Conyers retires amid allegations of sexual misconduct

John Conyers

John Conyers

Snyder can call for special election to fill vacancy

Sunday Times Newspapers

U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), who represented Michigan’s 13th Congressional District as the longest-serving active member of the House, announced his retirement today amid sexual misconduct accusations, which he denies.

Conyers, 88, made his announcement in a phone call from a local hospital to WPZR-FM — Praise 102.7 — morning host Mildred Gaddis. Conyers was hospitalized Nov. 29 for a stress-related illness.

He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to run for his seat, which he has held since 1964.

State Sen. Ian Conyers, a grandson of Conyers’ brother, told the New York Times before John Conyers endorsement of his son that he would run for the seat.

In the radio interview, Conyers denied the sexual misconduct allegations, calling them “not accurate or not true,” saying, “I can’t explain where they came from.”

When Gaddis asked if he had chosen a date to retire, he dropped the bombshell that his retirement would be effective the same day of the interview.

The radio interview, about 10 minutes in length, can be heard at:

Conyers told Gaddis he is concerned about the impact of the stress on his health, and said his family has been supportive since the initial allegations were announced.

Conyers said in the interview that he believes his Congressional legacy will stand. He is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and was a proponent of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and the Alcohol Warning Label Act of 1988.

Shortly after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Conyers introduced the original Martin Luther King Holiday Act in 1968, which would not pass for 15 years, until 1983.

Gov. Rick Snyder can call for a special election to complete Conyers’ term, which would have ended Jan. 3, 2019. The election would include a primary date as well as a general election. The next regularly scheduled election is May 7, 2018, at which time a primary could be held, with a general election Aug.7, 2018, the next regular general election.

Meanwhile, no one will be representing Conyers’ district.

Different sources say an election costs $1,000 to $2,000 per precinct. Conyers represents more than 500 precincts, so a special election could cost $500,000 to $1 million.

The 13th District includes Melvindale and most of Dearborn Heights as well as a portion of Detroit and the cities of Melvindale, Ecorse, Garden City, Highland Park, Inkster, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, Wayne and Westland.

Conyers was born in Detroit and attended Northwestern High School, and Wayne State University for his undergraduate and law degrees. He served in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.

His wife is Monica Conyers, and his sons are John III and Carl Edward.

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at