HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The election is almost a year away, but candidates are already lining up to challenge Del. Joe Morrissey for his political seat, much of it sparked by his plea deal in Henrico last week.
In the past couple of days, the list of candidates has grown. It includes a teacher, a Henrico school board member and a former Morrissey supporter who says he can no longer trust the delegate.
Speaking from his home in Charles City, Kevin Sullivan say he's had enough. "It's come to the point right now where it's just not possible to support Joe anymore and I think a lot of people feel that way," says Sullivan (D - 74th District candidate).
Morrissey is now serving three months on work release after entering an Alford Plea for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The teenager involved was his receptionist, who was 17 at the time.
Republican Matt Walton just announced his election plans. "All I can say on that is Del. Morrissey has a lot of thinking to do and as he stated yesterday he needs to think about what's best for the people of the 74th district," he said.
Henrico School Board member Lamont Bagby also plans to run for the seat. But says he's not ready to comment further on the decision.
Politicians on both sides have called for Morrissey's resignation. "This is totally uncharted territory," says Paul Goldman, who is Morrisey's law partner. Goldman now helping the delegate navigate the options. He says a petition planned by Sullivan doesn't apply to state lawmakers. The House of Delegates could take action, either with a censure to remove Morrissey from committees, or a vote for Expulsion. "There's never been anyone expelled in the modern era through the Virginia House of Delegates, never been anyone expelled for anything like this," says Goldman
Or Morrissey could resign. That's something the delegate says he will address later this week.
As to the election, over the weekend he told us he welcomes the competition. "If other people want to run they are welcome to it, I think it is good for the process," says Morrissey.
Morrissey has maintained he's not guilty in this case but admits there is enough evidence to convict him. He has said there will be a civil trial where more information will come out.
Meanwhile, he continues to serve his three months on work release. He has to report to Henrico Jail East every night.