Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones stood on stage with Democrat Rashida Tlaib on Friday at Cass Tech High School urging democrats to vote with former President Barack Obama.
The two were in hotly-contested battle for Michigan’s 13thCongressional District in August, which Tlaib won, for the full two-year term that starts in January. Jones won a special primary to finish out the final two months of longtime Rep. John Conyers’ term.
During a press conference outside of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Jones confirmed her intentions to launch a surprise write-in campaign for the two-year term, just a week shy of the Nov. 6 general election.
“After much soul-searching and strong constituent feedback and support, I am launching a write-in campaign for the full-term as an independent candidate.”
Jones filed paperwork on Friday with the Wayne County Clerk’s office to run as an independent candidate and cited the integrity of the voting process as one of the main reasons she is attempting this.
“At my election night party, the polls were up to a certain number and there was a screen that said they were doing maintenance for election night reporting,” said Jones. “The votes were at a specific number and the screen changed again. When it came back up, the numbers changed completely as well as the percentage of polls that were being counted.”
Tlaib defeated Jones by 1 percentage point — 31.2 percent to 30.2 percent — in a six-person field, winning by just 900 votes, according to official results.
Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, called Jones’ attempt to be a write-in candidate a “distraction.”
“It’s a major distraction from what all Democrats should be focused on and that is to make sure every Democrat up and down the ticket is winning,” said Kinloch. “This is offensive to me and others in the 13th Congressional District that Brenda Jones — a week before the election — would even think, play, hint at the possibility that she has a shot at doing anything other than being a distraction.”
Jones repeatedly said it was the concern of many “constituents” that led her to launch a late campaign. She said she does not view herself as a distraction of even a sore loser. Her second attempt at Congress is for the people of the 13thDistrict, some who stood by her side as she made her announcement.
“I am not a sore loser,” she said. “What’s a sore loser? I’m listening to my constituents who stated to me that I needed to do a write-in campaign. This is not about winning. This is not about losing. This is about the electoral process and hearing what my constituents have to say.”
With election day next week, Jones does not have much time to campaign. But she said she had support before she announced her plans to challenge Tlaib again and said her team has plans on getting the word out.
As for what she will do on plans to finish out Conyers’ term this year, Jones said she wait until after the election to make a decision.”
“The partial-term is on the ballot just as well as the full-term and I haven’t been elected to any term,” said Jones. “The votes will be counted on next Tuesday and we will move on next Tuesday to see what happens.”