RICHMOND, Va. — Joe Morrissey (I – Henrico) left Henrico Jail East Wednesday morning and was sworn-in as delegate for the 74th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Morrissey, who resigned from the same seat prior to being sentenced to six months in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, won Tuesday’s night’s special election against a Democrat and a Republican.
“How unlikely would it be that somebody in my circumstances…wins an election when all the people are against him and they go negative? Maybe the message for the rest of the Commonwealth is, you can actually win a race by being positive,” Morrissey said after he learned he won the special election.
Morrissey, 57, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge last month to avoid a possible felony conviction after an alleged sexual relationship with his underage secretary caught the attention of her father, and soon enough, law enforcement. A nude photo of the young woman was found on Morrissey’s cell phone, and she is now also pregnant, though the young woman has not confirmed the identity of the baby’s father.
The House of Delegates is now considering measures to censure or bar Morrissey from serving in the legislature.
"I’ll address that…you know, it’s like a wrestling tournament, you wrestle one match at a time,” Morrissey said when asked the possibility of a censure.
Despite Morrissey’s Democratic and Republican opponents’ best efforts, voters were apparently unfazed by the allegations and Morrissey’s jail sentence, most already aware of their representative’s record.
Morrissey was able to campaign by day and spend his nights behind bars thank to the jail’s work-release program, which allows inmates to spend 12 hours a day working out of jail and will also reduce Morrissey’s six-month sentence to 90 days.
This is a developing story.
The CNN Wire contributed to this report.