Longtime Wyandotte County activist Faith Rivera made it official Monday, announcing that she will run a primary campaign against embattled Democratic state Rep. Aaron Coleman in House District 37.
“After leading the charge to inform my community about Aaron Coleman’s conduct, I will take the fight directly to the ballot box,” Rivera said in a statement.
“We deserve a representative who will fight for everyone, not just themselves. Abusers have no place in politics or the Democratic party, and I will do everything I can to defeat him,” she said.
Coleman wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Rivera has been planning a campaign for weeks, already appointing a treasurer so she could start raising money and creating an account on ActBlue, the online site that helps Democrats raise money from small donors.
Coleman has been under fire from his own party throughout his term after he acknowledged allegations of online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn when he was in middle school.
A former girlfriend also accused Coleman of slapping and choking her.
And last October, it was reported that Coleman was arrested for threatening to shoot a student at a school in the Turner School District when he was 14 years old. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge.
Coleman’s past didn’t surface until after he upset longtime Democratic state Rep. Stan Frownfelter in the 2020 primary.
Coleman’s ActBlue account was shut down last year amid all of the turmoil that surfaced after his surprise election.
Rivera was among those who testified against Coleman last January when a special legislative commiteee convened to consider a complaint calling for his ouster from the Legislature.
The committee decided to send an informal warning letter to Coleman for a pattern of abusive behavior toward women.
The committee didn’t take stronger action because Coleman was not sworn in as a member of the House when the actions occurred.
Rivera described herself in her ActBlue profile as a voting rights activist and a founder of Connect the Dotte, an organization promoting civic engagement in Wyandotte County.
Rivera said she worked last year as the 3rd Congressional District director for the Progressive Turnout Project, “organizing her neighbors and making their voices heard in the political process.”
The Progressive Turnout Project is a Chicago-based group that bills itself as the largest voter contact organization in the country with a mission of getting Democrats to vote.
Two years ago, Rivera ran for a seat on Wyandotte County’s Board of Public Utilities and finished fifth in a six-person field in the primary.
“This race will be about who has the temperament and the experience to fight for us in Topeka,” Rivera said.
“Rep. Coleman is too busy dodging the next scandal to focus on the real issues plaguing us in Turner. We need a leader, not a pariah.” she said.
Coleman now represents House District 37, which lies south of State Avenue and is bisected by Interstate 70 in the north and I-635 in the east.
The district is reliably Democratic, going for President Joe Biden with 58% of the vote last year and supporting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Bollier with 57% of the vote.