(JTA) — The 19-year-old Jewish community college student who won a Democratic primary for a state House seat in Kansas announced that he would drop out of the race after admitting to harassing girls online when he was in middle school.
In a series of tweets, Aaron Coleman said his critics have betrayed feminism but also announced he would resign his candidacy for the Kansas State House’s 37th district. He had defeated a 13-year incumbent in the primary.
“I regret my past actions and hope to continually learn from them as I grow into the person I hope to be & My dad is in the hospital and I never expected this kind of attention. It’s too much. I need to focus on taking care of my family & surviving the COVID great depression,” he continued.
Coleman, of Kansas City, last week defeated Stan Frownfelter, 823 to 809. Frownfelter has said he is mulling a write-in candidacy. There is no Republican candidate for the seat.
Coleman, the great-grandson of a Holocaust survivor, admitted to The Kansas City Star that he called one girl fat and told her to kill herself. She told the newspaper that she did, indeed, attempt suicide. He blackmailed a second girl, threatening to send a nude photo of her to her family and friends unless she sent her more. When the girl did not comply, Coleman sent the photo he had. She told the newspaper that she doesn’t know how Coleman obtained the photo in the first place. A third woman told the newspaper that he harassed her “for months.”
“I made serious mistakes in middle school and I deeply regret and apologize for them. I’ve grown up a great deal since then,” Coleman told The Star editorial board last week.
Coleman told The Intercept in a profile published on Saturday that he reached out to his victims to apologize but they have not responded.