Michigan Congressman John Conyers is retiring after 52 years in office, thanks to a scandal in which he was accused of having engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with several former female staffers.
Conyers, long beloved by constituents in his Detroit-area district, first won a seat in Congress in 1964 and has been in office ever since. But a series of accusations, including that he regularly stripped down to his drawers in front of staff, led to Conyers facing pressure to step down.
He was also encouraged to leave office by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who initially backed Conyers, calling him an “icon”, but later backtracked and said Conyers “has got to go” after she was criticized for her support.
Conyers, at 88, is the longest-serving member of Congress.
After acknowledging he’d be leaving, Conyers immediately endorsed his son, John Conyers III, for his seat.
The younger Conyers fiercely defended his father as calls for him to resign grew louder.
Conyers hopes his kids will hold on to the seat for at least another 50 years:
“I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children. I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers III who incidentally I endorsed to replace me in my seat in Congress.”
Incidentally, Conyers’ great-nephew, 29-year old Michigan state Senator Ian Conyers, had previously said he wanted to run for his great-uncle’s seat.