Aaron Coleman, a 19-year-old Democratic candidate who has admitted to revenge porn, is staying in the race for the Kansas House of Representatives after pledging to drop out.
The community college student said in a statement that dropping out is “not fair” to voters and that they “deserve to have a choice.”
He has admitted to engaging in harassing behavior online, including bullying, blackmail, and revenge porn, when he was in middle school.
After coming under national scrutiny for his past online behavior, Coleman announced on Aug. 23 his decision to drop out of the race in a statement on Twitter. "After talking with my family and my supporters, I’ve made the decision to withdraw as the Democratic nominee for HD 37 so I can focus on caring for my family. Now our party can pick a new nominee," he tweeted at the time.
In a separate tweet on that same day, he addressed the allegations against him. “I regret my past actions and hope to continually learn from them as I grow into the person I hope to be,” he said.
In his Tuesday statement, Coleman stated that he heard from "many" people who have urged him not to drop out, saying "that they did not vote for me expecting that I was a perfect person. They told me that all of us have sinned, and we all make mistakes."
"From the moment I won, I have endured sustained attacks. These attacks against me were far more than I bargained for. I obviously did not expect to have my entire personal life, especially what I did in middle school, put under that kind of national microscope," he said.
Coleman recently defeated seven-term incumbent Rep. Stan Frownfelter (D) in the primary election. “Voters do not throw out a 7-term incumbent for a person like myself unless they are deeply frustrated with their lack of representation and demanding a change,” he said in the statement.
Coleman included in the statement his ActBlue link, however, it appears he is no longer being supported by the organization, which allows Democrats to fundraise. He tweeted a few hours after his announcement that his campaign's ActBlue had been disabled and that his team was now “pursuing alternative avenues.”
ActBlue confirmed that the account had been deactivated in an email shared by Coleman. “We are unable to work with your campaign moving forward as you are out of alignment with ActBlue’s mission,” read a part of ActBlue's email.
“Remember this. Corporate democrats decide who gets to run or not,” Coleman tweeted of ActBlue's decision. “The elites have no care in the world for the people of my district who live at the poverty line.”
“They don't care if voters nominated me, regardless of my sins I apologized for in June (months before the election),” he wrote.
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