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Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) won’t appear on the Democratic primary ballot after failing to submit enough valid signatures, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said on Tuesday.
“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,” 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.
Michigan state Sen. Bert Johnson (D), Conyers’s campaign chairman, told the Detroit Newson Monday that the campaign will continue to prepare its own potential legal challenge and write-in campaign.
“If they should be victorious, it has great implications for our campaign, he said. “It’s always better to be on the ballot than be a write-in.”
The DCCC says they will stand by Conyers, no matter what happens as a result of his and the ACLU’s respective challenges to the law/ruling. My thought is even if he doesn’t get on the ballot officially, his write-in campaign would probably be successful. Detroit voters have this unfortunate habit of continuing to vote the same people in office over and over again and expecting different results.
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)