Judge denies Conyers' request to get back on ballot
A Wayne County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday rejected John Conyers III's request to put his name back on the Aug. 7 Democratic primary race ballot.
The oldest son of resigned U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, filed a lawsuit last week seeking the court to declare him an eligible candidate for the U.S. House in a bid to claim his father's congressional seat in the 13th District. The 89-year-old congressman stepped down in December amid allegations of sexual harassment by former staffers.
Read more: Conyers' son sues to get back on ballot
Conyers III sought a court order to force Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett to put him on the ballot.
"I am denying the request ... and ordering dismissal of the complaint," Wayne County Chief Circuit Court Judge Robert Columbo said during the hearing.
Legal precedent doesn't support Conyers' request and he has another legal remedy for getting on the ballot — launching a write-in campaign, Columbo said.
The decision was a win for state Sen. Ian Conyers of Detroit, the 29-year-old former congressman’s great nephew, who is also running for the seat in the 13th Congressional District. The state senator's attorney challenged 27-year-old Conyers III’s petition signatures and prompted the review by Garrett’s office.
Conyers' attorney, Melvin Butch Hollowell, said they plan on appealing the judge's ruling.
"We're obviously disappointed," said Hollowell, managing partner of the Detroit office of the Miller Law Firm and former corporation counsel for the city of Detroit. "But we'll continue to fight for John Conyers III to be on the ballot. We do believe that on appeal he will be successful and we will get moving on that quickly."
The next step would be to go to the Michigan Court of Appeals or, in a long-shot move, seek expedited consideration by the Michigan Supreme Court — something the high court usually avoids.
Two weeks ago, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett disqualified Conyers from the race after she ruled he didn't have sufficient voter signatures to be on the ballot.
Unless Columbo's ruling is reversed, the crowded field of congressional candidates will be thinned. Others running for the office include former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Shanelle Jackson, Westland Mayor Bill Wild, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and state Sen. Coleman Young II.
The winner of the primary will take the seat since no Republican is running.