What's next for Rep. John Conyers? - FOX 35 News Orlando

What's next for Rep. John Conyers?

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(WJBK) - An official ruled Tuesday longtime Congressman John Conyers could not appear on the Aug. 5 primary ballot due to lack of valid signatures.

Conyers' campaign was thrown into jeopardy because of multiple people collecting nominating petitions for him. Turns out they were not registered voters, which they were required to be as petition collectors.

Political consultant Steve Hood has taken responsibility for the blunder, saying he went on the collectors' word.

Yet some are curious if the error that may end Conyers' 50-year career was an inside job.

"It's something we have to look into and that's something we've questioned from the beginning. We never understood why the congressman, after spending $13,000 almost, was in this position," says Conyers' campaign chair Bert Johnson.

Conyers is the second congressman in two years to be setback by signatures.
Thaddeus McCotter resigned in 2012 after his petitioners forged nominating petitions to get him on the ballot. McCotter tells FOX 2's Taryn Asher the problem is when you hire an entity to gather signatures, you don't know their motivation other than money.

FOX 2 Legal analyst Charlie Langton believes it isn't over yet for Conyers. He says in the end federal law will trump state law and, because of a case back in 2009, Conyers will be back on the ballot.

"The judge in case said, 'No, you don't need to be a registered voter.' Same rationale should apply to John Conyers. We focus on the people that signed the petitions - not circulate petitions," he says.

Johnson says they knew this case was going to end up in court and they plan to fight every step of the way, even if it comes down to a write-in campaign.

Monday, labor activist Robert Davis sent a letter to the clerk asking her to put Congressman Conyers on the ballot or wait until a hearing in federal court. Davis and the ACLU filed lawsuits saying the requirement that petition collectors be registered voters is unconstitutional and there's plenty of case law to back it up.

A hearing is set in federal court to determine if petition collectors have to be registered voters.
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