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Ex-legislator, ousted from state House, may be eyeing campaign

Carlos Henriquez, a former state representative, was ousted from the House by his colleagues after being convicted of assaulting a woman. Essdras M Suarez/globe staff/file 2014

Former state representative Carlos Henriquez, the first member of the House removed from the chamber by his colleagues in nearly a century, may be seeking office again.

Henriquez, a Dorchester Democrat ousted in 2014 after he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, posted a message Wednesday on Twitter about “a campaign for the people,” with a link to a volunteer form that listed several possible duties: door knocking, phone banking, and fund-raising among them. “I hope you will join me!” he wrote.

On Facebook, he appeared in a gray suit and red tie against a light blue background, with the words “State Representative Fifth District” and “Committed to Community” below. The update brought online expressions of support and questions about whether he is, in fact, seeking to represent his old district, which covers parts of Roxbury and Dorchester.


Henriquez, who has maintained his innocence in the assault case, did not return calls for comment, and it is unclear whether he will actually mount a campaign.

The very prospect is already facing pushback, including from some women’s groups.

“A person who commits an act of violence against a woman isn’t necessarily suited to advocate for legislation we believe in,” said Nai Collymore-Henry, policy and operations manager for the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Word of a possible Henriquez candidacy began to circulate among House Democrats as they were leaving a strategy session at the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston. State Representative Russell Holmes, a Mattapan Democrat who urged his House colleagues to censure Henriquez rather than remove him two years ago, said he was not surprised.

Holmes said the former state representative told him a couple of weeks ago that he was weighing a run for his old seat, among other possibilities. But a campaign, he added, would put Henriquez’s friends in the Legislature “in a bad position.”


Holmes said he would be “supportive” of state Representative Evandro C. Carvalho, who won a special election to replace Henriquez. But he said that he was not yet sure what kind of support he would offer.

As chairman of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, Holmes added, he was not happy about the prospect of investing resources in a campaign pitting two candidates of color. “I’d much rather be working for some of the open seats,” he said.

Carvalho, in a written statement, said he has “worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Dorchester and Roxbury” and “always expected to face challengers from the district.”

“I am looking forward to every opportunity to discuss our remaining work with the constituents of the Fifth Suffolk District,” he continued.

Carvalho chairs the Boston delegation to the Legislature. And Representative Daniel J. Hunt, a Dorchester Democrat whose district borders Carvalho’s, quickly issued a statement of support to the Globe.

“Rep. Carvalho has been a strong voice in the House for working people and, as an attorney, has demonstrated great ability,” he said. “His passion and experience is why I voted for him to lead the Boston delegation and why I support his reelection.”

A Middlesex County jury convicted Henriquez of two misdemeanor counts of assault and battery and acquitted him on several other charges. A month later, the House voted 146-5 to oust him from the chamber after an hour and a half of emotional debate.


“We cannot lose sight of the fact that there is a victim involved,” said David M. Nangle, a Lowell Democrat who was then vice chairman of the House ethics committee. “There is a victim of a violent domestic crime.”

Henriquez, released from jail to attend, maintained his innocence on the House floor. “The truth is, I never touched my accuser in any way, at any point in time, that would result in harm or injury,” he said.

State Representative Benjamin Swan, a Springfield Democrat who was among the handful of members who opposed the ouster, said he would have no problem with voters returning Henriquez to office. “If they think that he can represent them, that’s between he and they, know what I mean?,” he said.

State Representative Denise Provost, a Somerville Democrat who also opposed removal, said she cast her vote not in support of Henriquez, but because the House invoked a rule that did not cover his conduct.

She was not enthusiastic, on Wednesday, about a potential Henriquez candidacy. “It makes me wonder what part of being expelled didn’t he understand,” she said, “and whether he thinks the same body that expelled him would seat him.”

It’s not clear whether the House would have the power to deny Henriquez a seat in the chamber if he won election.

Joshua Miller of the Globe staff contributed to this report. David Scharfenberg can be reached at david.scharfenberg

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the individual that was the subject of Representative Provost’s vote. It was Carlos Henriquez.