Cong. John Conyers Fails To Qualify For Ballot

As anticipated, Michigan Congressman John Coyners will not appear on the ballot for re-election due to his failure to submit sufficient qualifying signatures:

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) won’t appear on the Democratic primary ballot after failing to submit enough valid signatures, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said on Tuesday.

“It is my determination that in accordance with the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan, the nominating petitions filed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. are insufficient to allow his name to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot,” Garrett said in a statement.

The decision means Conyers may have to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to keep a seat he’s held for five decades.

Conyers’s Democratic primary opponent, pastor Horace Sheffield III, challenged the validity of the incumbent’s signatures. The clerk ruled that since two of his petition-gatherers weren’t registered voters in Michigan, as required under state law, the signatures he obstained signatures didn’t count.

Conyers submitted 2,000 signatures, needing 1,000 valid ones. After the challenges, he had 592.

Legal challenges to the petition-gathering rule are likely, though. The American Civil Liberties Union has already challenged that law in federal court, saying it’s unconstitutional to require signature-gatherers to be registered voters.

While it may seem odd that a sitting Congressman should have to qualify to appear on the ballot for re-election, it’s worth noting that the law in place here isn’t exactly very stringent. Why Coyners’ campaign was unable to comply with it is a mystery.

FILED UNDER: 2014 Election, Congress, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    Didn’t this same thing happen to Thaddeus Whatshisname, also from Michigan? You would think one would learn from the other.

  2. Franklin says:

    Good old Thaddeus, “this” close to being President. Actually if I recall correctly he had some problem with fraud, too.

  3. @Neil Hudelson: @Franklin:
    Thaddeus McCotter, whose campaign had actually doctored petitions by copying the names and signatures from old petitions from previous races onto new petitions and then submitted them.

  4. Franklin says:

    @Timothy Watson: Ahh, yes, I was too lazy to look it up. Very nice.

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Amazing how folks around here will jump to ANY excuse — even if they have to fabricate one — to avoid discussing bad things about Democrats and bashing Republicans. Four comments, all four about McCotter and none about Conyers.

    Here’s a thought: maybe Conyers did this on purpose, so he can spend more time with his family — specifically his wife, Monica, who was just released from federal prison after serving two years for political corruption during her tenure as President of the Detroit City Council.

    BTW, the two have been married since 1990, when she was 25 and he was 61.

  6. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I just upclicked that comment, but that’s not enough, so let me say it: “UPCLICK!!!”.

  7. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13 & @Pinky:
    I’m having a hard time seeing “excuses” in the above thread. I.e. no one is rationalizing Conyer’s apparent lack of action. Nor is anyone trying to claim that Conyers should have been allowed on the ticked.

    As for why Thaddeus McCotter was brought up… hmm, as Neil mentioned, he’s from the same state and was also involved in ballot weirdness (not to mention his odd behavior was covered a number of times here on OTB). BTW, you were the first person to bring Mr. McCotter’s political party into the discussion. None of the previous posts were particularly about “attacking Republicans.”

    BTW, where was the “fabrication” above?

    As for why Thaddeus became the subject of conversation on this thread? Well, the topic at hand is pretty cut and dry – Conyers didn’t get the signatures, he isn’t on the ballot. The entire thing is kinda weird, but more or less a “meh” story.

    Not surprisingly the reactions have been pretty “meh” too.

  8. KM says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here’s a thought: maybe Conyers did this on purpose, so he can spend more time with his family

    Wouldn’t it just have been easier to say, “I’m not interested in running again?” instead of the whole song and dance?

    Occam’s Razor slices deep.

  9. mantis says:

    I’m amused that Jenos commented on this thread without remarking what an evil move it was to challenge Conyers’s petition signatures. He has written at length over the years about how when President Obama ran for state senate and his campaign used the same tactic to get opponents knocked off the ballot, it was a demonstration of dirty, no-good, Chicago thuggery. I guess as usual, IOKIYAR.

  10. Pinky says:

    @mantis: Huh? As near as I can tell, in both the Obama and Conyers cases, everyone involved was Democratic.

  11. dennis says:

    Huh? As near as I can tell, in both the Obama and Conyers cases, everyone involved was Democratic.

    This comment is the archetype of “missing the point.”

  12. Pinky says:

    @dennis: How so? I guess I really am missing the point. Mantis said IOKIYAR, or “it’s ok if you’re a Republican”, but it looks like nobody involved in either story was Republican. Mantis could have accused Jenos of having a double standard, but not on the basis of party affiliation, unless I read one or both of the accounts wrong.

  13. Pinky says:

    @Pinky: Or is this just more of your white privilege, Dennis?

  14. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: That was sarcasm. Sorry, it’s sometimes hard to convey that online.

    And one would think that in article about Conyers, mention of his wife — and her conviction on federal corruption charges — would be obvious. But since he’s a Democrat, we shouldn’t bring it up. Instead, let’s bring up a Republican (who, I admit, I kinda liked for his sense of humor and positions on issues) who had a vaguely similar but not really experience and is from another part of the same state.

