To be clear, late-night votes might be a bit of a problem for Joseph Morrissey, the newly sworn-in Virginia House delegate who must report to his jail cell about 7:30 each evening. But Mr. Morrissey — embroiled in a scandal involving sexual relations with a minor — appears undaunted. After resigning his seat in disgrace last month, Mr. Morrissey, a former Democrat, ran in the special election as an independent, handily beating challengers from both parties. He won nearly 43 percent of the vote on Tuesday, in a largely minority district that twists through various counties near Richmond. He was sworn in late Wednesday morning, shortly before the State Legislature began its 2015 session. In perhaps the most bipartisan move that might occur in the Virginia Legislature this year, lawmakers from both parties scrambled Wednesday to prevent Mr. Morrissey from serving — or to at least severely censure him.
“Mr. Morrissey’s election tonight does not change the fact that his actions fall grievously short of the standards of a public servant in the House of Delegates,” William J. Howell, the Republican speaker of the House, said in a prepared statement Tuesday night. On Wednesday, he added, “It is said quite often, public service is a privilege. None of us are entitled to the seats we hold in this body.”
Democrats were no more captivated by their former party mate’s return. “We will be exploring every avenue in regard to his status as a member of the House of Delegates,” the House minority leader, David J. Toscano, and the party’s caucus chairman, Scott A. Surovell, said in a joint statement.