Henson joins Mitchell campaign

The Baltimore Sun

Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. has hired Baltimore political strategist Julius C. Henson to deliver voters to the polls in the final month of the campaign, Mitchell's campaign manager, Jayson Williams, said yesterday.

Henson, who is known for his aggressive tactics, once called former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. "a Nazi," and labeled state Sen. Joan Carter Conway a "pseudo-Negro" for her endorsement of then-City Councilman Martin O'Malley for mayor.

He forced a candidate for city state's attorney to withdraw from the race after digging up information about alleged extramarital affairs and was arrested for assaulting a police officer during an argument over a credit card.

"My reason for joining this campaign is to help close this race," Henson said yesterday. "I believe we can win."

Henson boasted yesterday that he has a "reputation for delivering 90 percent of undecided voters."

Mitchell trailed Mayor Sheila Dixon in a poll of likely voters taken for The Sun early last month, but more than a quarter of respondents were undecided. When asked whether his addition to the campaign signaled a shift to a more negative strategy for Mitchell, Henson said that his work would focus on issues "in the record."

"It's a shame that the Mitchell campaign, which has had a rocky few weeks, is now turning to a controversial hired gun," said Martha McKenna, Dixon's campaign manager.

Henson is known for getting voters to the polls and turning underdogs into winners.

He began his political career in the mid-1990s, managing accountant Joan M. Pratt's ascent to City Hall as Baltimore comptroller.

In the 2002 Democratic primary, 20 candidates hired him and 15 won.

Henson served as campaign strategist for another current mayoral candidate, schools administrator Andrey Bundley, during his first run for mayor in 2003. Bundley received 32 percent of the vote in that election, losing to incumbent Martin O'Malley.


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