Much of Washington assumes John Conyers III will almost certainly replace his father, John Conyers Jr., who resigned late last year. John Conyers III apparently thinks so, too.
“I recognize my name is John Conyers III, so I didn’t fundraise at all in the first quarter,” he told The Intercept. John Conyers Jr. first won the Detroit-area seat in Congress in 1964, serving a legendary stretch until he was forced to resign amid sexual harassment allegations.
John Conyers III, who has the endorsement of his father, later clarified in a follow-up interview that he was focused on gathering signatures to get on the ballot ahead of an April 24 filing deadline, and that he hasn’t had time to make fundraising calls.”I don’t want to make excuses, but I wouldn’t ask people to collect signatures if I weren’t also doing it myself,” said John Conyers III, who announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District in February.
When he does start making calls, he may find that another Conyers has already been on the line. Ian Conyers, a state senator and the grand-nephew of the retired congressional representative, is also running for the seat and raised just over $88,000 in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest Federal Election Commission records.
But after more than a half-century of being represented by a Conyers, the family may be fighting for second place.
A former state representative, community activist, and attorney, Rashida Tlaib, hauled in almost $589,000 in the first three months of this year, FEC records show, giving her a real chance to come out on top in the crowded primary. Tlaib is running on a progressive platform and won the endorsement in March of the Justice Democrats.
The notion that a Conyers will waltz into the seat ignores the way in which the last Conyers walked out — driven from office by a sexual harassment scandal. Conyers himself may be iconic for his decades of work on behalf of civil rights and social justice, but his family’s name carries more baggage than merely his forced resignation. His wife, Monica Conyers, was released from federal prison in 2012, after serving time for a conviction related to a bribery scandal that arose during her time on the Detroit City Council. Tlaib thinks she can overcome the family name.
“Back home, Conyers is not considered in the lead at all or