- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Longtime Rep. John Conyers of Michigan got kicked off the Aug. 5 Democratic primary ballot Tuesday for not submitting enough valid signatures, an election official announced.

Mr. Conyers, a 49-year House veteran representing a Detroit district, was more than 408 signatures short of the 1,000 required to appear on the ballot, said Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett.

Apparently some of Mr. Conyers‘ petition circulators were not registered voters, as required by law. All the signatures they collected were thrown out as a result.

“It is a very unfortunate circumstance that an issue with a circulator of a petition would disqualify the signature of valid registered voter,” Ms. Garrett said. “However, I am bound by the current laws and statutes of the state of Michigan that set forth very specific and narrow instructions regarding candidate petitions.”

Mr. Conyers, 84, has three days to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Secretary of State. He could still pursue a write-in campaign and, if wins the primary that way, would automatically appear on the general election ballot.

Mr. Conyers is a fixture of Detroit politics and has held top posts in the Congress, including chairing the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee.

His personal and political life was shaken in 2010 when his wife, former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, was sentenced to more than three years in prison for bribery and corruption. She got out last year.

Mr. Conyers‘ primary rival, the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, whose campaign challenge the signature count, commended Ms. Garrett.

“I appreciate it - with knowing the relationship and respect she has for the congressman,” Mr. Sheffield told The Associated Press. “I also respect that she did what the law called for her to do.”

Mr. Conyers was first elected to the House in 1964 and has won repeatedly by landslides. He won re-elected to a 25th term in 2012 with 83 percent of the vote.

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party “fully supports” Mr. Conyers, despite the setback.

“I have every confidence that when this long process is complete, Representative Conyers will continue to serve the people of Michigan in Congress. As the next Dean of the House, the Michigan delegation and pillar of the Democratic party, Representative Conyers will remain one of the most respected voices in Congress,” said Mr. Israel, New York Democrat.

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