DETROIT — The 12 Democratic candidates and every resident of the 13th Congressional District will have to wait until the August primary and November general election to fill the seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit).
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith found, “no evidence supporting plaintiffs’ theory that Governor Snyder was racially motivated or otherwise violated equal protection guarantees when he established dates that coincide with the regularly scheduled election dates,” he wrote in his decision.
Conyers resigned after complaints that he’d sexually harassed women in the workplace surfaced in December.
Goldsmith’s decision will leave the district’s seat vacant for 11 months.
“This is textbook voter disenfranchisement,” said Detroit attorney Michael Gilmore, who represented the plaintiffs. “Gov. Snyder continues to treat residents of urban areas across the state as second-class citizens and is violating a laundry list of constitutional laws in doing so. By holding this congressional seat vacant for 11 months, he is denying minority residents of the 13th Congressional District the right to vote and the right to be represented
Plaintiffs Debra Rhodes, Gloria Mounger, Thomas Williams, Laura Dennis and Vivian Wordlaw had attempted to make the argument that the vacant seat violated the voting rights act of 1965.
The 12 Democrats running for Conyers seat are Gilmore; former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib; Conyers’ son, John Conyers III; his great nephew, State Sen. Ian Conyers (D-Detroit); State Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit); Detroit attorney Godfrey Dillard; former State Rep. Shanelle Jackson; Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones; former Conyers staffer Kimberly Hill Knott; Westland Mayor Bill Wild; Ryan Hill and Kentiel White. They will be running to both fill the remainder of Conyers’ term, which ends at the end of the year, and the two-year term that begins