TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House Democrats started the process Tuesday to oust a newly elected lawmaker over multiple issues that include the 20-year-old’s rhetoric on Twitter and allegations of harassing and threatening girls and young women.
A formal compliant filed in the House about State Rep. Aaron Coleman will kick off a bipartisan investigation that will culminate in a recommendation and vote about his future in the Legislature. A two-thirds majority would be necessary to oust Coleman, of Kansas City, Kansas, who was sworn in on Monday.
“He is a danger to women,” said Minority Leader Tom Sawyer in a statement. “His removal is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of legislators and Capitol staff.”
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has said Coleman is unfit to serve in the House.
Coleman, who was elected as a Democrat, tweeted Tuesday that he was unaffiliating with the party. He wrote that Democratic leaders in the House have “done everything possible” to deny the people of his district the right to representation in the Legislature.
“I am ready to get to work for the people of Kansas,” he said, adding that he is being stymied. While the censure inquiry is underway, he won’t be assigned to any committees or given an office.
He didn’t immediately respond to a text message from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Coleman ran on a progressive platform that included providing universal health coverage, ending college tuition and legalizing marijuana. He won his primary race even after admitting on social media that he had circulated revenge porn as a “sick and troubled” middle school-aged boy.
He faced only write-in candidates in the general election, even as at least two other cases in which he was accused of threatening or abusing girls or young women came to light.
Last week, he reached a legal agreement with Brandie Armstrong, the campaign manager for the veteran lawmaker Coleman narrowly defeated in the Democratic primary in August. The order ended an anti-stalking court order against him.
Armstrong said in her request for the court order that Coleman repeatedly sent harassing texts and personal messages to her during the campaign, came to her home in June and October and attempted to file “false and bogus” complaints against her landlord to try to get her evicted.