Morrissey, Berry, Stoney announce endorsements days before election

Photo by Julie Tripp
Photo by Julie Tripp
The front-runners in the mayoral race participate in the only televised debate at the Altria theatre in October. L to R: Levar Stoney, Jack Berry, Joe Morrissey, Michelle Mosby and Jon Baliles. Photo by Julie Tripp.

Former state delegate and Richmond mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey announced an endorsement from 75 “hardworking women of this city” on Thursday, less than a week after the Richmond Times-Dispatch published allegations of sexual misconduct toward a former law client.

Morrissey labeled the women’s endorsement as the “most valued” of his campaign.

“In contrast to my opponents,” Morrissey said, “I stand today with the women of Richmond, who my opponents overlooked.”

Morrissey also announced endorsements from former state NAACP director King Salim Khalfani and former City Councilman E. Martin Jewell.

Jack Berry, the runner-up to Morrissey according to a ChamberRVA poll released Oct.  15, received endorsements last week from the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board and former 5th District City Councilman Chuck Richardson, who served from 1977 to 1995 until a felony distribution of heroin conviction barred him from office.

Levar Stoney, who placed a close third in the ChamberRVA poll, announced endorsements from former Richmond mayors Henry Marsh and Rudy McCollum last Tuesday.

Marsh was the first-ever African American mayor of Richmond, and served in the General Assembly from 1992 until 2014. McCollum won the 5th District seat after Richardson in 1996.

“Levar Stoney is the only candidate,” McCollum said at a press conference, “(he) has the ability to unite our citizens, take our city to the next level and ensure a better future for our children.”

McCollum was the last council-appointed mayor in 2001, before the city adopted a mayor-at-large system where the office is decided by popular vote. McCollum ran for re-election under the new system and lost by a nearly 60-point margin to former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, who was the first African-American governor since Reconstruction.

Wilder hinted at endorsing a mayoral candidate during an Oct. 20 meeting to voice his support for 8th District Councilwoman Reva Trammell’s re-election bid.

Morrissey dismissed his opponents’ recent endorsements as being from “male politicians flaunting their government titles.”

Morrissey clarified that he didn’t presume to have support from all Richmond women — just the 75, including the six women flanking him at the press conference.

Richardson, the former 5th District councilman who endorsed Berry, held a press conference earlier in the month to denounce the Richmond Crusade for Voters’ decision to endorse Morrissey for mayor.

The Crusade, of which Richardson is a member, is the city’s oldest black voter advocacy group. The Crusade’s president told the Times-Dispatch that Morrissey secured 18 votes to Berry’s 10. Stoney received four votes and former mayoral hopeful Bruce Tyler received one. Five members did not cast ballots.

“Chuck (Richardson) is entitled to his opinion,” Morrissey told the Times-Dispatch, “but I’m very pleased to have (the Crusade’s) endorsement. I think it’s very significant when you get more votes than all the other candidates combined.”

Jim Thomma, Contributing Writer

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