Three Congressional Black Caucus Seats Up for Grabs Next Week

Reps. John Conyers, Hanson Clarke and Lacy Clay

Three Congressional Black Caucus Seats Up for Grabs Next Week

Reps. John Conyers, Hanson Clarke and Lacy Clay face colleagues and/or stiff competition in upcoming primaries.

Published August 2, 2012

Reps. John Conyers, Hansen Clarke and Lacy Clay. (Photos: from left Eric Connolly, Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Wikicommons)

On Aug. 7, voters in Michigan and Missouri will head to the polls to decide the fates of veteran lawmaker and Congressional Black Caucus co-founder Rep. John Conyers and neophyte Rep. Hansen Clarke, both of Michigan, and legacy Rep. Lacy Clay in Missouri.

Conyers, who is the second-longest serving member in the U.S. House of Representatives, is "up against the most active competition I've had in a primary in recent memory," he said in an interview with The Detroit News. His challengers include state Sen. Bert Johnson and state Rep. Shanelle Jackson, both of whom are African-American. They and others have suggested that Conyers, 83, should step aside to make room for a new generation of leaders who may be better equipped to deal with today's challenges.

"This election is not about what happened 50 years ago," Anderson told the publication. "This election is about what's going to happen today, tomorrow and off into the future."

Clarke's bid for a second term in Congress is taking place in a brand new district in which he is pitted against a fellow House member. As the political newspaper The Hill notes, Clarke has not run a strong campaign and, more important, "most of the city’s African-American political establishment as well as many of the powerful local unions have lined up behind Peters." 

Of the three lawmakers, Clay is the surest thing. Redistricting cost opponent Rep. Russ Carnahan his seat and against the advice of the Democratic establishment, he decided to take on Clay. The race has taken on some interesting dynamics because both are the products of political dynasties. But Carnahan has taken on a battle he was destined to lose. The district's voters are primarily African-American and, in this case, highly unlikely to cast aside one of their own for him.

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Written by Joyce Jones


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