The day before former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez was expected to be released from jail, voters in his former House district picked his successor, Evandro Carvalho, an attorney born in Cape Verde who won Tuesday’s special election with 739 votes, according to unofficial election results. There were 71 write-in ballots.
In the primary election on April 1, Carvalho gained nearly 50 percent of the vote in running against four other Democrats. No Republicans emerged to challenge him in the final election, and he will likely be sworn in later this month.
The ascension to Beacon Hill for the new representative for the 5th Suffolk District, a resident of Fields Corner who celebrated his victory at the Blarney Stone, a fixture in his home neighborhood, ends a three-month vacancy that was created after House lawmakers voted to expel Henriquez. A Dorchester Democrat, Henriquez was convicted of assault and battery on a former girlfriend in January and immediately sent to the Middlesex County House of Correction in Billerica.
Henriquez was expected to be released on parole earlier this month; his friends and family had initially been preparing for an April 25 release date, according to state Rep. Russell Holmes, a Mattapan Democrat who is close to Henriquez. But they learned last week that the release had been pushed back because Henriquez, who has staunchly maintained his innocence, had to meet all conditions for a release.
The conditions, according to an Executive Office of Public Safety spokesman, included an “approved home plan,” GPS monitoring, staying away from the victim, enrolling in a batterer’s counseling program, and participating in supervised drug and liquor abstinence and testing. The state parole board, when it heard his case on April 11, said he could be released “on” or “after” April 25.
A release after April 29 meant Henriquez had missed the deadline for turning in nomination signatures at City Hall to get onto the September ballot. In order to run for state representative, candidates had to provide 150 signatures from registered voters to local elections officials by 5 p.m. on April 29.
While Henriquez has expressed interest in running for the seat again, whether he will mount another campaign remains unclear. He can still run a write-in or sticker campaign for the September primary. He is unlikely to face Carvalho alone if he runs: Althea Garrison, a perennial candidate who has frequently switched parties during her candidacies, has talked about launching her own campaign for the seat, after she was denied ballot access during the special election due to her late enrollment as a Democrat.
Brad Howze, who lives in Dorchester and says he is affiliated with the New Sinai House of Prayer on Bowdoin Street, submitted nomination papers to the city’s elections department on Tuesday just minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline. “I just figure it’s a good time,” he said when asked why he was running. Public safety would be his top priority, he said.
Asked whether Henriquez should be given the opportunity to run for the seat, Howze answered in the affirmative, while acknowledging that he is “not very familiar with the charges” against Henriquez. “His personal life and public life should be separate,” Howze said.