Who might run to replace Rep. John Conyers in Congress?

Dec 7, 2017
Originally published on December 6, 2017 4:57 pm

Since John Conyers resigned Tuesday from his 13th District Congressional seat, which he held for 53 years, the race is shaping up to replace him.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing bureau chief, joined Stateside to discuss who’s lining up to succeed the former dean of the House.

Listen to the conversation above, or read highlights below.

On John Conyers III

The now-former congressman has officially endorsed his son, John III, to replace him, but with little political experience, Conyers III might be more of a political liability. Rick: “He doesn’t have any political experience,” said Pluta. “He has a social media history that might be a little problematic.”

A number of years back, Conyers III was on a number of occasions caught driving a Cadillac Escalade that belonged to the congressional office of the 14th District (which Conyers had been representing at the time). He had also posted on social media images of himself drinking alcohol while driving (he was underage at the time). He has also posted on Twitter conspiracy theories about the U.S. government’s involvement in the September 11th attacks. “When the opposition research experts of the other campaigns really dig into it, just imagine what might be out there,” said Gorchow.

On Ian Conyers

Ian Conyers, John Conyers’s grand-nephew, has also signaled his intent to run for the seat. Conyers would bring “a modicum of political experience,” said Pluta. “He’s a state senator and he’s holding his first political office.”

Still, Democrats in the state senate hold a super-minority, so Conyers hasn’t had much of an opportunity to make much of an impact. “So, there really hasn’t been much of any opportunity to see what he can do in a legislative setting so far,” said Gorchow.

On other potential candidates

“I don’t think this will happen, but you could conceivably have all five members of the Michigan Senate who represent Detroit in the race,” said Gorchow. That includes:

  • Coleman Young II (1st District)
  • Bert Johnson (2nd District)
  • Morris Hood III (3rd District)
  • Ian Conyers (4th District)
  • David Knezek (5th District)

Also in the mix:

  • Brenda Jones, president of the Detroit City Council
  • Rashida Tlaib, former state representative
  • Bill Wild, mayor of Westland
  • Benny Napoleon, sheriff of Wayne County

“It is conceivable at this time next year that for the first time probably ever, there may not be anyone from Detroit serving in Michigan’s congressional delegation,” said Pluta.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)

Copyright 2017 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.