Kansas voters oust state lawmakers with misconduct, legal woes

Two KS state lawmakers with legal woes ousted in primaries
Photo credit KMBZ

KANSAS CITY – Two state lawmakers who faced legal issues during their time in the Kansas Legislature were both soundly defeated in their bids for reelection.

Freshman state Rep. Aaron Coleman lost a three-way race to Melissa Oropeza, of Kansas City, Kansas, in Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Republican Rep. Mark Samsel, of Wellsville, who has served in the Legislature since 2019, was defeated by Carrie Barth, of Baldwin City.

Coleman has been ensnared in controversy since running for election in 2020 as a teenager. He previously admitted to abuse of young women and girls before he was elected, including circulating revenge porn and slapping and choking an ex-girlfriend.
Gov. Laura Kelly and other Democrats said Coleman should resign and the House issued a written reprimand.

He agreed in March to undergo mental health counseling and a domestic violence assessment to avoid prosecution on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge involving his brother. Coleman also faced two traffic charges after he was arrested in November, initially for DUI.

On Tuesday, Coleman got only 321 votes, or 13.1%, while Oropeza won with 1,203 votes, 49.2%, and Faith Rivera received 923 votes, or 37.7% of the vote.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Coleman congratulated Oropeza and thanked his supporters. “I hope this decision is the best for everyone,” he wrote. Coleman did not respond to messages Wednesday seeking further comment.

Samsel, an attorney from Wellsville, KS was placed on a year of probation after he pled guilty in September to three misdemeanor charges of battery against two students while working as a substitute teacher at a local high school. He was accused of kicking a high school student in the testicles.

The Republican state lawmaker was recorded on video by high school students going on rants throughout the day, talking excitedly about lesbians, sex, suicide, masturbation, god and the Christian bible.