Saturday, May 10, 2014

John Conyers Could Lose His House Seat

May 10 (S2N Media) Michigan officials said in a report released on Friday that Rep John Conyers (D-Mich.) did not submit enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in 2014.Conyers has represented Detroit in the House for 49 years. According to The Detroit News, the seasoned Democrat came up more than 400 signatures shy of qualifying for the ballot because his signature-gatherers were not registered voters, according to the Detroit News.

The findings in the report, does not mean that Conyers is automatically off the ballot. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett will make a final determination on his status and the Conyers campaign will have three days to appeal to the Michigan Secretary of State. Conyers' legal team is expected to appeal the ruling. If they are unsuccessful in getting the ruling overturned, Conyers would be the third Michigan / Detroit representative departing from the House this year. Rep. John Dingell, who has represented the area for more than 60 years, is retiring. Rep. Gary Peters, in just his third term, is giving up his seat to run for Senate.

The initial review showed 1,193 valid signatures. A subsequent review showed 1,236 valid signatures. Seven-hundred sixty-four of the initial 2,000 signatures were deemed invalid for a variety of reasons, including: petition signers not being registered to vote or not residents of 13th district, a signature being improperly dated or having a bad address.

Conyers entrusted some individuals to accomplish this task that obviously were sloppy with the details.

According to campaign finance reports, Conyers' spent $11,500 on signature collection services in the first three months of 2014. He paid Detroit based Ronin America - Detroit political consultant Steve Hood's firm - $8,500, and a Skip Mongo $3,000.

State Sen. Bert Johnson, (D-Highland Park) finds it appalling that this happened.

"It's absolutely galling that he sent thousands of dollars to a firm to get himself on the ballot and this has happened. We've got circulators who weren't proper, signatures that weren't vetted. All of it begs the question of whether the congressman was set up."

Senator Johnson raises a valid question. I certainly question how established signature collecting firms could be so negligent they would omit verifying the simple requirement that their employees be registered voters. I will stop short of wading in some conspiracy theory waters, however I have to admit this elementary misfire does raise questions.

If Conyers does lose his seat, it would be an abrupt end to a nearly 50-year career in Congress. Conyers, 84, was first elected in 1964 and has been a leading liberal and civil rights voice in Congress during his tenure, rising at one time to lead the influential House

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