Home 2015 elections Special Election for Joe Morrissey’s House Seat: Live Blog

Special Election for Joe Morrissey’s House Seat: Live Blog


(How did Joe Morrissey win last night? I have a few thoughts here. – promoted by lowkell)

I’ll provide whatever updates I see regarding today’s special election in Virginia’s 74th House of Delegates district (currently held by Joe Morrissey) in this diary. Feel free to add anything you’re seeing/hearing in the comments section. Thanks.

UPDATE 8:24 pm: Final results are Morrissey 2,840 (42.26%) – Sullivan 2,243 (33.37%), Walton 1,622 (24.13%).

UPDATE 8:20 pm: @AmyEGardner tweets, “Morrissey wins Charles City County. It’s over. Walton 282; Sullivan 343; Morrissey 474; write-in 10.” My god. Tomorrow is going to be, uh, interesting in the Virginia House of Delegates!

UPDATE 8:04 pm: With 29/33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey 2,366 (42%)-Sullivan 1,900 (34%)-Walton 1,340 (24%).

UPDATE 8:02 pm: Melissa J. Hipolit tweets, “It’s past curfew and still no sign of #JoeMorrissey at the jail.”

UPDATE 8:01 pm: @JoeStGeorge tweets, “Major reason this is so close? Voters I talked to said they never heard of the Democratic candidate Kevin Sullivan.” Right, never heard of him before this.

UPDATE 7:53 pm: @JoeStGeorge tweets, “Morrissey has seven minutes to get back to Henrico jail…..@MelissaCBS6 is he back there yet?”

UPDATE 7:49 pm: @JoeStGeorge tweets, “Speaking with Morrissey supporters today….they simply don’t believe the criticism…many say they have been wronged by the system too.”

UPDATE 7:40 pm: With 28 of 33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey 2,267 (42%)-Sullivan 1,846 (34%)-Walton 1,296 (24%).

UPDATE 7:40 pm: With 26 of 33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey 2,095 (42%)-Sullivan 1,723 (34%)-Walton 1,227 (24%). Doesn’t look like Sullivan can pull this off, sad to say. If not, is the next step expulsion? Then what?

UPDATE 7:35 pm: With 20 of 33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey 1,641 (44.5%)-Sullivan 1,223 (33.2%)-Walton 819 (22.2%).

UPDATE 7:31 pm: With 14 of 33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey 1,114 (49.2%)-Sullivan 855 (37.8%)-Walton 292 (12.9%). Ugh.

UPDATE 7:27 pm: With 7 of 33 precincts reporting, it’s Morrissey (I) 499, Sullivan (D) 293, Walton (R) 103. Uh oh.

UPDATE 7:24 pm: Still waiting for the first results…cue Jeopardy music.

UPDATE 7:03 pm: Melissa J. Hipolit tweets, “If #joemorrissey wins, this is where he would have his ‘victory party.'” (followed by image of his jail- ouch!)

UPDATE 6:50 pm: Melissa J. Hipolit tweets, “Just visited #joemorrissey’s cell in the special housing unit at Henrico East jail. @CBS6 #VA74 Heard a lot of ‘Vote for Joe’ from inmates.” LOL

UPDATE 6:40 pm: @PostRoz (Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post) tweets, “Just 20 minutes before polls close in Va. Del. Joe Morrissey special election. And 1 hr 20 min before Joe returns to jail for the night.” Hahaha.

UPDATE 6:32 pm: Markus Schmidt of the RTD tweets, “Turnout in #VA74 special elex remains high, might break the 5,000 mark before polls close at 7pm.”

UPDATE 6:02 pm: CBS6 journalist Joe St. George tweets, “I asked Joe Morrissey this afternoon if he felt confident he told me ‘I do.'”

UPDATE 6:00 pm: WTVR CBS 6 investigative reporter Melissa J. Hipolit tweets, “Covering special election for Joe #Morrissey’s seat. So far, roughly 3,000 voters have cast ballots. That’s 7% turnout…Morrissey is currently out campaigning, but is required to be back in jail at 8 pm. Polls close @ 7”

  • NotJohnSMosby

    I guess the expectations bar in the Richmond area is set pretty low.

