Potential candidates start to circle; work to remove Morrissey from office

Posted at 1:20 PM, Dec 15, 2014

CORRECTION: Kevin Sullivan called back saying since Morrissey’s Alford plea did not include language about a sexual relationship with the teen, his lawyers advised him he cannot pursue a recall.  The original text of this story is below.

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va – Over the summer, Kevin Sullivan announced he planned to run against Del. Joe Morrissey (D – Henrico_ when the lawmaker’s term ended in 2015. However, after Morrissey entered an Alford Plea on charges stemming from an inappropriate relationship he had with a 17-year-old staffer in his legal office, Sullivan announced he wanted to move up that run-off.

Sullivan said he planned to file a petition to remove Morrissey from office in the House of Delegates. That would lead to a special election.

The number of registered voters in the district who sign the petition would have to be “equal to ten percent of the total number of votes cast at the last election for the office that the officer holds,” according to state law.

Morrissey ran uncontested in 2013, and a total of 22, 275 voters were cast in the 74th district, which includes parts of Henrico, Charles City, and the city of Richmond.

Sullivan said if he got the right number of signatures and certification by a Circuit Court judge, Morrissey could still be a part of any special election.  Sullivan said he planned on asking other potential candidates for the 74th seat to support the petition.

“I think it’s time that the people of the 74th district settle this issue.  This issue cannot be allowed to continue to fester.  It needs to be solved,” Sullivan said.

Morrissey was sentenced to six months in jail, with six months suspended,  following his conviction of a misdemeanor on Friday. By entering an Alford plea, Morrissey did not admit he broke the law, but did admit there was enough evidence to convict him.  The delegate is currently enrolled in a work release program.

CBS 6 left a message with Morrissey’s legislative aide asking for comment on Sullivan’s move, but so far that call has not been returned.

The list of potential candidates for the 74th house seat has expanded since Morrissey’s conviction.

Sunday morning, Henrico School Board member Lamont Bagby announced via his Twitter account he plans on running.  CBS 6 confirmed his candidacy with Bagby over the phone.

Monday, Glen Allen High School teacher Matt Walton officially announced his campaign for the seat.

“Delegate Morrissey has a lot of thinking to do, and as he stated yesterday, he needs to think about what’s best for the 74th district,” Walton said.

“We cannot rightfully have someone sitting in the House of Delegates with an ankle brace on,” Sullivan added.

Morrissey has not said whether or not he will resign, but announced on Sunday that he will make a decision soon.