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Kansas Democrats spurn deaf candidate over abuse allegations

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Democrats have pulled their support from a deaf legislative candidate who is accused by three women of being emotionally abusive.

The state party and the Kansas House Democrats said in a joint statement that the allegations against Chris Haulmark are “deeply troubling.” The party said it won’t invest any resources in Haulmark’s effort to unseat Republican John Toplikar, The Kansas City Star reports.

Haulmark told The Star the Democrat’s decision was “reached prematurely and without merit.” He would be the first deaf legislator — at the state or national level — if he wins the House seat in a GOP-leaning Olathe district, according to the National Association of the Deaf.

The Star contacted three women who alleged abuse in videos posted in sign language and received their permission to share their stories.

Haulmark said in a Facebook post last week, as allegations circulated on social media, that he is “far from perfect” and went to therapy to “work on those things to make me a better friend, boyfriend, co-worker, and possibly future husband.”

Former girlfriend Tonia Jimmerson described a volatile relationship and one instance in which she said Haulmark threatened to burn down a tent in which her youngest daughter was sleeping at a campground in Glacier National Park in Montana. Haulmark said he recalled threatening to throw the tent into the fire during an argument, but contends it wasn’t a threat to harm anyone.

Candy Villesca, a former roommate, said Haulmark was manipulative, and even convinced her that she had mental problems. She said she went to a mental hospital and was told there was nothing wrong with her.

Another ex-roommate, Jennifer Carlino, said she had to sue in small claims court in June to get him to pay back the $1,100 he borrowed to pay back his filing fee to run for Kansas 3rd congressional seat. He later dropped out of that race.

Haulmark said Carlino had given him until July 1 to pay her back and that he sent a certified check with full payment, which she received one day after she had filed her small claims complaint. He said he was “dumbfounded” by the allegations. Carlino also described Haulmark as controlling and manipulative.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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