. Kevin Braun, R-5th Dist., and worked with a few other state campaigns.
Smith has lived in the Turner area for 26 years. A Shawnee, Kansas, native, Smith attended Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and Johnson County Community College before leaving for a job with a law firm. When her children were in school at St. Joseph’s, she served as parent-teacher president and other volunteer positions.
Smith said she realizes the campaign will be a challenge.
“It is an uphill battle,” she said. “I have got all my brochures in print. We are walking the neighborhood.”
She plans to distribute yard signs later this month and hopes to have some campaign events in the future.
Jordan also a write-in candidate for 37th District
Keith Jordan, who ran for Kansas City, Kansas, mayor in the last mayoral election, also is a write-in candidate for the 37th District.
During the pandemic, Jordan is using some creative ways to reach voters, including a Facebook question-and-answer session tonight.
A broadcaster with radio KQRC-FM 98.9, “The Rock,” Jordan’s radio nickname is “T-Bone.”
“The plain and simple truth is the fact that I cannot in good faith and conscience allow Aaron Coleman to represent District 37,” Jordan said about his reasons for running. “That’s not who we are in this district.”
Even with a clean record, someone who is 19 is young for the position, he said.
“When I was 19, no way I was responsible enough to be doing anything in government,” he said.
Jordan, 46, is a Turner High School graduate who is a registered Democrat. He says he likes some of the Democratic platform and some of the Republican ideas.
“I’m just one of those down-the-middle people,” he said. “If it’s an idea that works, I don’t care whose it is.”
Jordan said he would probably be in favor of Medicaid expansion.
If marijuana is legalized, it would need to be federally regulated, he said. Legalization could be a way to help get rid of the state’s deficit and get more money into the state, he said. In some cases it has helped cancer patients deal with pain.
Although there are a lot of younger people advocating to defund the police, “to me this is ridiculous,” Jordan said.
He said the state should provide more funding to police for more training to deal with people who might have mental issues or be on drugs. He would advocate bonuses for officers who get certification in certain areas, he said. He added he is an advocate for a stronger police presence in the neighborhoods, with more contact with the community and youth to build trust.
He also would be in favor of more funding for local government, he said. He would offer incentives for local law enforcement to retain and hire qualified officers and for training.
Jordan said he is not in favor of any sex offenders being taken off the state’s sex offender list.
Jordan has an associate’s degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College, and after that, he went to work in radio, where he has been 26 years.
He also has coached youth sports, as well as has done volunteer work feeding the needy in the community. He also runs bingo for the Abdallah Shriners and has volunteered at other events as well.
For previous stories, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/coleman-wins-37th-district-nomination-by-14-votes/