    To clarify, McCotter appeared several times on Fox News’ brilliant overnight show RedEye, and he was always a very entertaining panelist.

    And to clarify further, Monica Conyers’ criminal exploits are summed up pretty well here. While it would certainly be unfair to say that Detroit’s problems are her fault, things certainly got a little bit worse under her kleptocracy.

  15. Pinky says:

    Help me out here, Jenos. Mantis’s IOKIYAR accusation doesn’t make any sense, right?

  16. Grewgills says:

    I think the Republican in this case was Jenos. The hypocrisy highlighted by his double standard is the IOKIYAR.*

    BTW I do find it funny that you looked to Jenos for back up in an argument where you acknowledged his flagrant double standard.

    I didn’t know what that meant until today.

  17. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I’m looking for someone to walk me through this. Takers?

  18. Franklin says:

    The party affiliations didn’t even occur to me. I thought Neil was just hinting that there’s something in our water supply up here.

  19. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky: I think your first mistake is starting out a comment with “help me out here, Jenos.” Others have already explained that one.

    Your second mistake is thinking that something of substance was being discussed. An early commenter noted a similarity in the story of another pol from the same state. This baited Jenos into saying something tangental to the previous comment (not a tall mountain to scale BTW). Jenos comment baited Mantis, whose comment baited you. As to substance in the whole thread, if the substance was represented by a candle, it wouldn’t be bright enough to be seen from three inches away in a pitch black room.

    Happy to help.

  20. Grewgills says:

    I don’t much care. When I learned what IOKYAR meant I assumed Jenos was the Republican and it was his hypocrisy or double standard that was OK. Mostly I ignored that bit of the comment and focused on the double standard that was pointed out.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: Awwww…. Poor wittle Pinky… Did mean old Dennis say something at sometime to huwt your overly sensitive superior white feewings?

    Hear let me gnaw it off for you.

  22. Pinky says:

    In my experience, if someone is criticizing something hypocritically, they get called a hypocrite. If someone gets a pass on something because they’re Republican, it earns an IOKIYAR reply (that is, a comment based on the original actor’s Republican status). I’ve never seen IOKIYAR used to reference a Republican being accused of holding one Democrat to one standard and another Democrat to another. I drew the conclusion that either Mantis hadn’t read the story, or Mantis hadn’t paid attention to the story, or I was misreading something. Mantis hasn’t explained himself. I was looking for any other takers (and still haven’t heard an explanation for Mantis’s comment that makes sense to me).

    And @OzarkHillbilly, you misread me completely. I wasn’t upset about anything. I was just kidding that if Conyers gets an IOKIYAR as a Republican, then why shouldn’t Dennis get accused of white privilege? (Or for that matter, me get accused of mansplaining to him?)

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Pinky: If you’ll apologize for the digression from John Conyers, my second-best theory is that there’s the Double Secret List of positions I’m supposed to hold, and when I don’t live down to their expectations, I’m a Hypocrite. I don’t even know what my alleged transgression here is, but they’re put out that I called them out for their “let’s turn anything into an excuse to bash Republicans” by actually talking about Conyers.

    My favorite theory: to these clowns, they have a list of insults they consider The Worst Things Ever, and they toss out whatever one they thing might achieve the desired Shutuppery of the moment. “Hypocrite,” “Racist,” “Homophobe,” “Sexist,” and a few others I can’t bother to remember.

    I don’t think that is the case here. Because they haven’t tried playing the race card, even though I said something bad about a couple of black people.

    But hey, that McCotter guy… wasn’t he something? Doug should just post about him every day!

  24. Pinky says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Yeah, I’m looking this thread over, and I notice that I didn’t accuse you of having a double standard either, like Grewgills said. Maybe I’m thinking about this thread all wrong. Maybe people are just typing…stuff.

  25. Grewgills says:

    Wednesday at 17:36 you tacitly agreed that Jenos was using a double standard, but you didn’t see that it was a D v R double standard.

  26. Pinky says:


    “Mantis could have accused Jenos of having a double standard, but not on the basis of party affiliation, unless I read one or both of the accounts wrong.”

    I was saying that it’s conceivable that Mantis could have accused Jenos of having a double standard, but that it’s not conceivable that Mantis could have accused him of having a double standard based on party affiliation by comparing his response to two Democrats.

  27. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Wednesday at 17:36 you tacitly agreed that Jenos was using a double standard, but you didn’t see that it was a D v R double standard.

    I didn’t apply ANY standards to Conyers (Mr.) here, just noting that the superannuated fossil had a wife who had just been released from prison for political corruption. The whole “double standards” thing was more bait that I didn’t feel like biting on — I didn’t hare off on the McCotter diversion, and I wasn’t going to hare off over the whole petitions thing.

    It seems that there are some who condemn for what I say, condemn me for what they make up I say, and now condemn me for when I don’t say. I can’t wait for the next permutation of their obsession.

    As far as Conyers and his petition troubles, I think I’ll pass on commenting on that particular aspect. I’m put in mind of the classic Brendan Behan quote: “When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.

  28. bill says:

    oh my, the judge begs to differ now! so much for technicalities…..i wonder if he won already?