The first question was about a candidate who wasn’t in the room.
At Friday night’s mayoral debate at Binford Middle School, moderator Heather Sullivan of NBC12 began by asking the three candidates on hand — Jon Baliles, Jack Berry and Levar Stoney — about the latest developments surrounding Joe Morrissey.
“To me, that just has to end,” Stoney said, citing Morrissey’s three bribery indictments as commonwealth’s attorney — he was acquitted — and the international publicity surrounding his controversial bid for mayor.
“Those are the sort of instances the city does not need,” Stoney said. “And I think far too long, his professional misconduct has held not only his constituents back, but also held this city back. And as the next mayor of this city, I will ensure that I will be a mayor that the children of this city can be proud of, and also the citizens.”
Berry, in response to the question, lamented “a pattern of personal behavior that is unacceptable of anyone, much less a candidate for mayor of Richmond.”
“Just imagine if he were mayor, he would never be able to recruit and track great employees,” Berry said. “Imagine if he were mayor, the counties would just roll down the shades for four years and wouldn’t want to have anything to do with working with the city of Richmond. ... It’s just incredibly disappointing that this keeps happening, and I think it could happen in the future.”
Said Baliles: “I’ll just say we do need a mayor we can trust to be there for four years, to show up every day and to not be in the newspaper.”
Sullivan noted that Morrissey and City Council President Michelle Mosby had withdrawn from the event within the previous 24 hours.
Morrissey’s wife, Myrna, made a brief appearance at Binford. But she left before the start of the debate, which was sponsored by the Fan District Association and Museum District Association.