A Wayne County clerk has concluded that Representative John Conyers (D., Mich.), who has served since 1965, did not submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary in August. After several assessments, it was determined that Conyers submitted only 592 valid signatures out of the required 1,000 to qualify.
Conyers’s campaign is expected to submit legal challenges, or potentially launch a write-in campaign.
Under state laws, individuals collecting signatures must be registered Michigan voters. After a challenge by Conyers’s primary opponent, Reverend Horace Sheffield, officials found that at least two petition circulators for Conyers were not registered, making the signatures they submitted invalid.
“It is a very unfortunate circumstance that an issue with a circulator of a petition would disqualify the signature of a valid registered voter,” county clerk Cathy Garrett told Detroit News, but said she she is “bound by the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan.”
Conyers’s campaign can appeal to Michigan’s secretary of state, as well as sue in county or federal court. Additionally, his campaign manager said the congressman may mount a write-in campaign ahead of the primary.
Conyers is currently the second-longest serving congressman, and would become the longest-serving next session if reelected following the retirement of fellow Michigan congressman John Dingell.