Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

John Conyers’ Ballot Slot in Peril

John Conyers Ballot Slot in Peril

Conyers may not qualify for the primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

But Conyers’ counsel indicated in the statement that there is more litigating to be done before conclusions ought to be drawn.

“The fact of the matter is that there is a primary review process that has many steps that must be taken before the process is completed,” he added.

If thrown off the ballot, Conyers may have two paths to re-election: run as a write-in in the Democratic primary or as an independent in the general election.

A write-in candidacy would likely require a drastic revamping of his campaign apparatus. Conyers raised $61,000 in the first quarter of this year and reported $112,000 in cash on hand. The disbursements section of his Federal Election Report showed very little in the way of campaign staffing and infrastructure.

A Michigan Democratic operative suggested that a lifeline in this scenario would be outside interest group intervention, which occurred in his 2012 primary.

Should he run as an independent, the petition filing deadline to qualify for the general-election ballot is July 17. National Democratic operatives brushed off any scenario where Conyers and Sheffield would splinter the Democratic vote enough in the fall to allow for a Republican upset. President Barack Obama carried the Detroit-based 13th District with 85 percent in 2012.

A Conyers absence from the delegation in 2015 would be a staggering development in Michigan politics. There are 16 members of the Wolverine State congressional delegation, including the senators.

So far, five members are vacating their seats, including Democratic Sen. Carl Levin. Additionally, Republican Rep. Dan Benishek is in a tough re-election race, as is, to a far lesser extent, Republican Rep. Tim Walberg.

Given Conyers’ problems, there is a chance that half of the delegation will not return in January.

  • ShadrachSmith

    When did the law ever prevent a Detroit Democrat from doing anything?

  • southerndemnut

    Apparently politicians of both sides of the aisle have issues with signature gathering. Remember Thaddeus McCotter from 2 years ago. With the retirement of John Dingell, Carl Levin, Mike Rogers, etc. and if Conyers gets kicked off as well, Michigan will have lost an enormous amount of seniority and influence over the last 10 years.

  • Joann Roxbury

    Over the long term, cultures with superior customs, such as liberty and free enterprise, have a distinct advantage over primitive groups using ancient practices such as collectivism.

  • darthgidget

    Obama carried the district, and look where that got Detroit now. lmao

  • Frank’s Inatra

    Without centralized coercive power, it is impossible to force people to chase illusions such as “fair” income distribution, “man-made climate change”, and “social justice”.

    • terjeanderson

      Spam Fried Rice Recipe

      SPAM and other canned meats are popular for everyday meals in Hawaii, and even those are not fans of SPAM often find it tasty when cut into matchstick size pieces, fried, and added to fried rice. This simple South Pacific style SPAM fried rice recipe includes rice, SPAM, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sliced green onion.

      SPAM Fried Rice Ingredients:
      2 cups leftover rice
      1-1/2 cups SPAM, cut into match stick size pieces
      1 egg
      1 tablespoon soy sauce
      3 green onions, thinly sliced
      Sesame Oil

      SPAM Fried Rice Instructions:
      Heat a small amount of sesame oil into a skillet and brown spam pieces on all sides. Mix in the rice. Mix the egg with the soy sauce and stir into the hot rice and spam. Stir gently until the egg is cooked. Sprinkle green onions on top and serve.

  • YONATAN C

    The Republican party and their cronies have done themselves a great disservice by holding the extension bill hostage since late last December. While they continued delaying and rejecting each proposal submitted in the senate, millions of families have suffered adversely financially. Millions of families have faced eviction, home foreclosures, personal bankruptcy, and homelessness, while the republican senate played “party politics”, using these families as bargaining chips, for political leverage, to further their political agenda. These are people with children who are suffering for no fault of their own, because of lay offs and corporate downsizing. These are not the “lazy” unemployed workers depicted in the press by some republicans in the senate. It’s always easy to point blame at others for failures, rather to one’s own self for failed policies. Remember, it wasn’t the poor and unemployed that caused our economy “meltdown” several years ago. It was the greedy bankers that were responsible, and needed bailing out with taxpayer’s dollars. Which after the bail outs, gave each other huge bonuses. Now the republican party, with senators such as John Boehner, are holding the much needed help for these families as leverage for the passing of their OIL bill in the senate. Sadly, this is what it all comes down to. I hope the republicans are prepared for the tremendous backlash by these millions of families and their loved ones in the coming elections. They may not care at the moment, but I assure you that they will realized their mistake when the democrats win by another landslide. The republicans have proven themselves to represent only the interests of a chosen few in our great country

  • Oliver Ales

    Although merit can’t replace utility for making market decisions in a free country, we must recognize military merit in liberty’s defense.

  • Alice Boxstrom

    If we cannot estimate the value of the efforts we’re considering, we have little choice but to depend upon others to direct our way ahead.

  • YONATAN C

    THE REPUBLICAN SENATE NEEDS TO PASS THE LONG AWAITED UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION BILL, FOR THE 2.6 MILLION OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE BEEN WITHOUT BENEFITS SINCE LAST DECEMBER. SINCE LAST DECEMBER, MILLIONS OF FAMILIES HAVE FACED FINANCIAL RUIN, HAVE FACED EVICTION, HOME FORECLOSURES, PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY, AND HOMELESSNESS, WHILE THE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE PLAYING THEIR “PARTY POLITICS” IN THE SENATE. THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE “ELECTED OFFICIALS” TO START REPRESENTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, AND NOT THE XL OIL PIPELINE LOBBY INTEREST. THAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS FIVE MONTH DELAY AND BATTLE IN THE SENATE TO PASS THE EXTENSION BILL. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN HOLDING THE EXTENSION BILL AS “HOSTAGE” UNTIL THEIR “SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP” GETS THEIR OIL PIPLINE APPROVED. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE ACTUALLY ASSISTED WITH MAKING THESE UNFORTUNATE FAMILIES SUFFER, IN ORDER TO GET THEIR OWN BILL PASSED BY THE PRESIDENT. AS A “FORMER” REPUBLICAN, I CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT I WILL NEVER AGAIN VOTE FOR THEIR PARTY.

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