Dan Coleman, Once Charged With Murder, Now in Second Run for Arizona House

There are four names on the general election ballot for State Representative in District 27, and while two of those people will be elected, only one of those people was once accused of fatally shooting a woman in the face.

That would be Dan Coleman, the lone Republican candidate in the race, who was dubbed the "Killer Candidate" in a 2006 New Times cover story, during his first run for the Arizona House of Representatives.

See also:
-Killer Candidate

"I don't talk to the New Times, thanks," Coleman said when we called him up today.

Coleman eventually called back, and although he was suspicious of us calling him, he ended up putting everything up for discussion.

"There's been a lot of growth in the state," Coleman said after we asked him to give us his campaign pitch. "South Phoenix has been pretty well left behind."

He wasn't too pleased with how he was portrayed in the 2006 New Times cover story, or a 2010 blog post, but luckily for us, he explained that he's a believer in the adage, "there's no such thing as bad press."

Coleman's running against two Democrats already elected to the Legislature -- Catherine Miranda and Ruben Gallego -- as well as a Green Party candidate, Angel Torres. There was an effort to get Miranda off the ballot over allegations of fraud -- which would've given Coleman an easy path to the House -- but a judge ruled that the lawsuit was filed too late to take action.

Coleman's other run for a House seat, in 2006, came just a few years after he fatally shot his then-girlfriend's sister after she essentially broke into his house. Coleman was charged with first-degree murder -- twice. Both charges were tossed out by a judge.

He says he thinks Miranda has tried to use the shooting as a campaign issue, but he says she's just "reaching for anything." The district Coleman's trying to represent is heavily Democratic, and Coleman says Democrats almost outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

Still, Miranda's controversy, and indeed, her family's controversies (see: Richard Miranda Going to Prison for Stealing From Charity) has Coleman thinking he's got a shot.

He's much better-spoken about immigration and Hispanic issues than one would expect out of his Republican counterparts already in state legislative seats, and he's definitely not happy about the state of south Phoenix's public schools.

He's also a pretty straightforward speaker.

"She's corrupt and stupid, and I'm neither," Coleman says, referencing Miranda.

Coleman doesn't have it out for the other Democrat, Gallego, as he explained that he's definitely not friends with Gallego, but they're definitely good acquaintances who get along.

He's still got many of the expected Republican views that probably won't sit well with voters in his district -- consider the statement on his campaign website, "Gun control means hitting the target you are aiming at" -- but he's probably in the best position he could to beat a member of the Miranda family in an election.

"If it's not me, it'd have to be somebody else," he says.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley