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Morrissey Could Be Key Abortion Vote If Senate Flips

Candidate Joe Morrissey speaks at VPM’s candidate forum.
Candidate Joe Morrissey speaks at VPM’s candidate forum. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

*VPM intern Patrick Larsen reported this story.

Democrats are increasingly confident that they’ll flip the state Senate this November. But former Democratic Delegate Joe Morrissey, who’s running for the 16th District Senate seat, could be a key vote on abortion legislation if their margins are thin.

Morrissey, who was raised Catholic, has faced criticism for opposing Democrat-sponsored abortion bills in the past. But Morrissey has pointed to Senator Tim Kaine as an example of an accepted pro-life Democrat.

“I am personally opposed to abortion, but I don’t think the government should be telling women what to do,” said Morrissey at a VPM candidate forum on Tuesday.

If Democrats win slim control of the Senate, Morrissey could cast deciding votes on a number of issues.

Morrisey’s opponent, Independent Waylin Ross, told the audience in Petersburg that he’s pro-choice.

“It doesn’t need a long and complicated answer,” said Ross. “I’m pro-choice and women’s rights.”

Morrissey upset incumbent Rosalyn Dance in the June primary in spite of 2014 charges stemming from his affair with his receptionist, who was 17 years-old at the time. Morrissey ultimately took a plea deal for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, served a three-month work-release sentence, and married his former receptionist.