Clarke Loses Re-Election Bid; Conyers and Clay Trounce the Competition

Clarke Loses Re-Election Bid; Conyers and Clay Trounce the Competition

Redistricting and colleague v. colleague matches cost Rep. Hansen Clarke his job.

Published August 8, 2012

Redistricting dealt a blow to the Congressional Black Caucus' numbers on Aug. 7, when Rep. Hansen Clarke lost his first re-election bid to fellow House member Rep. Gary Peters. Peters also defeated three other candidates to win the Democratic nomination for Michigan's newly drawn 14th district.

Clarke won his first term in Congress after defeating veteran lawmaker Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in 2010. However, this time around, support from local labor unions and African-American pastors gave Peters the edge. He is poised to become the second white member in the House serving a majority-Black district and for the first time since 1965 the Detroit area will not have two Black congressional representatives.

Longtime lawmaker and CBC co-founder, Rep. John Conyers, who also ran in a newly drawn district, cruised to victory, and is favored to win a 25th term in November. Conyers, 83, did not take his primary lightly and throughout the process freely acknowledged the unfamiliarity of having to raise money and mount a serious re-election campaign for the first time in decades.
"We had to form a completely different strategy because I had to get known as the candidate, not as someone else," he told The Detroit News.

In addition to having to prove his worth against younger Democrats, including two African-Americans anxious to begin a new generation of leadership, Conyers faced the stigma of wife Monica, who is serving a three-year prison term for conspiracy to commit bribery.

In a Missouri face-off between the sons of two famous families who both serve in the House, Rep. Lacy Clay, who serves the St. Louis district previously represented by his father Bill Clay, trounced Rep. Russ Carnahan, whose late father is a former governor of the state.

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Written by Joyce Jones


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