John Conyers, the longest serving Democrat currently in the House, who had declared he would not run for re-election, has resigned and endorsed his son to run in his place.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we’re going through now.”
He added, “I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children. I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers III who incidentally I endorsed to replace me in my seat in Congress.”
While the congressman endorsed his son to succeed him, a great-nephew, state Sen. Ian Conyers, has publicly said he intended to seek the seat.
Conyers’ resignation from the House will trigger a special election to replace him. That election will be called by the governor, per Michigan law. The election will take place as soon as the Michigan governor’s office receives his letter of resignation.
The accusations began on Nov. 20 when BuzzFeed reported that in 2015, he had used $27,000 in taxpayer money to settle a wrongful dismissal complaint made by a female aide. Marion Brown said she was fired for not giving in to his sexual advances.
Even as he made his retirement official, more women were coming forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by the Democrat congressman.
A former office intern described new complaints about Conyers. Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom made public a detailed affidavit from former Conyers staffer Elisa Grubbs. She also announced on Twitter that she had affidavits from several other women.
They had all said Conyers sexually harassed them in incidents that were previously undisclosed.
The Detroit-area seat is strongly Democratic, so his departure will not affect the balance of power in the House.
Conyers was a longtime civil rights activist. He was also the only remaining member of Congress who was elected in the 1960s.
The congressman also happens to be the highest-profile political figure to be forced from office in the midst of a national debate over sexual harassment. It began weeks ago with accusations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.