John Conyers endorsed his namesake son to succeed him in Congress, but the retiring lawmaker’s grand-nephew seems to have other plans. Michigan State Sen. Ian Conyers, who told the New York Times that he planned to run for the seat, tweeted minutes after the congressman’s announcement that “all candidates” should be considered.
He later doubled-down on that claim, according to a tweet from BuzzFeed News reporter Darren Sands.
The outgoing congressman announced his immediate retirement Tuesday morning via the Mildred Gaddis Detroit radio show. In doing so, he formally endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to take his place in Congress. It was unclear who would immediately fill Conyers’ seat, if anybody.
Ian Conyers announced Tuesday that his grandfather’s brother would not be resigning but instead would not seek re-election.
“He is not resigning. He is going to retire,” he said. “His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health.”
Those words turned out to be wrong and it was unclear if the elder Conyers, who has been accused of sexually assaulting women and covering it up through fraudulent means, had sanctioned that announcement to the press.
For his part, not much is known politically about John Conyers III. He defended his father after the sexual harassment claims first emerged, telling ABC News in part that his dad “has no history” of that type of conduct. However, he also added that his father “deserves whatever punishment may come” if the claims turned out to be true.
Local Michigan news outlets have documented his social media use over the years, including a video with explicit language urging Black people to vote and highlighting his family’s political legacy. “I cast my vote, I was hype as sh-t,” he said on the video filmed March 8, 2016.
The young Conyers previously came under fire for a previous social media gaffe when he tweeted in 2010 that his father was “a f—ing player and reckless as hell” because “He just got at this doods wife super low-key.” The tweet was later deleted, as was the entire account, but not before the Michigan Live news website got a screen shot of it. His Facebook page appears to be much more tame.
He was also in the news around the same time for driving a government vehicle that he reported was broken into and had two Apple MacBooks and $27,000 in concert tickets stolen from it.
Ian Conyers’ political roots are much more traditionally pronounced than the congressman’s son. After serving as “Treasurer of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization after the Obama campaign,” he later went on to become the youngest state senator in Michigan history when he won the seat last year at the age of 27.
“If [Congressman Conyers] resigns or retires, I will run for the seat,” he told BuzzFeed News on Friday. “The work of representing the working families must continue.”