Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has scheduled a November 2018 election to replace disgraced Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), a decision that will leave much of Detroit without representation in Congress for nearly a year. “Having ample time for candidates to make a decision about running for office and file their paperwork gives people more options as to who will next represent them in Congress,” Snyder said in a statement. “In order to allow several months for that to take place and to reduce the financial burden on local taxpayers, the primary and general elections will be held when regularly scheduled elections are already occurring.” The 88-year-old Conyers, who served in Congress for 52 years, stepped down Tuesday after multiple former aides accused him of sexual misconduct.
Michigan’s constitution gives the governor free rein over the date of special congressional elections. In July 2012, after Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) unexpectedly quit his reelection bid, Snyder also opted to put the election to replace him on the November ballot. In 2018, as in 2012, the winner of the November election will be seated for the final weeks of the current Congress; the same day, an election will be held for a full term.
Snyder’s decision will deprive the 13th district, safe Democratic territory centered in Detroit, of a voice in Congress through most of next year. That absence, coupled with the absence of former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and the looming retirements of Reps. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), lowers the threshold for passage of bills in the House from 218 to 215, if every member serving is present.