Man jailed in sex case leads race for Richmond Mayor

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney and House of Delegates member Joe Morrissey leads the crowd of eight candidates for Richmond’s next mayor.

According to a recent survey conducted by Christopher Newport University, Morrissey leads with 28 percent of the city-wide vote, followed by former Venture Richmond Executive Director Jack Berry with 16 percent of the vote.

Below are the results of a survey of 600 registered Richmond city voters conducted August 18-24 by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

morrissey poll

While the city-wide totals give an indication of the candidates’ overall standings, Richmond election rules require the winner to receive the most votes in at least five of the nine city council districts.

If no candidate achieves that mark on November 8, the two candidates receiving the highest vote totals city-wide will continue into a runoff election to be held December 20.

The survey also revealed Richmond voters are just slightly more optimistic than pessimistic about the city, with 46 percent saying it’s moving in the right direction versus 44 percent saying it is moving in the wrong direction.

richmond direction

“Joe Morrissey is a terrific campaigner. He won an election while he was in jail. He can win elections,” said 8News political analyst Richard Meagher.

Meagher says Morrissey has a strong network of support and is well known, but thinks the numbers may say more about the lack of recognition among his opponents.

“The fact that Morrissey is so far ahead in this poll is less about Morrissey as a candidate and more about the inability of any other candidate to really break through to Richmond voters,” Meagher said.

Back in June former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney had raised far more than any other candidate with over $300 thousand, but Stoney sits in 5th place with just sevent percent of the support of voters.

“For whatever reason, that hasn’t translated into voters understanding who he is or even knowing who he is,” Meagher said.

Second on the list in both fundraising and in the new poll is the former executive director of Venture Richmond, Jack Berry, who tweeted Tuesday that it’s now a two-person race. Meagher says Berry has a chance if he can prevent Morrissey from winning the required five of nine districts needed to avoid a runoff

“There are a lot of people who like Joe Morrissey and a lot of people who don’t like him, so if you can get to that number two spot and get to a runoff you have a very good chance of winning the race,” said Meagher.
Though Meagher says the race is far from over with so many undecided voters.

“We’re talking 40, 50 percent of the electorate hasn’t made up their mind, that could swing a race,” Meagher said.

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