The son and handpicked successor of former Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) failed to qualify for the ballot in the Democratic congressional primary race to succeed his father, who resigned in December amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from former staffers.
That decision to toss John Conyers III from the primary ballot came after a fellow candidate and relative, state Sen. Ian Conyers of Detroit, challenged his signatures. The office of Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett determined John Conyers III had not in fact obtained enough valid signatures, causing the candidate to file a request for reconsideration on Friday. John Conyers III claimed Garrett's staff had improperly invalidated certain signatures on his nomination petitions, the Detroit News reports. Garrett, also a Democrat, accepted her staff's recommendation that she reject the petition.
Ian Conyers, former Rep. John Conyers' great nephew, said the challenge helps "ensure compliance with the spirit and letter of the law."
John Conyers III filed an appeal of Garrett's decision Monday afternoon.
The winner of the Aug. 7 primary is of particular importance because no Republican is running in the race, and therefore, no serious challenger to the Democratic candidate is expected in the November primary.
Conyers, the 88-year-old former congressman and civil rights leader, paid a former female staffer over $27,000 in 2015 to settle a complaint. The settlement required the staffer sign a confidentiality agreement, but a BuzzFeed report revealed affidavits of former staffers who said they witnessed Conyers touching female staffers in an inappropriate manner.
Within weeks of the allegations, the embattled congressmen announced his resignation and that he was endorsing his son to fill his seat.
"I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers III, who incidentally I endorse to replace me in my seat in Congress, so we're all working together to make this country a better one," he said.
Following Conyers' endorsement, questions were raised about his son's past, which included him being arrested in 2017 on suspicion of domestic violence.
Prosecutors ultimately decided it "could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim’s injury was not accidentally sustained" and declined to bring charges.