I was on WRIC-8 tonight at 6pm, talking with Mark Tenia about -- who else? -- Joe Morrissey. Fightin' Joe is running for VA State Senate in the 16th! WRIC has the story here, with video link here. Just to recap (and since the video seems un-embeddable):
- Morrissey gives up his hard-won House seat for an uncertain future. He has to face a court date in April for his role in supposedly forging documents in his earlier court issues, although the case against him might be unraveling. And he said today that we would address his relationship with his then-underage receptionist in a few weeks.
- But assuming he can weather those storms - and at this point, I wouldn't bet against him. Morrissey is running against incumbent Rosalyn Dance and Delegate Joe Preston, both of whom are based in Petersburg. Since this district runs from Petersburg all the way to the south side of Richmond, Morrissey might be able to count on a strong Richmond vote presence countering a split vote in Petersburg - giving him the seat.
- Finally, Morrissey can count on his appeal to African American voters. The WRIC broadcast quoted me saying that voters see Morrissey's struggles as him getting a raw deal from uncaring authorities, but I was really saying that about African-Americans in his district. We don't have good data on this, but the anecdotal story is that black Richmonders see him as someone facing similar struggles to them.
The bottom line: Dance is the front-runner, with the party's backing; she's already lined up endorsements from the state's top three Democrats, including the Governor. But the one thing we've learned this past year in Virginia is to never count out the underdog - especially if his name is Joe Morrissey.