Waters, White seek two months in Conyers’ seat

The Detroit News
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Two Democrats seeking to replace resigned U.S. Rep. John Conyers in the 13th Congressional District would hold the seat for less than two months because they filed signatures to complete his current term but not compete for the two-year term that begins in January.

Former state Rep. Mary Waters of Detroit intentionally filed for just the special election, saying it would be an honor to complete Conyers’ term while others compete for the longer-term job.

Southgate medical transporter Kentiel White did so by mistake.

“We didn’t know that we needed another thousand signatures to apply for the two-year term, because we would have did it,” White said, blaming the mix-up on “miscommunication” with elections staff.

“We just assumed that what they told us, that if we make it past August, that we will automatically be on the ballot for re-election for that next term.”

That’s not the case, however. Nine other Democrat and one Republican filed the necessary signatures to appear on the primary ballot for the two-year term that starts in January. Most — but not all — also filed for the special election.

White, who abandoned a long-shot campaign for governor to run for Congress even though he lives outside the district, insists he would have been the “front-runner” for the race because he turned in his signatures “before anyone else did.”

Waters served in the state Legislature and has run for Congress before. She said she might back another candidate for the two-year term but wants to finish what Conyers started before he resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment by former staffers.

She does not know whether those claims are true, Waters said, but Conyers “meant so much for the country” and deserved to serve out his term.

“I’ve kind of always tried to model myself after John Conyers, who always has been a fighter for the people,” she said. “That’s what I did as a state legislator, and I’ve always appreciated what he fought for: jobs, justice and peace.”

A similar scenario unfolded in 2012 when U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, resigned after failing to qualify for the 11th District primary ballot. Democrat Dave Curson won the a special election to replace McCotter but intentionally did not run for the two-year term. He served for less than two months.

Other 13th Congressional District candidates for the partial term ending Jan. 1: Democrats Ian Conyers, John Conyers III, Michael Gilmore, Brenda Jones, Rashida Tlaib and Bill Wild.

Freshman rep picked for Armed Services panel

Freshman U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Dryden, has been selected by GOP leadership to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over defense policy.

“One of our government’s most important functions is to provide for the common defense, and I take this charge seriously. To preserve our security and peace in our increasingly dangerous world, we must provide our military with the resources necessary to respond to any threat,” Mitchell said in a statement.

Mitchell, whose district includes Selfridge Air National Guard Base, will fill the opening on the panel left by Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who was recently confirmed as the next NASA administrator.

His predecessor in the 10th District, former Rep. Candice Miller, also served for a time on the Armed Services Committee.

‘Whip’ is Bonior memoir

Former U.S. Rep. David Bonior was promoting the latest volume of his autobiography, “Whip: Leading the Progressive Battle During the Rise of the Right,” at a book party in Washington this week, according to Politico Playbook.

Bonior, a Macomb County Democrat, was the U.S. House majority and minority whip from 1991-2001. He left Congress at the end of 2002 after 26 years after unsuccessfully running for the Democratic nomination for Michigan governor.

“Whip,” which sells for about $20 on Amazon, is his fourth book and includes portraits of colleagues such as Speaker Tip O’Neill, D-Massachusetts, and GOP Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. A book summary reads in part:

“Key to the Bonior story was his ability, as a leading progressive, to keep winning reelection in a district renowned as the home of the Reagan Democrat. We see him meeting constituents at barbecues and farms, post offices and small-town parades. And we see his trademark, the pine seedling: In his quarter-century of electioneering and outreach, he distributed a million of them. ‘Bonior trees’ still dot his district.”

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Melissa Nann Burke

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