Delegate Joe Morrissey is planning to file paperwork to run in an upcoming special election to fill the 74th District seat he held until earlier this month. Morrissey is embroiled in a teen sex allegation scandal, and Virginia Democrats have elected Kevin Sullivan to run for the seat.
In a release on Tuesday, Morrissey’s office stated: “Delegate Joe Morrissey will be filing paperwork to run in the upcoming special election to fill the seat for the 74th District in the Virginia House of Delegates at 3:30 pm.”
The special election will take place on January 13, 2015.
After the votes were tallied in a primary Monday night, Kevin Sullivan will be running as the Democratic candidate in next month’s special election for Morrissey’s seat.
Morrissey’s partner and former Democratic chairman Paul Goldman wasn’t pleased with the process of picking a new nominee. He says it’s exclusive and leaves thousands of voters out of the mix.
“You don’t disenfranchise people. I’ve got a lot of history of getting people the right to vote. Here you’re taking it away.”
Monday night’s primary was held in two locations, in Henrico and Charles City County. Members that can participate have to be in “good standing,” meaning they’ve filled out a membership application, paid dues and had been voted in as a member before the primary was announced.
That left only about 100 people casting votes.
“I don’t understand why the Democrats want to do it this way,” Goldman told 8News Reporter Tim Wronka. “I can tell you there’s a lot of grassoots Democrats who are very upset; why wouldn’t you be? You’ve been denied the right to vote!”
In a statement, the Democratic Party of Virginia said: “Virginia code grants parties autonomy over their own nominating process. The nominating committee is operating in accordance with the law.”
Morrissey entered an Alford plea in court on December 12 to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to court documents. His charges stems from accusations that he was involved in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Morrissey originally faced four felony charges, but those were withdrawn by prosecutors when he entered an Alford plea. An Alford plea does not mean that Morrissey is admitting guilt. Rather, it acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence for a conviction.
Morrissey (D – Henrico) announced his resignation the morning of December 18.
Stay with 8News for continual updates on this developing story.