DETROIT
09/28/2012 12:36 pm ET

Brian Banks, Michigan State House Candidate, Has Eight Felony Convictions

Brian Banks is one politician who isn't running on his record -- at least not his criminal one.

The Democratic candidate for Michigan's 1st House District has been convicted eight times for felonies involving bad checks and credit card fraud from 1998 to 2004, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The newly redrawn district where Banks is campaigning includes parts of Detroit, Harper Woods, Grosse Pointe Woods and Grosse Pointe Shores.

The candidate been endorsed by a number of local officeholders including State Rep. Harvey Santana, State Senator Bert Johnson and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, but Napoleon's spokesman Dennis Niemiec said the sheriff was unaware of Banks' convictions.

"He's shocked," Niemiec told the Free Press. "He was led to believe he was a practicing attorney, which would have required him to pass a character and fitness"

Banks is is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law, but is not a member of the state bar.

He told the Free Press he's been truthful about his past during his campaign and has asked voters to look at his accomplishments since his convictions when they make a decision in November.

According to his campaign site, Banks is part of the staff at the law firm of Rodnick, Unger and Kaner, P.C. and an adjunct professor at Baker College. He has also provided free legal assistance to clients at the MSU Law Plea and Sentencing Clinic.

In August Banks narrowly beat out rival Scott Benson for the Democratic spot in a race that was decided by less than 100 votes. The five-person primary race featured no incumbents.

Banks will be facing off in the general election against Republican Dan Schulte, a Grosse Pointe Shores councilman who ran unopposed in the primary.

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