Aaron Coleman, a 19-year-old candidate for Kansas House of Representatives, 37th District, has responded to recent criticism.
Coleman leads long-time legislator, Rep. Stan Frownfelter, by five votes in the Democratic primary, after totals reported on Friday. On election night, he was ahead by one vote.
There are reportedly hundreds of provisional ballots that may be considered on Aug. 17 during canvassing, although it is not certain how many ballots are in the 37th District. The county Board of Canvassers will decide if the provisional ballots will be counted.
Coleman wrote this response recently to an opinion published in another newspaper, which discussed a social media comment he made earlier concerning Herman Cain and Republicans who didn’t wear masks deserving to become ill or die. Coleman has since said that he is “learning from mistakes.” His response:
‘Respect the decision of the voters’
“As a 19-year-old college student defeating a seven term Democratic incumbent for a legislative seat in the Kansas House of Representatives, I expected that I would feel the wrath of party insiders and establishment Democrats. But I did not expect that the media would enter into the dogpile.
“I was saddened to read a recent opinion-editorial from another local newspaper that sets a false equivalency between my legitimate, though poorly communicated, policy positions and the illegitimate, un-American, and anti-Semitic viewpoints of a Missouri Republican legislator.
“My Grandpa Charles’ mother was the only survivor of our family from Auschwitz. I have spent a great deal of time since my election victory this week reflecting on my family’s challenging journey from the Holocaust to the Kansas Legislature. There is a certain pride to know that, if elected in November, I may be both the only Jewish representative and the youngest member of the Kansas House.
“I recognize that the local newspaper’s opinion writers may not have understood or appreciated the anti-Semitic false equivalency displayed in their opinion editorial. I firmly believe in a robust First Amendment that protects free speech and a free press. Legitimate disagreements about my policy positions should always be the centerpiece. Sadly, the local newspaper’s opinion editorial was nothing more than unfortunate, anti-Semitic ‘bile,’ even if unintentional.
“I am young, and I acknowledge that I have made mistakes. I cannot promise that I won’t make more mistakes, but I can promise that I am learning from my mistakes, like every young person does.
“Despite those mistakes, the Democratic voters of Kansas House District 37 have exercised their fundamental right to be heard at the ballot box and elected me as their nominee for the November ballot. It is my sincere hope that the Kansas Democratic House Caucus, the Kansas Democratic Party and the media will respect the decision of the voters in Kansas House District 37.”
Aaron Coleman Democratic nominee for Kansas House 37
More votes have come in for the 37th District, state representative, contest, where teen challenger Aaron Coleman was leading by one vote over veteran legislator Rep. Stan Frownfelter on election night. Coleman now leads by five votes.
The vote total was 807 for Coleman to 802 for Rep. Frownfelter as of late Friday, according to the election office’s website, as an additional 74 votes were added. On Tuesday, election night, Coleman was ahead by one vote, 768 to 767.
Mail ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday could arrive by Friday in this contest to be counted. The vote canvass on Aug. 17 will be the next step in counting the ballots.
Rep. Frownfelter said there were hundreds of provisional ballots in the county that also could be considered by the Board of Canvassers on Aug. 17, although he how many of the ballots were in the 37th District.In past years, large numbers of provisional ballots came from people who did such things as not signing t back of the envelope for the mail ballot, or going to the wrong polling place on Election Day. The election office has called voters in the past to look into the provisional ballots.