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Protesters disrupt Morrissey forum as special election nears

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Posted at 11:06 PM, Jan 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-11 23:23:53-05

CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. -- It is a campaign that is quickly becoming as heated as it is unique.

Three candidates, vying for one seat in the House of Delegates, continued their campaign Sunday, including the man responsible for Tuesday's special election.

Last month, State Delegate Joe Morrissey announced his intention to resign his seat after being convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Morrissey, in a surprise move, then announced he would run to try to win his seat back as an independent.

Challenging Morrissey is Republican nominee Matt Walton and Democratic nominee Kevin Sullivan.

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Sunday, Walton and Morrissey participated in a forum sponsored by the Richmond Crusade for Voters while Sullivan held a rally in Charles City County

The Morrissey forum however was interrupted by protestors holding signs asking voters not to vote Morrissey. Among the protestors was the father of the girl involved in the Morrissey scandal.

"You are a disgrace" and "We are not leaving" were statements CBS 6 cameras picked up on.

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"The father of the young lady -- his antics, like disrupting a meeting, are just over the top," Morrissey said.

Sullivan told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George he was not ignoring the Richmond Crusade for Voters event or Joe Morrissey, but that he had an event scheduled at the same time.

"That forum was being held outside the district we really didn't feel there would be enough of my voters there to make it worth my time to be there," Sullivan said.

The Sullivan event included speeches by Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Bobby Scott. Kaine described what had been going on in the 74th district lately as an "embarrassment."

When asked about Joe Morrissey, Sullivan responded "we really covered that ground very well," hinting he did not want to discuss the Morrissey scandal.

When St. George asked about his radio advertisement blasting Morrissey's past, Sullivan said "we already paid for the ads" and "it's important people get all the information they need before they vote."

"I'm running for reasons that were brought out today like Medicaid expansion," Sullivan said.

At the forum with Morrissey was Republican candidate Matt Walton, who was endorsed by Congressman Dave Bratt on Sunday.

"When I'm out talking to people in the 74th District -- it is education and jobs," Walton told CBS 6 when discussing his platform.

Walton did not appear interested in addressing the scandal, staying focused on the issues.

Morrissey, who wants attention focused on issues like minimum wage, said "I'm not going to say anything negative about any of my opponents."

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RELATED: HOLMBERG: Joe Morrissey in the hotseat before heading back to jail