Former Virginia state legislator Joe Morrissey, who was accused of having sex with his teenage secretary in 2014, has won the Democratic primary for the state’s 16th Senate District. Morrissey later married his secretary and they have three children together.
The former state legislator defeated incumbent senator Rosalyn Dance by more than 10 points.
Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed Dance in the final week leading up to the campaign, but that did not make a difference for him. Northam has faced major backlash since he admitting to being in a racist yearbook photo showing one person dressed in blackface and another individual in the KKK’s white hood and robes. Despite numerous leaders from both parties calling for Northam to resign, he did not and instead said he will work to gain the trust back of Virginians.
Morrissey’s primary victory comes as a shock given that he was sentenced and jailed over the scandal involving the minor. Back then he was in his fifties and the young secretary was 17. He was sentenced to six months in jail, and plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Specifically, Morrissey “denied wrongdoing but entered an Alford plea to a misdemeanor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction.”
Republicans tweeted their thoughts on Morrissey’s victory, mocking him and Virginia’s Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, who also faced sexual misconduct allegations from two separate women.
Congrats, Joe Morrissey! You'll fit right in with Justin Fairfax.
— Virginia GOP (RPV) (@VA_GOP) June 12, 2019
A campaign operative told Accuracy in Media that the seat is in a blue area, thus should be an easy win to general for a Democrat like Morrissey. In 2016, Morrisey lost a race for Richmond’s mayor seat and had his law license revoked last year.
Marissa Martinez is a political contributor for Accuracy in Media. She is the former political director to Massachusetts Governor’s re-election campaign, alumna of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and political consultant to PACs. Follow her stories, @MarissaAlisa.
Photo by taberandrew