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Morrissey announces Senate bid as G.A. officials close his House office

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 3/26/2015, 10:51 a.m.
Joseph D. “Joe” Morrissey once again is injecting drama into staid Virginia politics. In a fresh twist to his political ...
Mr. Morrissey

Mr. Morrissey is jumping into the primary even as he prepares to defend himself against new felony charges of forgery and perjury in a trial set for late April. He said he expects “to crush the prosecution” and be acquitted of what he has said are phony charges.

Meanwhile, House Speaker William J. Howell issued a statement Wednesday disclosing that Mr. Morrissey’s office in the General Assembly building was being closed. Speaker Howell also stated he was notifying Gov. Terry McAuliffe that the 74th House District seat is vacant.

Election specialists consider it likely the governor will not call a special election as a result of difficulties created by state law, but allow the seat to be filled in the November general election.

As the Free Press reported last week, and as confirmed by paperwork he submitted this week to qualify as a candidate, Mr. Morrissey left his residence in Henrico County and moved to a Shockoe Bottom apartment to establish required residency in the Senate district.

As Speaker Howell noted, the change of address triggered a provision of the Virginia Constitution that automatically forces out of office senators and delegates who do not live within the districts they were elected to serve. Mr. Morrissey apparently is the first legislator to trigger that provision, according to House Clerk G. Paul Nardo.

Mr. Morrissey’s new residence is in the 70th House District that Delegate Delores L. McQuinn represents.