Poll shows Virginia lawmaker jailed in sex scandal leading mayor's race

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Joe Morrissey Comes Clean About Fathering Teenage Staffer's Child

Aug 30 (Reuters) - A former Virginia politician who was jailed over a sex scandal involving a teenage girl leads a crowded field running for mayor of the state's capital city, a poll showed on Tuesday.

Joe Morrissey, 58, holds a commanding lead in the Richmond mayor's race with 28 percent of the vote city-wide, according to the Christopher Newport University poll. The poll showed him about 12 points ahead of the nearest of his seven competitors.

Morrissey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in December 2014 for his relationship with a receptionist who began working in his office when she was 17. He is now married to the woman and they have two children.

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Disgraced Virginia lawmaker - Joe Morrissey
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Disgraced Virginia lawmaker - Joe Morrissey
Virginia State Delegate Joe Morrissey has been indicted on four felony counts. The charges were related to an allegedly forged document used in his recent trial regarding an inappropriate relationship with a teenager.
Newly elected Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Charles City, answers reporters questions during a recess of the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Morrissey was elected as an Independent after legal troubles led him to resign his seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Newly elected Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Charles City, left, recites the Pledge of Allegiance during the start of the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Morrissey was elected as an Independent after legal troubles led him to resign his seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey I-Henrico, walks out of the House chambers after the session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Morrissey resigned his House of Delegates seat after prosecutors accused him of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. While serving a six-month jail term for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he ran as an independent in a special election Tuesday and reclaimed his seat.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey, I-Henrico, looks over the calendar during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Morrissey resigned his House of Delegates seat after prosecutors accused him of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. While serving a six-month jail term for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he ran as an independent in a special election Tuesday and reclaimed his seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, leaves the Henrico County Regional Jail East where he in incarcerated, on work release, in Barhamsville, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Morrissey resigned his House of Delegates seat after prosecutors accused him of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. While serving a six-month jail term for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he ran as an independent in a special election and reclaimed his seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 photo, Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, watches the proceedings during the House of Delegates session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Morrissey, elected while jailed for a sex scandal, say voters rewarded him for his responsiveness to their concerns and ability to relate to their legal and economic struggles. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 photo, Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, left, watches the proceedings during the House of Delegates session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Morrissey, elected while jailed for a sex scandal, say voters rewarded him for his responsiveness to their concerns and ability to relate to their legal and economic struggles. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 photo, Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, top, watches the proceedings during the House of Delegates session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Morrissey, elected while jailed for a sex scandal, say voters rewarded him for his responsiveness to their concerns and ability to relate to their legal and economic struggles. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey D-Henrico, gets into his car as he leaves the Henrico County Regional Jail East where he in incarcerated on work release in Barhamsville, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. Morrissey resigned his House of Delegates seat after prosecutors accused him of having sex with a 17-year-old girl. While serving a six-month jail term for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, he ran as an independent in a special election Tuesday and reclaimed his seat.(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Newly elected Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Charles City, left, takes his seat prior to the start of the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015. Morrissey was elected as an Independent after legal troubles led him to resign his seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del, Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, catches his daughter Kennedy, 1, prior to the House session at the state Capitol in Richmond, Va., Saturday, March 8, 2014. Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly are due to adjourn their regular session Saturday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, left, holds papers as Del. John O'Bannon, R-Henrico, listens during debate on a bill that would end the state mandate for girls to receive the HPV vaccine during House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, gestures in his office at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, June 6, 2011. Morrissey, who had considered running for the Senate seat of Sen. Henry Marsh, will seek reelection to the 7th district House seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, gestures in his office at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, June 6, 2011. Morrissey, who had considered running for the Senate seat of Sen. Henry Marsh, will seek reelection to the 7th district House seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, gestures in his office at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, June 6, 2011. Morrissey, who had considered running for the Senate seat of Sen. Henry Marsh, will seek reelection to the 7th district House seat. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico, left, and Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, second from right, listen to remarks by the speaker along with the family of US Air Force Tech Sgt. Phillip Myers, father, Eddie Myers, right, uncle Lavoy Myers, second from left and wife, Judy Myers during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. The House honored Sgt. Myers who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, gestures during a debate on death penalty bills during the House session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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Morrissey, who was first elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2007, was sentenced to six months in jail and resigned from office. He switched from Democrat to run as an independent in the special election to fill his seat.

During a three-month stay in an area jail, Morrissey commuted to the state legislature on work release and also ran his re-election campaign.

Morrissey stunned political pundits when he won in January 2015 while serving his jail sentence. He gave up his most recent bid to serve in the state Senate last September, citing health problems.

The poll was based on 600 live interviews with registered voters Aug. 18 through- 24 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Morrissey also had his license to practice law revoked by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board in 2003. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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