Embattled Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has told a Detroit radio station that he will not seek re-election and endorses his son John Conyers III to replace him in Congress. From CNN:

“I am retiring today. And I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support that…incredible, undiminished support I’ve received across the years of my supporters, not only in my district but across the country as well,” Conyers said.

Conyers is facing numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment from former female employees. Another woman spoke up last night and claimed Conyers groped her in church.

Filling a House Vacancy

He said:

“I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers, III, who incidentally I endorse to replace me in my seat in congress, so we’re all working together to make this country a better one, to make a quality and justice more available for any, and with Dr. Luther king, that’s the issue that brought us in this thing together and we’ve been steadily moving forward and we’re going to continue to do so,” Conyers said.

Unlike the Senate, it can take awhile for vacancies to end in the House because it must be filled by an election. From ThoughtCo.com:

According to the U.S. Constitution and state law, the governor of the state calls for a special election to replace the vacant House seat. The full election cycle must be followed including political party nominating processes, primary elections and a general election, all held in the congressional district involved. The entire process often takes as long as from three to six months.

While a House seat is vacant, the office of the former representative remains open, its staff operating under the supervision of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. The people of the affected congressional district do not have voting representation in the House during the vacancy period.

They can, however, continue to contact former representative’s interim office for assistance with a limited range of services as listed below by the Clerk of the House.

Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault Claims

Conyers became an icon during the civil rights movement. Right now he is the longest serving member in the House and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus. He served as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, but resigned his post after the allegations surfaced.

The first report came out on November 21. Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal claim in 2015 with a former employee who said he fired her because she said no to his sexual advances. More and more women began to speak out against Conyers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dug herself into a hole when she defended Conyers on Meet The Press. Later in the day, she lashed out at him on Twitter. A few days later, she finally stated she believed Conyers should resign.

Conyers has remained hard headed through this all, denying the allegations, while his lawyer criticized the alleged victims. In one instance he appeared to mock all the women who have used the #MeToo hashtag to share their stories of assault, harassment, or rape.

Aren’t they lovely men?

Another Victim

Another victim of Conyers has come forward. Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Marion Brown, the woman in the BuzzFeed report that blew the lid off this story, released an affidavit from Conyers’ former employee Elisa Grubbs, who worked for the lawmaker between 2001 and 2013. From The Detroit Free Press:

She said in the affidavit she saw Conyers groping and stroking Brown’s legs and the legs of other women in the office and that she saw Brown shortly after an alleged event in Chicago in 2005 where Brown said Conyers’ propositioned her in a hotel room. In the affidavit, Grubbs said Brown told her, “That SOB just wanted me to have sex with him.”

She also said she was sitting next to him at church on another occasion when he ran his hand under her skirt and said other people saw him do it.

She said when he did that, “she jumped up and exclaimed in front of other staffers, ‘He just ran his hand up my thigh!'”

Grubbs also claimed that Conyers “walked out of his bathroom, knowing she was in the room,” when they were at his house. She got up and left the house immediately.

Grubbs witnessed assault on other women. From NBC News:

Grubbs said she saw Conyers stroking the legs and buttocks of other staffers on multiple occasions.

“Witnessing Rep. Conyers rub women’s thighs and buttocks and make comments about women’s physical attributes was a regular part of life while working in the Office of Rep. Conyers,” Grubbs said in the affidavit.