DETROIT -

After 49 years in congress, John Conyers may be on the way out because of problems with his primary paperwork.

Now, in an attempt to save his seat, the veteran congressman has hauled in some big legal guns -- John Pirich.

Almost half of the signatures were not valid, the other more than 200 were tossed because no one bothered to check to see if the petition gatherers were registered voters.

"He (Pirich) is the best election lawyer on the Republican side we have in this state," said Joe Disano. "If anyone can manufacture a hail Mary pass it's John Pirich. At least Conyers has made that decision correctly."

So, can Pirich do it? He's in the process of trying to get hundreds of those signatures already cut back in play. It's a long, laborious, expensive process that doesn't look particularly promising, which means the last remaining hail Mary to get Conyers on the ballot may be from the litigious union activist Robert Davis, whose trying to fight the law that requires petition gatherers to be registered voters.