    A great tabline – “polls close at 7:00 PM, Morrissey due back at jail at 8:00 PM.  I guess there will be no supporters’ party for him tonight.

  • FreeDem

    Would this have happened if the Democrats had picked a more open nominating process that didn’t seem like they were trying to force Morrissey out?

  • “Joe Morrissey chose to run as an Independent; he is not a member of the Democratic Party, nor is he a member of the House Democratic Caucus. His conviction and actions over the past two months were reprehensible, and we will be exploring every avenue in regard to his status as a member of the House of Delegates,” said Leader Toscano and Caucus Chair Surovell.

  • OuttaTowner

    This should be funnnnnnnn.

  • pvogel

    Blame the  incredable    stupidity and  evilness  of the voters  in the 74th.  I wouldnt  be surprised if the GOP  hadnt mobilized  to get a  few  dozen  votes   out

  • I’d cite a few key factors.

    1.  Many voters in the district felt like they knew Joe (many have known him for years, like him and feel loyal to him).

    2.  Many voters in the district felt (correctly) like they did not know the Dem nominee, Kevin Sullivan.

    3.  Sullivan had very little time to get known, given the short time frame of the election, also the fact that part of it was over the holidays. As reporter Joe St. George tweeted last night, “Major reason this is so close? Voters I talked to said they never heard of the Democratic candidate Kevin Sullivan.”

    4.  Many have argued (and I tend to agree) that the way the Dems chose their nominee was seriously flawed, as it sharply restricted the # of voters who could participate (to fewer than 100; I believe only 40 or so showed up), meaning that the winner (Kevin Sullivan) got a miniscule # of votes (I believe he won 24-16), and was not seen as a popularly-chosen nominee, also never had to get out and campaign widely until after the “firehouse primary.”

    5.  As reporter Joe St. George tweeted last night, “Speaking with Morrissey supporters today….they simply don’t believe the criticism…many say they have been wronged by the system too.”  I’ve heard this theme over and over again, that many in the African American community feel screwed over by the system (I’d argue rightly so, to a large extent!) and identify with Joe Morrissey for fighting back.

    6. The young woman who Joe Morrissey had a sexual relationship with strongly defended Joe, as did her mother.

    Add all that up, and you end up with a Joe Morrissey victory, although it’s worth noting that 58% of voters DID end up voting against him.

  • The election of Delegate Joe Morrissey is an embarrassment to his constituents and to Virginia. Here’s hoping Speaker Howell can find a way to oust him from the legislature.

  • Some truth to this, some bluster, some utter bull***; also love the a**-kissing of Speaker Bill Howell, who I’m sure Paul knows holds the keys to whether or not his friend and law partner, Joe Morrissey, is/is not expelled from the HoD.

    Morrissey win keys: Quick election, positive message, Sullivan campaign blunders

    by Paul Goldman

    Having done this long enough, anyone who thinks Morrissey’s win isn’t amazing – aligned against the full weight of the DEM party establishment, the prosecutorial forces [by the way, there were Henrico police in Georgia serving search warrants last night] and the rest – doesn’t know a lot about politics. It is unprecedented for a very simple reason: it hasn’t been done before much less contemplated.

    The candidate’s campaign skills are always the key to his or her win. But any underdog – and Joe was an underdog – needs other stuff to.  

    To win the election, the following had to happen and did:

    (1) The fastest possible election date. Having the Special Election on January 13th is one of the keys to Morrissey having any chance of winning. In a race like this, Morrissey, having  basically 100% name ID among the likely voter universe, essentially peaks on the day he announces for the position. His resignation letter was submitted on December 18 in accordance with the election being set for January 13th. This effectively cut in half the time for his opponents to campaign given the reality of the holiday season.

    Thus Sullivan had basically a 12 day window from January 2-13 to campaign to take advantage of his advantage in political muscle, overall resources counting party help and of the other powerful forces aligned to help him [like you really think a police “raid” on Morrissey’s law office is not what Yogi Berra called something “too coincidental to be a coincidence”?]. This is not to suggest any coordination or anything but the rather the obvious: powerful forces moving behind the scenes to defeat Morrissey and anyone who didn’t figure that into their strategy calculations would be naive.

