DNC chairwoman endorses Conyers' reelection bid

Anne Wernikoff

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) announced Friday that she will back Rep. John Conyers Jr.'s (D-Mich.) reelection bid, despite his failure to get his name on the ballot. 

“I fully support Representative Conyers' reelection effort,” Wasserman-Schultz said in a statement, adding she is “confident” he will win a 26th term in Congress. 

“His leadership will be a valuable contribution to the 114th Congress,” she said.

The congresswoman’s endorsement comes a day after President Obama also threw his support behind Conyers, who's been in Congress for five decades. 

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On Tuesday, Michigan’s Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said Conyers won’t appear on the Democratic primary ballot because he failed to submit a petition with enough valid signatures. 

Conyers will now likely have to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to keep the seat he’s held for five decades.

If he wins reelection, Conyers will become the Dean of the House — the longest serving member. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) currently holds that title but is retiring this year.

Conyers submitted 2,000 signatures and needed 1,000 valid ones. His Democratic primary opponent, Rev. Horace Sheffield III, challenged the validity of the signatures because some of the people who collected the signatures weren’t registered voters. 

On Friday, Conyers joined an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the state's law in federal court, arguing that it’s unconstitutional to require petition gatherers to be registered voters.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a number of other top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have said they back Conyers’s campaign. 

Michigan’s primary will be held on Aug. 5.