A Battle Over a Famous Last Name Erupts in Race to Replace Ex-Congressman Conyers

The great-nephew of retired Congressman John Conyers, State Sen. Ian Conyers, says the former representative’s son shouldn’t be allowed to join him in the race for the vacated seat because the son allegedly did not file enough valid petition signatures.

Congressional candidate and Michigan State Sen. Ian Conyers says he should be the only Conyers on the upcoming August Democratic primary ballot.

The state senator says the son of retired Congressman John Conyers, John Conyers III, should not be allowed on the ballot.

Jake Neher/WDET

Long-time U.S. Rep. John Conyers resigned earlier this year after serving for about a half-century in the House, amid allegations of sexual harassment.

He endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

But the former representative’s great-nephew, Ian Conyers, is also vying for the seat.

And now Ian Conyers is charging that Conyers III filed only half of the valid voter signatures necessary to appear on the primary ballot and should not have his name printed on it.

Wayne County Election officials confirm the challenge but say they do not have a timetable for when the signatures will be validated.

If the challenge is successful, Ian Conyers would be the only one with that last name on the ballot, a name well-known to voters in the 13th Congressional District.

Conyers III could appeal a decision against him.

His father did that when the long-time Congressman’s campaign did not turn in enough valid signatures in 2014.

Or Conyers III could run as a write-in candidate.


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.