Morris won’t seek re-election

Published 9:57 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Delegate Richard “Rick” Lee Morris (R-64) announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in November.

Morris, who faces two felony and two misdemeanor charges associated with alleged instances of child cruelty and assault and battery of a family member, stated in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he is leaving to take care of his three youngest children.

Morris said he’s been the chief caregiver of those three children, and to pursue re-election would take “dedicated time away,” which he’s not willing to surrender.

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“The past six months has been a personal struggle as I’ve vigorously fought false allegations against me, and I greatly appreciate the support and prayers I’ve received,” he stated in a letter to The Tidewater News on Tuesday.

“Over the last 4 ½ months, I’ve been the primary care provider for my three smallest children ages 2, 4 and 5. While at the General Assembly in Richmond, it has been a challenge to give them the attention they deserve, and my commitment to them is greater than no other.”

In the letter, Morris quickly addressed the issue of his personal life erupting into public view when he was arrested last fall on charges of abusing two family members, one of which was a child.

Morris had been charged in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court at the time with 14 counts of various crimes, stemming from the alleged abuse of his wife and an adolescent child in the home. All but one of those charges, however, were dismissed in a December hearing in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, from which the media were barred.

A special prosecutor then secured direct indictments on three new charges.

Morris has been public in his pronouncements of his innocence, and he maintains the allegations and prosecution have political undertones. He maintains that his name will be cleared in court this spring.

“I am supremely confident that these false allegations will be dismissed in May,” he wrote in Tuesday’s press release. “However, to seek re-election to this office will take dedicated time away from my children that I am not willing to further sacrifice. As they are my primary consideration, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the House of Delegates, but will instead spend that valuable time on our small farm with my children.”

Four candidates already have announced their intention to run for Morris’ seat: John Wandling and Jerry Cantrell will seek the Democratic nomination; and Rex Alphin and Emily Brewer will face each other in the Republican primary in June.