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Robocalls consultant Henson to challenge McFadden

Robocalls consultant Henson to challenge McFadden

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A longtime political consultant convicted of conspiring to violate elections law is challenging an incumbent state senator and criticizing his opponent for “a more than 20-year career void of economic development and moral leadership.”

Julius Henson
Julius Henson, a political operative accused of using Election Day robocalls to suppress black voter turnout during the 2010 gubernatorial election, walks into a Baltimore courthouse for jury selection in his trial on April 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Julius Henson announced Monday that he will officially file his candidacy as a Democrat to challenge Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, a five-term incumbent and the president pro tem of the Maryland Senate. McFadden, a Democrat, represents the 45th District, which includes much of East and Northeast Baltimore.

“East Baltimore falls prey to every disparity,” Henson said in an emailed statement. “The district is plagued by high unemployment, domestic violence, non-fatal shootings, homicide rate, juvenile arrest rate, rates of HIV, rate of diabetes, among the highest rate of school absenteeism, a high rate of cancer, a high rate of high blood pressure, greatest amount of liquor store density and one of the lowest medium [sic] household incomes in Baltimore City at $26,694.”

Henson said McFadden is insensitive to the problems of his constituents and accused the senator of not living in the district.

Henson, known for his brash, sometimes bare-knuckle style, is a former campaign strategist who has worked for a number of candidates at the local, state and federal levels in Maryland. The majority of those candidates were Democrats, but in 2010 Henson worked for the campaign of Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich.

In 2012, Henson was convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate state campaign law related to his role in a series of misleading Election Day 2010 robocalls to approximately 112,000 registered Democrats in Prince George’s County and the city of Baltimore before the polls closed.

Henson was sentenced to one year in prison, with all but 60 days suspended. He ultimately served about 30 days before being released.

In a separate civil case, Henson and his company, Universal Elections Inc., were ordered by a federal judge to pay $1 million to the state for sending the recorded phone calls.

Paul E. Schurick, Ehrlich’s campaign manager, was also found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to violate election laws, one count of election fraud and one count of violating the authority line requirement related to those calls.

Schurick was sentenced in 2012 to 30 days of home detention, a one-year suspended jail sentence and 500 hours of community service.

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