Unique outcome leaves mess in race for Michigan's 13th Congressional District seat

Brenda Jones chosen to finish John Conyers' term; Rashida Tlaib gets next term

DETROIT – There was a unique outcome in the race for Michigan's 13th Congressional District, as the seat vacated by the retirement of John Conyers will be filled for two months by one candidate before another takes over for a new term.

Voters decided they want Rashida Tlaib to represent them, but not just yet. While she won the vote to serve the next two-year term, Detroit City Councilwoman Brenda Jones won the vote to serve out the remaining two months of Conyers' term.

Some voters are asking, why bother having someone serve two months in Congress only to be replaced?

The problem was that Detroit residents had to vote for two different elections during one primary.

The 13th District was left without Congressional representation after Conyers resigned. He and the state didn't hold a special election to fill the seat, instead tacking on a special election to Tuesday's primary.

As a result, Jones was elected to complete his term while Tlaib was elected to the next full term.

There are no Republican challengers in November so, ostensibly, whoever won the primary won the race.

Right now, there are three basic questions being asked: Can Jones decline her seat? Can Jones legally hold two public offices -- City Council and U.S. Congresswoman -- simultaneously? If Jones takes the six-week stint, does she automatically lose the City Council seat?

If Jones loses the City Council seat, people want to know if there will be a special election to fill the seat.

Detroit's corporate attorney, Lawrence Garcia, spent Wednesday scouring both city and federal documents, trying to interpret if framers of the charter could have possibly anticipated this happening.

Local 4 reached out to Jones for comment but has not heard back.

About the Authors: