For those who are incredulous that Morrissey won, you can blame the local Democratic party.
Just about everyone (except the voters of the 74th, apparently) seems to agree that Joe Morrissey is a horrible human being, a terrible legislator, a criminal, and in no way deserving of having the title “Honorable” in front of his name. So how did he get elected again? Well, you can blame the local Democratic party.
First, they have allowed the shenanigans of Morrissey go on this long. The Democrats allowed Morrissey to be a part of their caucus despite his decades of indiscretions. The Democrats allowed him to maintain such a level of credibility that he remained a power-broker in Richmond area politics even while under indictment. But most importantly, when the time finally came to oust him from the party… they allowed him to regain his seat as an independent. How? They ran this guy in the 74th district:
Yes… a yuppie Llama farmer from out of the area with almost no ties to the community. And how does he ingratiate himself to the insular, urban, minority-majority 74th district? Let us look at his website:
“My wife, Cathy and I have been residents of Charles City County for just over seven years. We have two daughters, Audrey and Catherine, who are grown and on their own.
I am a blue collar guy, who punched a clock and carried lunch in a bag for 33 years at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Williamsburg. I am now retired, and currently am the manager of our small farm near Charles City Courthouse.
I have been a lifetime Democrat since stuffing mailboxes for George McGovern in 1972. I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Charles City Democratic Party, the Political Coordinator for Teamsters Joint Council 83, Labor Liason for Attorney-General Mark Herring, and President of the Charles City Ruritan.”
So his pitch is that he lived in Williamsburg, got a nice retirement, and is bored raising llamas? That is supposed to connect with the inner-city 74th? But – he’s the former Political Coordinator for Teamsters Joint Council 83, Labor Liaison for Attorney-General Mark Herring, and President of the Charles City Ruritan. That counts for something, right? Yes he is a Teamster who has helped get Democrats elected with union money and muscle… but Joe has hung on as one of two white legislators from majority-minority districts in Virginia because he is anti-establishment, fight-the-power, flashy, showboat who makes his constituency feel like they are represented by someone who gets them. You know… the opposite of a yuppie lama farmer.
But surely, this was the best that the Democrats could come up with on short notice, right? Nope, just the one who has contributed the most to Democrats over the years… Who might have beaten Morrissey? There were two local candidates who also sought the nomination. The Honorable Floyd H. Miles, Sr., Chairman, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission – well liked and well connected in the 74th. School board member Lamont Bagby also sought the seat, and again is well liked and popular in the 74th district. Incidentally, both Mr. Miles and Mr. Bagby are African-American natives of the 74th district who understand the people and the culture of the district. I’m not saying that only a black candidate could win, Joe Morrissey himself proves that. So why weren’t they chosen as candidates?
Surely Mr. Miles and Mr. Bagby had every opportunity to be the nominee, right? Well, less than one-hundred Democrat party leaders were allowed to participate in the firehouse primary that made Sullivan the nominee, so I suppose only those chosen few know. Maybe it was because Mr. Miles and Mr. Bagby didn’t stuff mailboxes for George McGovern in 1972, and maybe that’s what counts in the Democratic Party. Perhaps because Mr. Miles and Mr. Bagby are not Llama-raising yuppies from Williamsburg… Or maybe being a Teamster political director who has been lining the pockets of elected Democrats for years while he “carried his lunch in a bag” buys you the influence needed to fix a primary? Either way, the local Democratic Party apparently went out of their way to make sure that Mr. Sullivan was the nominee – and that the results were shown at the polls when the actual residents of the 74th got to show what they thought about our favorite Llama farmer.
So when our first Delegate to be elected while residing in jail is sworn in this morning – don’t blame anyone but the Democratic Party. The people who made it so Delegate Morrissey would be elected from the jail-house.
Author’s note: In full disclosure, those may be alpacas… I can’t tell the difference.