Rep. John Conyers not seeking re-election after term

Rep. John Conyers not seeking re-election after term

Kerry Wise
December 6, 2017

Conyers, the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, will announce on Tuesday he does not plan to run for re-election, US media said following accusations of sexual harassment against the Michigan Democrat.

Conyers, 88, made the announcement in an interview with a Detroit radio station.

Arnold Reed, attorney for Rep. John Conyers, holds up an image of Conyers and Marion Brown, one of the two women accusing the congressman of inappropriate behavior, as he addresses the media in Detroit on December 1.

He is endorsing his son, John Conyers III, to replace him in Congress.

None of the more than a dozen speakers said the accusers should be forgotten, only that Conyers deserves the same rights of due process that other members of Congress who have been accused of sexual harassment are receiving, Gray reports. State Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of Conyers' brother, said he plans to run for the seat.

Conyers, who was first elected in 1964, easily won re-election past year in the heavily Democratic 13th District.

Rep. John Conyers on Capitol Hill in 1965.

A number of fellow Democrats have called on Conyers to resign, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and fellow Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee. A few days later, she finally stated she believed Conyers should resign.

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"His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health", Ian Conyers told the Times.

Melanie Sloan, a former Conyers aide and Washington lawyer, told The Washington Post last week that Conyers harassed and verbally abused her when she worked for his Washington office in the 1990s. "This too shall pass", he said, speaking on the Mildred Gaddis Show. "I think we have to recognize and be able to hold the dueling possibilities that somebody can be a great man and have done great things for our country and for civil rights but also have done bad things that require accountability".

Conyers has been facing calls to step down since it was revealed last month he paid a cash settlement out of office funds to a woman who claims he sexually harassed her. "This goes with the issue of politics, the game of politics which we're in".

As the furor grew, he stepped down as the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and the Ethics Committee began investigating him.

Republican congressman Joe Barton separately announced last week he would not seek re-election after a nude photograph of him taken while he was separated from his wife circulated online.

Gaddis asked Conyers to clarify what he meant.

"We're calling on the moral core of this nation to not treat us any different than anyone else", said Gay-Dagnogo, who organized Monday's rally and was joined by at least five other Michigan Black Legislative Caucus members in backing due process for the congressman.

"I think that we lose our moral authority if we also don't call out those we love who have done things that are bad", said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.