Conyers III disqualified as independent candidate for Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
John Conyers III

Election officials say John Conyers III won't appear as an independent candidate for Congress on the general election ballot this fall — his second ballot disqualification this year.

In July, Conyers III submitted an estimated 5,600 signatures to appear on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate in the 13th District, where his father, former Rep. John Conyers Jr., served for nearly 53 years before last year's resignation. Ex-Rep. Conyers endorsed his son as he announced his resignation in December.

Conyers III, a Detroit Democrat, sought to run as an independent after he was disqualified from the Aug. 7 primary election over problems with the signatures on his nominating petitions. Conyers tried to fight that decision in court and lost

This time, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett wrote to Conyers III to inform him he is not qualified to submit petitions as a unaffiliated candidate because he already submitted nominating petitions for a partisan primary for the same office earlier this year. 

Under state law, Garrett explained, individuals may not file as an independent for an election held during the same calendar year that they filed for a partisan primary for the same office. 

Garrett noted in her July 19 letter that Conyers claimed on his petition filing receipt that he had not filed a partisan nominating petition or fee in the same calendar year. 

The Michigan Bureau of Elections concurred with Garrett that Conyers III is ineligible run as a no-party affiliation candidate, spokesman Fred Woodhams said Tuesday. 

Garrett spokeswoman Lisa Williams-Jackson said Conyers III may still run as a write-in candidate in either the primary or general elections. 

Conyers III did not immediately respond Tuesday afternoon to a request for comment. 

The elder Conyers stepped down in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The crowded Democratic primary includes Conyers' great nephew, state Sen. Ian Conyers, as well as former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Shanelle Jackson of Detroit, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, state Sen. Coleman Young III of Detroit and Westland Mayor Bill Wild.