RICHMOND, Va. -- The Democratic Party of Virginia is taking legal action against Richmond Mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey over a sample campaign ballot mailed to Richmond residents.
The Democratic Party sample ballot suggests Morrissey is the party’s pick for mayor, the party alleged.
On the ballot, Morrissey is listed alongside presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and congressional candidate Donald McEachin as the party's nominee.
The Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA), the Richmond City Democratic Committee (RCDC), and Levar Stoney's campaign said the distributed advertisement failed to inform voters who paid for the advertisement and falsely implied that the Morrissey campaign has been endorsed by the Richmond City Democratic Committee.
The party said they have filed a complaint with the Virginia State Board of Elections and sent a cease and desist letter to Joe Morrissey’s campaign.
"The Morrissey campaign is engaged in a flagrant and intentionally misleading violation of campaign regulations," Rebecca Slutzky, executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement. “Morrissey does not have the endorsement of the Democratic Party of Virginia or the Richmond City Democratic Committee, and we are requesting that he cease these activities immediately."
Richmond City Democratic Committee has endorsed Levar Stoney for Richmond mayor.
Morrissey responded to the lawsuit Thursday night, telling CBS 6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald, he never claimed he was endorsed by the Richmond City Committee.
He went on to say, he was the only Democrat in the mayoral race to hold elective office for 12 years, and that the state party should stop complaining and "put their big boy pants on."
Donald McEachin, who was also included on the sample campaign ballot, released a statement that read in part:
"No one should infer from this mailer, which has no legal disclaimer whatsoever, that I support Joe Morrissey for mayor. I do not."