DETROIT — Former U.S. Rep. John Conyers, one of the longest-serving members of Congress whose resolutely liberal stance on civil rights made him a political institution in Washington and back home in Detroit despite several scandals, has died. He was 90.
Conyers, among the high-profile politicians toppled by sex harassment allegations in 2017, died at his home on Sunday, said Detroit police spokesman Cpl. Dan Donakowski. The death “looks like natural causes,” Donakowski added.
Known as the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, which he helped found, Conyers became one of only six black House members when he won his first election by just 108 votes in 1964. The race was the beginning of more than 50 years of election dominance: Conyers regularly won elections with more than 80% of the vote, even after his wife went to prison for taking a bribe.
That voter loyalty helped Conyers freely speak his mind. He took aim at both Republicans and fellow Democrats: He said then-President George W. Bush “has been an absolute disaster for the African-American community” in 2004, and in 1979 called then-President Jimmy Carter “a hopeless, demented, honest, well-intentioned nerd who will never get past his first administration.”