    Thus, Jan. 13th would be key and in played a huge role in several ways which I think readers familiar with politics will know without me pointing out the obvious.

    As it turned out, January 13th always figured to be the date of the Special Election because Speaker Howell is a very decent guy, the best Speaker in modern times except perhaps for Mr. Philpott, and he would make sure the 74th had representation when the GA convened on January 14th. So he and Paul Nardo, another super guy, could be counted upon to do the right thing.

    And they did. But this Jan. 13th was crucial.

    (2) The decision to run a purely positive campaign despite the temptations to hit back at so much misleading and outrageous stuff, was a second key. It was always the right decision. The last purely positive underdog campaign despite all the attacks was in Wilder’s LG campaign in 1985 which also included an unprecedented prosecutorial event – the convening of a grand jury to try and kill off  Wilder disguised as an investigation into his property.

    Ever hear of that before? Didn’t think so. Never happened before 1985 or since 1985 until the police raid on Morrissey’s law office last Monday, the afternoon before the election in time for the nightly news and the Tues. papers. In that regard, I credit the RTD and others for having very fair headlines on their stories making the point that it seemed rather curious timing [and as it will soon be revealed, rather a bogus claim of some criminal activity on the part of Morrissey’s legal team. But like I say, the police were in Georgia yesterday so this part of the story can wait].

    But the strategy of staying positive wisely didn’t succumb to all these attacks. In that regard, credit the high command of Morrissey able on-the-ground campaign team in staying the course and respecting the voters at all time.  They did excellent based on my experience. They were up against the most experienced team the Democratic Party has:  and beat them with a candidate who was barred from campaigning!

    Morrissey showed a lot of tough campaign discipline in the campaign. It isn’t easy to stay positive when you are being hit by some of the slimmest campaign tactics I have ever seen.

    But they did. Anyone who thinks just any candidate could handle it has simply never been in a tough political campaign. I didn’t know if Joe could do it. But he proved a brilliant campaigner for someone who couldn’t actually campaign on the stump!

    3) Let’s stop listening to the silly talk on the Sullivan side: He was the favorite if you know anything about politics.

    Indeed, if you do the election math, Sullivan should win with a 6000+ turnout.

    Truth is; He couldn’t even carry Charles City. I used the 2007 DEM primary turnout to guide my voter stuff, not the Special Election turnouts over the years.

    This was actually a DEM primary but it included a Republican who couldn’t win but could get the votes of GOP residents.

    The big turnout benefited the Sullivan campaign.

    But they made a series of serious campaign blunders too numerous to list really.

    The biggest of course: they failed to give their guy a positive image, they relied way too much on endorsements and they ran a campaign totally offensive to African Americans who have seen that kind of political paternalism before: and always rejected it.

    Joe respected the voters and appealed to their intelligence and character: the Sullivan campaign did the opposite, for reasons which I will explain over the next few days.

    Why do Democrats treat African American voters with such disdain?

    As I said on TV when this campaign started: the people are the boss and they can tell when they are being disrespected in that regard.

    The insulting way Sullivan’s folks appealed to African American voters – the voters are overwhelmingly African American in the 74th, that is fact of political life – and in my judgment treated them with such disrespect and paternalism helped create a backlash on January 13th in my view.

    That’s one man’s opinion of course.

    But I had a good seat for this election and had a feel for what was happening in terms of the themes etc.

    Bottom line: Joe treated the voters with respect, stayed to the issues, pointed out his hard work and accepted their judgment without hesitation.

    Sullivan’s backers treated the voters with disdain, it came through loud and clear, and by the end, it had turned off voters, adding to Morrissey’s underdog total.

    It is an amazing victory really on so many levels.

    One man against the establishment in rare purity so that you get to see a lot of stuff that is clear, not hidden.

    A candidate is always the key to his or her own win or loss, never forget that. But an underdog always needs some luck and some good moves and some bad ones by the opponent.

    They were all at play in the 74th Special Election for sure. It was fun to have a good seat for the game and watch the action.

  • jwsevert

    at least, Morrissey didn’t f*ck all of us like Phil Puckett did.

    On the brightish side, Paul Goldman gets to shout at us for another 20 years (luv ya, Paul).