DETROIT — Michigan’s Republican governor announced Friday that Democrat John Conyers’ congressional seat won’t be filled until the regularly scheduled November election, leaving it vacant for nearly a year.
Gov. Rick Snyder decided the post will effectively be listed twice on the Aug. 7 primary and Nov. 6 general election ballots. While unlikely, it is possible voters could choose one candidate to fill the vacancy until January 2019 and elect another to a full two-year term after that.
Snyder said he opted against having an earlier special election to give potential candidates ample time to decide about running, provide voters in the predominantly Democratic district more options and save money.
The 88-year-old Conyers, who was facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over claims by former staffers, cited health reasons for his resignation.
Michael Gilmore, a Detroit attorney who is running for the seat, said not having representation in the House for nearly a year is unfair to residents.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the governor thinks this is what we’re worth,” Gilmore said Friday.
The race for the seat in the district that includes parts of Detroit and some western Wayne County communities could become a free-for-all.
Gilmore said he began fundraising for his campaign in April and had planned to challenge John Conyers prior to the sexual harassment allegations.
Democratic state Sen. Ian Conyers, John Conyers’ grand-nephew, said earlier this week that he will run.
Fellow Democratic state Sent. Coleman Young II is expected on Monday to announce his intent to run, his spokesman said.
Young sought Detroit’s mayoral seat his late father, Mayor Coleman A. Young, once held, but lost to incumbent Mike Duggan in the November general election.
“He is battle-tested. This mayoral race has prepared him,” Young spokesman Adolph Mongo told The Associated Press. “He knows the issues in the 13th District. He’s been campaigning for 10 months on the issues.”
Conyers III never has been elected to a public post. Ian Conyers won a special election in 2016 for the state senate seat. Young was elected in 2010 to the Michigan Senate. He served in the state House from 2005 to 2010.
Eggert reported from Lansing, Michigan.