The Democratic nominee for Virginia’s gubernatorial race this year is facing renewed questions about fundraising for a lawmaker who served time in prison for underage sex.
Virginia Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe, 64, attended an event in 2019 at the home of then-candidate for the Virginia state Senate Joe Morrissey, 63, four years after the state lawmaker pleaded guilty to having sexual relations with his then-17-year-old part-time receptionist.
“I’m here for Joe. This is an important race for us,” McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, said at the time. “This is an important year for the Democrats. This will be, folks, the first time in 26 years that we will be able to control the House, the Senate, and the governor’s mansion.”
Morrissey’s sexual relations with the underage staffer, who is now his wife, resulted in a misdemeanor charge and several days in prison while he served as a state delegate in 2015.
At the time of the conviction, McAuliffe called for Morrissey’s resignation. However, the former governor seemingly flipped his position years later when he campaigned on Morrissey’s behalf.
“What I love about Joe is that he will fight for you,” McAuliffe said at the 2019 event. “And the people most in need is the one he will fight for, and that’s what I respect about Joe Morrissey.”
“We’re going to win this, and guess what,” he added. “We’re going to raise the minimum wage, we’re going to get commonsense gun restrictions overnight, we are going to make Virginia a new state.”
Morrissey was elected on Nov. 5, 2019, and continues to represent Virginia’s 16th District in the state Senate.
The state senator told the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday that McAuliffe only called for him to resign because it was ”politically expedient.”
The convenience of the call-to-resign-turned-endorsement was similarly noted by former Democratic Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, who pointed out that McAuliffe was glad to accept the endorsement of current Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam after he called on him to resign over his blackface scandal in 2019.
“This has been a heartbreaking day. Ralph Northam is my friend and he served well as my Lt. Governor and as Governor. His actions on display in this photo were racist, unacceptable, and inexcusable at any age and any time,” McAuliffe tweeted in February 2019, as dozens of state and national lawmakers pressured Northam to resign. “The situation that he has put himself and the Commonwealth of Virginia in is untenable. It’s time for Ralph to step down, and for the Commonwealth to move forward.”
Two years later, McAuliffe accepted Northam’s endorsement.
“The longer-term impacts of this pandemic, however, will be around long after I leave office, and it’s critical that our next governor has the plans and experience to continue the fight to rebuild Virginia into a stronger, more equitable future. That’s why I am so proud to support Terry McAuliffe to be our next governor,” Northam said in April 2021.
“Let’s all get behind him. Let’s keep Virginia blue, and let’s win in November,” Northam added.
Northam is not seeking reelection as Virginia law prevents a governor from serving consecutive terms.
The Washington Examiner contacted the McAuliffe campaign for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Lawrence Richard