Fairfax County’s top prosecutor unveiled a slate of endorsements from elected officials Tuesday as he seeks to beat back a challenger in the June Democratic primary.
Raymond F. Morrogh, 61, received the support of seven Virginia state senators whose districts cover parts of Fairfax County. The endorsements come the week after Morrogh’s opponent, Steve Descano, attacked his allegiance to the party’s principles as the race heats up.
“Ray Morrogh is a hard-working, outstanding prosecutor, protecting our low-crime community and helping offenders turn their lives around,” state Sen. George L. Barker (D) said in a statement.
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D) credited Morrogh with keeping “our streets safe,” while state Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D) endorsed Morrogh’s efforts to take less harsh approaches toward offenders by diverting drug addicts and the mentally ill into treatment and pushing to raise the threshold for felonies.
Descano, a former federal prosecutor, highlighted comments by Morrogh in a 2005 trial in which he sought to have a potential juror dismissed because his wife was on the Democratic National Committee. Morrogh, who was a deputy prosecutor at the time, told a judge that the Democratic Party’s policies on criminal justice were “left-handed.”
Morrogh’s campaign manager, Kyle Shivers, said that Morrogh has been a reliable Democrat since the 1980s and that the previous commonwealth’s attorney under whom he had served had a policy of sometimes rejecting potential jurors over their political affiliations. Shivers said Morrogh did away with the practice when he was elected top prosecutor in 2007.
Morrogh’s campaign has accused Descano’s team of issuing misleading statements and said Descano does not have the experience to be the top prosecutor.
In January, Descano announced the endorsement of former governorTerry McAuliffe (D). Descano said he will take more progressive stances than Morrogh on criminal justice policy.
“Steve Descano . . . understands the values of our community and has the experience to be the type of truly progressive leader Fairfax County needs now more than ever,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
On Sunday, Descano won a straw poll sponsored by Fairfax County Democrats, garnering 391 votes to Morrogh’s 141. The primary is slated for June 11.