The Richmond Crusade for Voters on Tuesday night voted to endorse Joe Morrissey, a former commonwealth’s attorney and state delegate, in his bid to become the city's mayor.
The Crusade is a predominantly African-American and Democratic-leaning organization that turns 60 this year. At Tuesday’s meeting, about 35 members cast individual ballots after rejecting a slate of endorsements for all local races that the organization’s research committee had assembled. Morrissey received more than half of the votes in the final tally.
“We are ecstatic,” says Debbie Repp, Morrissey’s campaign manager. “It just reflects Joe’s strength in this community.”
Marty Jewell, a former Richmond City Council representative and member of the Crusade since 1978, says Morrissey is the candidate best suited to improve the city’s economy.
“Richmond, from the turn of the century to the mid-'50s, was called the Black Wall Street of the South. We had economic infrastructure. We had businesses galore,” Jewell says. “Our business base is flat like a pancake. Joe Morrissey is the only one who can address that, or even gives a damn to try. The rest of them don’t give a damn to try.”
The organization is the first to publicly endorse Morrissey in the eight-candidate race. A couple of his opponents — former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney and former Venture Richmond executive Jack Berry — have each received several endorsements from other organizations or prominent individuals around the city.
The Crusade also backed candidates in Richmond's city council and school board races. In doing so, it spurned several incumbents, including longtime 3rd District councilman Chris Hilbert, 5th District councilman Parker Agelasto, 1st District School Board representative Dawson Boyer and 6th District School Board representative Shonda Harris-Muhammed.
The complete list of council and school board endorsements is below.
Richmond City Council
1st: Harry Warner Jr.
2nd: Charlie Diradour
3rd: Milondra Coleman
4th: Johnny Walker
5th: Garrett Sawyer
6th: Ellen Robertson (incumbent)
7th: Cynthia Newbille (incumbent)
8th: Reva Trammell (incumbent)
9th: Michael Jones
Richmond School Board
1st: Liz Doerr
2nd: Mariah White
3rd: Jeff Bourne (incumbent)
4th: Sean M. Smith
5th: Mamie Taylor (incumbent)
6th: Felicia Cosby
7th: Nadine Marsh-Carter
8th: Dawn Page
9th: No endorsement