Joseph D. Morrissey was reelected Tuesday to the House of Delegates, opening another chapter in a made-for-TV-movie-style drama likely to captivate the General Assembly session starting Wednesday. Running as an independent, Morrissey defeated Democrat Kevin Sullivan and Republican Matt Walton. The heavily Democratic district mostly spans the Richmond suburb of Henrico County. With all precincts reporting, Morrissey won 42 percent of the vote, Sullivan 33 percent and Walton 24 percent, according to unofficial results. Sullivan quickly conceded after the results posted online: “I’m very proud of the campaign we put together in such a short time frame. We met tons of voters who are dissatisfied in their representation and ready for effective leadership in the State House. I look forward to continuing my work on improving the lives of working class families.”
Voters were apparently unmoved by Morrissey’s plea last month on a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which stemmed from his relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist at his law office. The 57-year-old lawmaker maintained his innocence while entering a guilty plea to avoid a possible conviction on felony charges. He also resigned from office, but he then immediately vowed to run for the seat in the special election to replace him.
Morrissey’s hurdles are far from over. Republican and Democratic leaders quickly indicated they are considering all options, including beginning the process to expel or censure him as early as Wednesday when the legislature convenes in Richmond for a six-week session.