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Congressman John Conyers off the Wayne County primary ballot

John Conyers is looking at a much tougher campaign this year than he had planned.
John Conyers is looking at a much tougher campaign this year than he had planned.

DETROIT (WKZO) -- Wayne County officials say U.S. Representative John Conyers will not be on the primary ballot in August, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be reelected. It just makes it more difficult.

Friday, the veteran congressman's petition was ruled insufficient because many of the signatures collected to put the 25-term congressman on the ballot were collected by two aides who were not yet registered voters in Detroit.

One of them, 23-year-old Daniel Pennington is a probation absconder out of Battle Creek. Court records show he pleaded guilty to a second-degree home-invasion charge in 2012 and did not fulfill his probation requirements

That means those signatures do not count, leaving him with only 592 valid signatures which could leave Conyers off the ballot.

He can still appeal to the Secretary of State or challenge the decision in court.

Failing that, he would have to run as a write-in candidate against Rev. Horace Sheffield, a Detroit minister who has a daughter on the city council, but was also recently charged with domestic-violence in February.

Sheffield’s campaign hasn’t raised enough money to file a Federal Election Report, and doesn’t appear very organized, but they did successfully challenge Conyer’s signatures.

Conyers would be at a distinct disadvantage, with Sheffield’s name printed on the ballot, and voters needing to write Conyers in.

If Conyers wins the primary, his name would appear on the fall ballot, where he would likely be returned to become the most senior member of the House of Representatives, with 50 years of service.

If he loses, he would be the 5th senior member of the Michigan Congressional delegation to not return, costing Michigan that much more clout in the U.S. Capitol.

Senator Carl Levin, and Representatives John Dingell, Mike Rogers and Dave Camp are retiring and Gary Peters is giving up his seat in Congress to run for the Senate.