Candidate for Conyers seat suing governor for waiting to fill vacancy

One man hoping to win an empty congressional seat is suing the governor for waiting until November to fill the seat.

Most residents have a representative in Congress until the next election. However, because Congressman John Conyers resigned in 2017, and Gov. Rick Snyder set an election to fill his seat starting in November, residents of the 13th congressional district will not have a representative in Congress for 11 months in 2018.

"Governor Snyder continues to treat residents of urban areas across the street as second class citizens," Michael Gilmore said.

Gilmore is an attorney, political activist and the man suing the governor to speed up the election.

"Governor Snyder has historically cited cost saving measures as his reason for denying civil rights and human rights to urban areas," he said.

The governor does believe setting the date for the special election in August and November on the same dates as the regular general election will save local taxpayers up to $2 million.

"Divide $2 million by the 658,000 residents, that totals roughly $3 per person," he said.

Gilmore calls this systemic discrimination in the 13th congressional district, which he says is composed of over 62 percent minority residents. 

"He is once again attempting to balance the state's budgets on the backs of black people in the name of cost savings," he said.

Gilmore is also a candidate for this seat. Might his lawsuit be self-serving?

"I don't believe this is self-serving, in fact I'm actually quite ashamed that I'm the only one talking about it," he said. "Donald Trump has already begun to illuminate important social programs that we need in this area, and no one else is talking about it?"

Gilmore says that typically vacancies are filled within a few months and he has asked the federal court to make a quick ruling hopefully by the end of February. There's been no formal response from the governor's office.