Democrat Paul Clements says he’s leaving the primary race in the Sixth Congressional District that includes Kalamazoo.
Clements had earlier challenged a ruling by the state’s Board of Canvassers. It said the Western Michigan University political science professor was nine short of the 1,000 valid signatures needed to get on the August ballot. But a federal judge ruled against Clements, so Clements says he's ending his campaign. That leaves George Franklin, Matt Longjohn, David Benac in the race.
Some of Clements' nominating petition signatures were challanged because some people who signed incorrectly said they lived in the City of Kalamazoo or Kalamazoo Township. In his lawsuit challenged the Board of Canvassers' decision, Clements argued that the rules are confusing when communities have similar names. He says those who signed his petitions provided addresses so that election officials could determine which jurisdiction they live in. But on Friday, June 22, federal Judge Robert Jonker rejected that.
In his written opinion, Jonker says, "The potential for confusion did not prevent four other Democratic candidates from qualifying for the ballot with the required signatures." Jonker went on, saying, "Mr. Clements has failed to make a convincing showing that the Court should re-write state election rules in the middle of the game."
The winner of the primary election August 7 will face Republican Representative Fred Upton of Saint Joseph, who's been in Congress since 1986. Clements was the Democratic nominee in 2014 and 2016.