Michigan Democrats switch congressional districts to circumvent redistricting woes

Rachel Rose Hartman
August 22, 2011

A Republican-led congressional redistricting plan in Michigan has complicated the re-election plans of John Conyers and Hansen Clarke, two Democratic representatives from the state. But the lawmakers have found a novel way to avoid that challenge: they're switching their Detroit-area districts.

"Rep. Hansen Clarke looks forward to running for reelection in the new 14th congressional district of Michigan!," freshman Clarke tweeted Sunday.

The 14th district is currently represented by Conyers, a longtime member of the House. Clarke represents the neighboring 13th District. But their newly-drawn districts are much different, meaning they would have to introduce themselves to a host of new constituents and possibly face primary challenges from Democrats.

The switch benefits both men, but more significantly Conyers, whose base is located in the new 13th and who would have faced a primary against Clarke or outside challenges in the 14th.

Conyers, who has been serving since 1965, made no public statement regarding the switch, though sources tell Politico he supports the maneuver.