Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) has been a member of Congress since 1965, this however may be his last year in the House, not because of retirement, but because his team made a rookie mistake and he doesn’t have enough signatures to be on the ballot for the August 5th Democratic Party primary.
“It is my determination that in accordance with the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan, the nominating petitions filed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. are insufficient to allow his name to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot,”Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said in a statement.
The decision means Conyers may have to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to keep a seat he’s held for five decades.
If Conyers wins reelection, the 84 year old civil rights leader and House Judiciary Committee ranking member would become the Dean of the House, having served longer than any other current member. His former boss, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), is retiring this year.
Conyers’s Democratic primary opponent, pastor Horace Sheffield III, challenged the validity of the incumbent’s signatures. The clerk ruled that since two of his petition-gatherers weren’t registered voters in Michigan, as required under state law, the signatures he obtained didn’t count.
Conyers submitted 2,000 signatures, needing 1,000 valid ones. After the challenges, he had 592.
Legal challenges to the petition-gathering rule are likely, though. The American Civil Liberties Union has already challenged that law in federal court, saying it’s unconstitutional to require signature-gatherers to be registered voters.
Whether or not Conyers challenge succeeds, this was a rookie mistake. This is Conyers’ 26th run for congress, his team should have been very aware of the law. Perhaps its better this way. This is the kind of error which indicates a sloppiness that comes with arrogance and political entitlement. It is an indication that maybe Conyers is not the best person to represent his district in congress.