Conyers Stepping Down

Had been under pressure from own party as subject of sexual harassment allegations

John Conyers (D-Mich.) has decided to step down, according to various reports, but they might not have to change the stationery since his son, John Conyers III, may run for his Senate seat.

"I am retiring today," he told Detroit radio talk show host Mildred Gaddis, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Conyers has been the subject of multiple sexual harassment allegations, and though his last Tweet on the subject thanked supporters for not rushing to judgment, pressure had been building in his own party for him to step down. He was ranking member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee before he stepped down recently. Judiciary divvies up oversight of communications issues with Senate Commerce. A race had already begun for what was expected to be an open ranking position

His exit could ramp up pressure on Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to step down. Conyers attorney had been suggesting there was some differential treatment--Franken is white and Conyers black. Franken has also been the subject of sexual misconduct allegations, though more of the wandering hands and sophomoric behavior rather than the allegations of harassment, including Conyers' settlement of one claim, though without admitting any wrongdoing.

Related: Democracy America Pushes Franken, Conyers Resignations

"Just as was true in 1991, when Anita Hill came forward with her allegations, 'Sexual Harassment' has again become a household term. The wave of sexual harassment allegations has reached the proportion of a public health epidemic," says Melissa Raphan, partner in the labor group of law firm Dorsey & Whitney. "Headlines are filled high with profile men being accused, and in many cases, resigning, whether it be in the entertainment industry, the news industry or, most recently, John Conyers in the US House of Representatives. No industry is immune..."