Kansas lawmaker facing warning rejoins Democratic Party
February 7, 2021
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A freshman Kansas House member who's due to get a public warning from colleagues about his behavior before he took office has rejoined the Democratic Party.
Rep. Aaron Coleman of Kansas City, Kansas, confirmed Monday that he returned to the party last week, about three weeks after registering unaffiliated. Coleman had switched to unaffiliated after the House's top Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, refused to give him any committee assignments.
But Coleman said Monday: "I was elected as a Democrat. I ran as a Democrat. I vote with the Democrats."
The 20-year-old Coleman was accused of abusive behavior toward girls and young women before he took office last month and of telling an aide to Sawyer last year that he would physically harm the legislative leader.
Those allegations led to a complaint from fellow House Democrats, along with a now-deleted tweet criticizing Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly that said, "People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it's real."
Coleman told a House committee reviewing the complaint that the tweet was inappropriate, and he apologized to Sawyer for "inappropriate conduct."
The committee is drafting a letter warning Coleman about his past conduct and spelling out its expectations for his future behavior.