DETROIT, May 16 (UPI) -- John Conyers, who has represented the Detroit area in Congress for almost half a century, asked the Michigan secretary of state to put him back on the primary ballot.
Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett ruled earlier this week that Conyers did not have the required 1,000 valid signatures on his nominating petitions. Hundreds of signatures were thrown out because Garrett found they were gathered by campaign workers who were not registered voters as the law requires.
Lawyers for the congressman said Garrett made a "grave error" that was "factually and legally unsound." While Garrett found Conyers had only 592 valid signatures, the lawyers said an independent review found more than 1,300.
Horace Sheffield III, a former friend and ally who is running in the Democratic primary, challenged Conyers' petitions. If Conyers fails to win his appeal, he could launch a write-in campaign for the primary or run as an independent in November.
Conyers was elected to Congress in 1964. Only Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who plans to retire at the end of the current term, has served longer.