Podcast: John Conyers’ nephew endorses Brenda Jones over Rashida Tlaib

Podcast: John Conyers’ nephew endorses Brenda Jones over Rashida Tlaib
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Podcast: John Conyers’ nephew endorses Brenda Jones over Rashida Tlaib

Former Michigan State Senator Ian Conyers accused Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of ignoring her campaign promises to sit in the limelight of international issues “she never addressed” in the 2018 campaign. Conyers said that Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council President, has the district support to replace Tlaib and return the focus to local issues involving jobs, economy, healthcare and more in Michigan’s August 4, 2020 Democratic Primary election

By Ray Hanania

Ian Conyers, the nephew of former Congressman John Conyers, said during a radio interview that first term Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib misled voters during her 2018 campaign against Brenda Jones.

During an interview with The Arab Street Radio on Friday July 17, 2020 on WNZK AM 690 radio, Conyers said Tlaib never discussed international issues with voters when she ran the first time in 2018 and focused solely on local issues.

In reality, Conyers said, after being elected Tlaib turned her attention to international issues and engaged in a celebrity national profile forgetting the local needs of the homeowners, families and taxpayers in the predominantly African American district.

Ian Conyers, a former Michigan legislator and nephew of longtime Congressman John Conyers. Photo courtesy of Ian Conyers.

Ian Conyers, a former Michigan legislator and nephew of longtime Congressman John Conyers. Photo courtesy of Ian Conyers.

“Campaign promises are incredibly important to keep as a freshman congress person. It would have been one thing if she had campaigned on the issues that are international to a very, very local district but that was never mentioned once,” Conyers said.

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“You have to support the things you talked about in your campaign. Now when international issues come up absolutely you have a right to talk about it. When it is something that personally affects you, then absolutely you have a right to make a statement. But the everyday work ought to be that in which you have talked about delivering to the people who pledged their support to you.”

Conyers endorsed Brenda Jones the Detroit City Council President, and said that he, Jones and other leaders in the 13th District have similar cares for international issues including Palestine and the Middle East, but that Tlaib avoided those issues during the campaign.

Another issue, Conyers said are the contributions Tlaib has received, most from outside of the 13th District. Campaign financing was a factor but was not important then and won’t be important now.

“Tlaib outraised everyone in the first race … but that did not make a difference in the 30,000 votes that Brenda Jones received. Brenda Jones did not need the type of advertising or the get-out-the-vote operation that Rashida had,” Conyers said.

There were two concurrent elections on August 7, 2018 to succeed Congressman John Conyers who died on Dec. 5, 2017. The first was a special election which was held on Aug 7, 2018 to complete Conyers’ remaining term of office (five weeks). The second election was held to fill Conyer’s vacant seat and represent the 13th district in the new two-year term.

Jones defeated Tlaib in the special election by a vote of 32,727 to Tlaib who had 31,084 with only four candidates in the race. But Tlaib defeated Jones in the two-year term election by a vote of 27,841 to Jones who had 26,941 votes with six total candidates including three other African Americans.

In this year’s rematch, Jones has been endorsed by all four of the candidates who ran in that 2018 election, Conyers, Coleman Young, Shannelle Jackson and Bill Wild.

More than 89,000 voters cast ballots in the election and yet Tlaib only received less than one-third of the total votes cast.

“I think without question the no-reason absentee vote community are going to make a large impact on people to get involved in this primary,” Conyers said.

“I think a lot of people have made their selection and a lot of people are going to support Brenda, the highest vote-getter in the City of Detroit.”

Conyers said that Tlaib won most of her votes from the non-Detroit vote which had been divided by the many candidates in the 2018 election but who are now not in the August 4, 2020 election.

“It was really the non-Detroit vote of Garden City, down to Westland, Romulus … and many of those communities felt that they were the most misled by the campaign,” Conyers said.

“Those were the folks who made up the 30 percent who kind of had to squeak through the other 70 percent of the vote. I don’t see where the pickup comes to give Rashida the edge. You would have had to gain so tremendously in terms of first-time voters instead of traditional primary voters.”

Conyers also said that he doesn’t believe that Tlaib will be able to increase the vote she received in 2018 based on her focus on international issues or in not paying attention to the needs of local voters and communities.

“It seems as if Brenda has worked in the last two years to consolidate her peers to get the support of new members and also to pick up those people that Rashida has frustrated,” Conyers said.

“It’s a pretty big gamble as a freshman congressperson to leverage the well-do acclaim that you have received nationally and in other states around the country is going to actually make that difference locally in an election.”

Conyers added, “Brenda has been able to deliver in the district for more than two decades from her union work, down into her being elected by her own peers.”

You can hear the entire interview by clicking this link or by using the widget below.


(Hanania has repeatedly invited Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to be interviewed but she has refused and even went so far as to block Hanania from her social media.)

Ray Hanania

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