DETROIT, May 1 (UPI) -- A Detroit minister running against Rep. John Conyers in the Democratic primary has challenged the longtime congressman's nominating petitions.
Conyers is seeking a 26th term. Horace Sheffield, formerly a friend of Conyers, says that two supporters gathered signatures for him when they were not registered voters as required by law and that their registrations were backdated.
The Wayne County Clerk's Office found that Conyers had submitted petitions with about 2,000 signatures, 1,193 of them valid. If the 300 signatures gathered by the two people Sheffield is questioning are thrown out, that would put Conyers below the 1,000-signature threshold needed to be on the ballot for the Aug. 5 primary.
Conyers told the Detroit News he welcomes "any scrutiny" of his nominating petitions.
“We very carefully pull together our signatures for petitions,” he said after a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday.
Conyers, first elected in 1964, is second only to another Michigan Democrat, John Dingell, in length of service in Congress. He is about to celebrate his 85th birthday.
He chaired the House Judiciary Committee from 2007 to 2011 and now serves as its ranking Democrat.