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Joe Morrissey goes after Jack Berry in final mayoral forum

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Voters honked and waved to Joe Morrissey in Richmond’s fifth district Thursday evening as he worked to combat a new sexting scandal involving explicit text messages he sent to a former client.

“When the story initially came out it's going to make an impact, and then when people read into it, and saw other stories develop our numbers picked right back up again,” Morrissey said.

Joe Morrissey

Joe Morrissey

CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit talked to Morrissey as he campaigned at Broad Rock and Midlothian and asked him for a response to people telling her that “they're concerned about texts involving panties and shaving inappropriate parts.”

“You might find it inappropriate,” Morrissey responded.

“Some might not?” Hipolit asked.

“When you think you're communicating with someone you've known a long time ago you don't expect someone to disseminate that,” Morrissey replied.

Political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said his sense “is that a lot of people are going to find it gross and inappropriate.”

Joe Morrissey

Joe Morrissey

“Many people who may have thought Joe Morrissey acted inappropriately have given him a bit of a pass on the fact that he actually married this woman, and now you find that even when he was getting ready to marry the woman he was still carrying on with inappropriate texts that really go beyond the bounds of propriety,” Holsworth said.

Meanwhile, the man some call Morrissey’s closest competitor, Jack Berry, won a big endorsement Thursday from Richmond’s independent African-American newspaper, The Richmond Free Press.

“It's an expression of trust that they have in me as a person who can unite the community,” Berry said about the endorsement.

Dr. Holsworth called the endorsement surprising, but helpful for Berry.

“What it does is it helps him have some entrée into the African American community, particularly in those districts he needs to win, or somebody needs to win, if Joe Morrissey is going to be stopped,” Holsworth said.

The NAACP hosted the final mayoral forum of the campaign, and Morrissey used the opportunity to attack Berry, accusing him of being a Republican, not a Democrat.

Joe Morrissey and Jack Berry

Joe Morrissey and Jack Berry

“You should be proud you're a Republican, you've done a great job at it,”  Morrissey yelled at Berry.

Berry, who has strong ties to the Richmond business community, disputed the allegation.

“I'm not a Republican, I am a lifelong Democrat,” Berry said.

The other leading contender, Levar Stoney, told CBS 6 “I think it's really clear this is a three person race.”

He said the recent focus on Morrissey and Berry will not translate to a win for either of them on election day.

“Those two represent some of the same old same old we've been seeing in Richmond politics and government for some time,” Stoney said.

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