Richmond, Virginia’s mayoral race has taken a strange turn days ahead of Election Day.
Frontrunner Joe Morrissey, an attorney and former Democratic state legislator, is on a path to victory despite being accused of sexual misconduct by one of his ex-clients.
Morrissey’s accuser, Kanika Morris, claims the attorney requested sexual favors after she paid him to defend her in a legal case. Morris also claims a legal associate of Morrissey’s entered a guilty plea on her behalf without her knowledge.
Last week, a judge agreed to allow Morris to withdraw her guilty plea because of her allegations of sexual harassment by Morrissey.
Morrissey, who is no stranger to controversy, was embroiled in another scandal three years ago when at the age of 55, he had an affair with his then 17-year-old African-American secretary, whom he later married. Prior to their marriage, Morrison pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and spent three months behind bars.
During Friday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin spoke with Jeremy Lazarus from The Richmond Free Press about the peculiar mayoral race awash with scandal.
Calling the Richmond mayor’s race “an exciting ride” for the city, Lazarus explained there are two African-American candidates running against Morrissey: Michelle Mosby, President of the City Council, and Levar Stoney, former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, chief of dispensing patronage jobs for Gov. Terry McAuliffe and involved in restoring felons’ rights.
The interesting thing about Morrissey’s run for office is the amount of African-American voter support he has received despite his improprieties and the fervor over a 2015 photo of him and his Black wife appearing in an Antebellum-themed family photo.
Lazarus told Martin the Richmond mayoral frontrunner is leading in the polls because “he is very active in the Black community.” When Morrissey was a member of the legislature, “He was one of the legislators you could go see and find real interest for issues.
“Across the spectrum of progressive issues, he’s been a major figure.”
With all the scandal and controversy surrounding Morrissey, Lazarus said, “It appears Mr. Morrissey has the lead” in four out of the nine council districts in Richmond and only needs one more to win the election.
Lazarus told Martin, “It has come down to two of the districts as to whether he will win outright or be in a run-off “ with whoever moves into second place.
Watch Roland Martin, Jeremy Lazarus, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the crazy mayoral race in Richmond, Virginia in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty