Carvalho wins Democratic primary in Fifth Suffolk race to replace Henriquez

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Apr. 1, 2014

Evandro Carvalho: Won Democratic primary election today. Photo by Mike DeehanEvandro Carvalho: Won Democratic primary election today. Photo by Mike DeehanAttorney Evandro C. Carvalho on Tuesday won the five-way Democratic primary in the race to replace former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, sources in two camps said.

As the winner of the April 1 Democratic primary, Carvalho moves on to the ballot in the April 29 general election. No Republicans are expected on the ballot, since there were no candidates that emerged during the primary.

A Fields Corner resident who once worked in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Carvalho was born in Cape Verde and came to Boston at age 15. He graduated from Madison Park High and went to UMass Amherst and Howard University School of Law.

The other candidates included Karen Charles-Peterson, chief of staff in the state Department of Telecommunications; community activist Jennifer Johnson; former State House staffer Barry Lawton and perennial candidate Roy Owens.

The district includes parts of Dorchester and Roxbury.

In a phone interview, Carvalho said he was grappling with the win. “It’s still sinking in,” he said. “I feel blessed. I’m exhausted. I’m still in work mode.”

Carvalho will be filling out the rest of Henriquez’s term and will have to run for reelection this fall in order to keep the seat. House lawmakers voted to oust the Dorchester Democrat after he was convicted of assault and battery charges earlier this year.

Carvalho said he visited Henriquez, who is serving a six month sentence, at Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica just before he pulled nomination papers for Henriquez's former seat. It was the first time they had met in person. Carvalho said he went to tell Henriquez about his candidacy "out of respect" for the former lawmaker.

Johnson had pulled nomination papers for both the special election and the regularly scheduled fall election. Her campaign on Tuesday night left the door open to another bid for the Fifth Suffolk seat.

“I’m hoping the fine candidates who ran, we can sit down and talk about how we can move forward and improve the community,” Carvalho said. “My whole effort was about community effort.”

According to unofficial numbers posted on the city elections department’s website, Carvalho won with 49 percent of the vote, or 960 votes. Charles-Peterson came in second with 26.62 percent, or 521 votes. Lawton placed third, with 9.71 percent, or 190 votes. Johnson and Owens received 151 votes and 89 votes, respectively.

Turnout was light throughout the day, though stronger than some political observers had expected. At 6 p.m., 1,496 voters had gone to the polls in the Fifth Suffolk House District, according to the city’s Elections Department.

The race to replace Henriquez was one of three special elections taking place in Boston on Tuesday, and one of two in Dorchester. Dan Hunt, the Democratic nominee in the 13th Suffolk House race, will succeed Marty Walsh in the House. Walsh resigned after he was elected mayor of Boston.

Walsh, who publicly stayed out of both the 13th and 5th Suffolk races during the primaries, recorded a robocall for Hunt. US Sen. Elizabeth Warren also recorded a call for Hunt.

The third special election was held in Charlestown and Chelsea. The House seat was vacant due to Eugene O’Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat, joining Walsh’s administration as corporation counsel.

This post was updated at 9:26 p.m. with comments from Evandro Carvalho. This post was further updated at 9:40 p.m. with unofficial numbers from the city elections department.