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The state of Michigan will not challenge a federal judge’s order to put Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. on the primary ballot.
“Based on the facts of the judge’s order, the state has decided not to appeal in the Conyers case,” Michigan Department of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said in a written statement.
Last Friday, Conyers’ hopes for appearing on the Aug. 5 primary ballot were all but lost. But then a federal judge ordered the state to put him on the ballot. Earlier this month, a county clerk ruled the 25-term ineligible to appear on Michigan’s 13th District ballot due to problems with his petition signatures. Full story
Updated 4:47 p.m. | A federal judge has ruled that 25-term Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. shall appear on his party’s Aug. 5 primary ballot.
A U.S. district judge in the Eastern District of Michigan decided Friday to grant an injunction ordering the state to put him on the ballot.
Earlier Friday, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson had ruled the longtime lawmaker ineligible, according to The Detroit News.
“As Secretary Johnson implicitly acknowledged in her ruling today, if the signatures excluded pursuant to the Registration Statute may not be excluded from Mr. Conyers’ total — and this Court holds that they may not be — then Mr. Conyers has enough signatures to qualify for placement on the ballot,” Judge Matthew F. Leitman wrote. “He shall be placed on the ballot.” (The full opinion is here.)
Leitman was nominated to the federal bench last year by President Barack Obama. He was confirmed in March 2014.
A local county clerk had previously decided Conyers, 85, was ineligible. The secretary of State decision on Friday was the result of a Conyers campaign appeal.
But the Conyers campaign had also appealed to federal court on the constitutionality of the state’s law requiring campaigns’ petition circulators be registered voters. That’s what tripped up the longtime lawmaker’s bid. Full story
Updated 6:14 p.m. | Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. failed to qualify for the Michigan 13th District primary ballot, a local county clerk ruled Tuesday.
“Seeing that I do not have the authority to rule on the constitutionality of laws and statutes, that the County Clerks are bound by, 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, according to Detroit affiliate WDIV. Full story
The counsel to Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., insisted Friday afternoon that the 25-term incumbent will qualify for the primary ballot in August, despite a Wayne County clerk’s statement to a local news outlet that the congressman did not have enough signatures.
“I am confident that at the end of these proceedings Congressman Conyers will be certified and on the primary election ballot in August,” attorney John D. Pirich said in a statement.
Michigan statute dictates that petition gatherers, “circulators,” must be registered to vote in order to complete this task. Local outlets reported that Democratic primary rival, the Rev. Horace Sheffield, challenged the eligibility of Conyers’ circulators, and it’s uncertain whether Conyers will be able to meet the 1,000-ballot threshold needed to qualify for the primary.
A final decision will come May 7, according to WDIV. The filing deadline was April 22, and the primary will be held Aug. 5.
“It’s not over, but it doesn’t look good,” a Michigan Democratic operative said of Conyers’ ballot chances, echoing the vast sentiment of operatives interviewed by Roll Call on Friday afternoon. Most of the operatives noted that the chaos was not unexpected. Full story
This is arguably the most volatile period for the House battleground map, as partisan operatives are making their final ad spending decisions and beginning to move money away from some races to put more resources into other contests.
The Senate map is much less fluid, yet this is the time when some races begin to fade in terms of their competitiveness and others become more so. In recent weeks we’ve seen the New Mexico Senate contest move to the less competitive category, while Connecticut and Indiana are now fully in play. We are still monitoring developments in Connecticut (and could make another ratings change there soon), but new polling in Indiana confirmed for us that a ratings change was due. Full story
DETROIT — Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) sat in the audience Thursday night, quietly listening to his opponents debate.
Four candidates — including his colleague, Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) — touted their credentials for the seat, while Clarke sat out of the debate, watching among a small crowd in the Wayne State University Law School auditorium.
Last month, Clarke said he would no longer participate in debates because of “racist rhetoric” in the 14th district race. But in a bizarre evening, Clarke appeared at the National Association of Black Journalists forum anyway to promote his struggling candidacy.
“I thought this was the proper forum for everyone to actually compare who we are as people, and for me to be able to address firsthand any issues,” Clarke told reporters afterward. “I felt it was important for me to be here and be available at this one time.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R) will not have a top challenger for his re-election race this November, leaving Democrats with a major recruitment hole in the Michigan map.
Instead, Democrats will focus their efforts on a rerun race between freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R) and former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D) in the state’s Upper Peninsula.
The Wolverine State’s Congressional races were set today, when the candidate filing period closed at 4 p.m. There were no major surprises among the dozens of petitions, including Walberg’s race. A couple of weeks ago, former GOP Rep. Joe Schwarz declined to challenge Walberg as a Democrat.
Michigan shed a House seat due to population loss, and Republicans led a redraw of the state’s Congressional boundaries last year. As a result, a few Democrats filed to run for re-election in new territory around Detroit.