How Rep. John Conyers' House seat will be filled

Conyers announces retirement, effective immediately

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DETROIT – Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) has announced he is retiring before the end of his term. 

The 88-year-old Democrat from Detroit has served in the U.S. House for more than 50 years. He represents Michigan's 13th congressional district. 

His term was not supposed to end until next year but his retirement is effective immediately, the congressman announced Tuesday.

That means the state of Michigan must hold a special election to fill the vacancy. According to the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, section 2, clause 4), "All states, territories, and districts require special elections to fill any vacant House seats during the first session of a Congress."

"House vacancies can be caused by death, resignation, declination, withdrawal, or House action, but the Constitution requires that they be filled by election."

A state can hold an election in the same year or wait until a regularly scheduled election. The next Michigan general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Voters will elect 14 candidates to serve in the U.S. House, one from each of the state's 14 congressional districts.

Gov. Rick Snyder's director of communications, Ari B. Adler, tweeted Tuesday morning the governor's office has not received a resignation letter from Conyers. 

Adler is referring to potential dates for a special election. 

Michigan's 13th congressional district represents parts of Wayne County including portions of Dearborn Heights, portions of Detroit, Ecorse, Garden City, Highland Park, Inkster, Melvindale, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, the city of Wayne and Westland. 


Here is a list of possible candidates to run for Conyers' vacant seat: 

  • John Conyers III: John Conyers' son, who the congressman said he endorses
  • Ian Conyers: John Conyers' nephew who is a Michigan state Senator representing the 4th District.  
  • Rashida Talib: Former State Representative from Del Ray/Southwest section of Detroit
  • Mary Sheffield: Current and re-elected Detroit City Council member
  • Coleman A. Young II: Current, but term-limited, State Senator from Detroit
  • Reggie Turner: Clark Hill attorney and former State Board of Education member, lobbyist and State Gaming Commission member worked with both Engler and Granholm
  • Bill Wild: Mayor of Westland
  • Brenda Jones -- Detroit City Council president
  • Benny Napoleon -- Wayne County Sheriff
  • Sherry Gay Dagnogo -- Michigan state representative for the 8th District -- comprising northwest Detroit

About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.