Julius Henson, who was jailed for 30 days in connection with a scheme designed to keep Blacks away from the polls in the 2010 gubernatorial election, thinks it’s time for him to reenter politics.
In an interview with the AFRO Oct. 14, Henson, 64, a Black former political consultant to former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R), said he has decided to run for the Maryland State Senate in District 45. The seat is currently held by Sen. Nathaniel McFadden (D).
“I decided to run because I think that service is very important, particularly in our community,” said Henson. “In the 45th District, particularly the part that I live in, we basically have not been served.”
Henson spoke to the AFRO after buzz swirled Oct. 14 and fliers began circulating announcing his candidacy for the seat, which will be decided in 2014.
His announcement comes four months after the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld his conviction in the infamous “Robocall Case.” In that case, he was originally charged with violating Maryland’s election law. He was convicted of one count of failing to include a sponsorship line in automated calls made Election Night 2010. The calls were made to about 110,000 voters, mostly in Prince Georges’s County and Baltimore City which have high percentages of Black voters.
He was accused of targeting Black voters in robocalls and discouraging them from heading to the polls to vote, saying O’Malley had already won and that their votes were not needed. He was reportedly sentenced to two months in prison, 300 hours of community service, and three years of probation in June 2012.
Henson said the conviction was based on “an inconsistent verdict.”
Henson said he remains on probation. He said a condition of his probation forbids him from being involved in political activity, paid or volunteer. Henson said he has been knocking on doors and passing out campaign literature. It is unclear whether or not his campaign activities constitute a ‘political activity’ in violation of his probation.
Henson said he is pressing forward, regardless of his conviction. He said people in the community are well aware of what happened and what he was accused of doing, but that most residents, Black and White, are “dealing with a bunch of crap,” and therefore unconcerned about his crime.
He said voters in the 45th District “will be happy and glad” he decided to run.
“Like me or dislike me, I tell it straight and how it is,” Henson told the AFRO.
When asked about his chances, he said he is not expecting a landslide victory.
“I don’t need everybody to vote. I just need one more than all the rest,” he said.
He later accused the media “of trying to make Black people look bad” and urged reporters to “state the facts…and let the people decide.”