The 88-year-old Conyers, who served in Congress for 52 years, stepped down Tuesday after multiple former aides accused him of sexual misconduct.
Michigan’s constitution gives the governor free rein over the date of special congressional elections. In July 2012, after Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) unexpectedly quit his reelection bid, Snyder also opted to put the election to replace him on the November ballot. In 2018, as in 2012, the winner of the November election will be seated for the final weeks of the current Congress; the same day, an election will be held for a full term.
Snyder’s decision will deprive the 13th district, safe Democratic territory centered in Detroit, of a voice in Congress through most of next year. That absence, coupled with the absence of former Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and the looming retirements of Reps. Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), lowers the threshold for passage of bills in the House from 218 to 215, if every member serving is present.
The Michigan 11th District’s vacancy will be the decade’s longest so far. The previous record was held in New York, where Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) resigned his seat in March 2010 after a sexual harassment scandal, and then-Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, scheduled the special election to replace him for November.