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Kevin Sullivan chosen as nominee for Del. Morrissey’s seat amid lawsuit threat

Posted at 8:18 PM, Dec 22, 2014

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A group of about 100 board members selected Kevin Sullivan as the Democratic nominee for Delegate Joe Morrissey's (D - Henrico) seat in the General Assembly during a firehouse caucus Monday night.

Fifty-one voters from the Democratic party cast their ballots at 7 p.m. at locations in Charles City and Henrico counties for who they want to see replace Delegate Joe Morrissey.

“I supported him in the past, but I just couldn’t do it no more,” voter Warren Lacy said.

Sen. Donald McEachin, who was also voting, said "this has not been a happy episode for our party."

Kevin Sullivan

Kevin Sullivan

The controversy surrounding the firehouse primary did not escape these democrats.

“It’s what the committee decided to do, and I haven’t made a determination whether it’s fair or not. I don’t know,” Chris Archer, a voter, said.

Still, those voters told CBS 6 something had to be done quickly after Morrissey entered an Alford Plea to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and resigned at the request of his party.

“I think short notice, we didn’t have much time to get things together,” Lacy said.

Now, with Kevin Sullivan in place as the democratic nominee, the party will have to wait to see what happens with a lawsuit Morrissey’s law partner plans to file Tuesday to try to block the party and the state from certifying the winner.

“The law is pretty clear that political parties have the right to determine how they nominate their candidates,” McEachin said about the lawsuit.

The vote came following a weekend in which Morrissey dropped his bid to win the seat back that he had just resigned. Earlier this month Morrissey was convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to jail time, for a crime related to his relationship with a 17-year-old girl who worked in his law office.

Joe Morrissey'

Joe Morrissey

But Morrissey’s law partner, Paul Goldman, said he wants a federal judge to rule on the vote.

Late Monday afternoon,  CBS 6 cameras caught Goldman working at a Kinkos on a lawsuit he planned to file in federal court to prevent Democrats from selecting Morrissey's successor.

Goldman said that because the party is having just 100 board members cast votes -- it is undemocratic.

Paul Goldman

Paul Goldman

"99.9 percent of the people can't vote have you ever heard anything like that. They are barred from voting,” Goldman said.

The Democratic Party disagrees, saying that “Virginia code grants us autonomy over our own nominating process and we are operating in accordance with the law.”

Late Monday Goldman said that he had decided not file suit to prevent Monday’s vote. Instead, he is now planning to file a lawsuit Tuesday morning to prevent the certification of winner.

Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said that all of this is a last-ditch effort for a man whose career is likely over. Both Democrats and Republicans are threatening to expel Morrissey from the General Assembly if he ever elected again.

"He’s certainly abandoned by the Democratic party here. They want to do everything they can here to prevent him from acquiring their nomination,” Holsworth said.