Morrissey won’t challenge Marsh for state Senate seat

A premiere intraparty struggle for a heavily Democratic Richmond-area Senate seat is not to be.

Del. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), who had been openly weighing a challenge to civil rights legend Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond), told reporters Monday that he will not run for the Senate and will instead seek reelection to the House of Delegates.

Morrissey said he had polling that showed he’d be in good position to beat Marsh. But he said he had decided the Democratic party couldn’t afford a bitter internal struggle, as it seeks to hold a narrow majority in the state Senate.

“The question was not whether this was a race I could have won,” he said. “But rather the question was the divisiveness that would be caused among the party if I ran.”

Morrissey said his decision was unaffected by publicity in the Richmond area over his quest to get his revoked law license reinstated--a Virginia bar panel recently voted against granting him the license and he is appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court.

“It had no affect whatsoever,” he said.

The only incumbent state senator now facing a primary challenge is Sen. Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City), who is being challenged by tea party candidate Mark Frechette.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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