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Bad-boy Morrissey channels his fight into advocacy

By Bob Lewis

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, June 12 2011 8:00 a.m. MDT

** ADVANCE FOR MONDAY JUNE 13 ** In this Thursday, June 9, 2011 photo, Del. Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico, prepares to speak on the floor of the Virginia House of Delegates at the State Capitol in Richmond, Va.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown)., Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

RICHMOND, Va. — For 10 years, Joe Morrissey has struggled to transform his brawling-lawyer image into that of an in-your-face but nonviolent legislator.

The two-term delegate from Henrico chose last week not to challenge fellow Democrat Henry Marsh, a veteran of Virginia's civil right struggle, in a primary for his Senate seat. The old Morrissey, he said, would have come out "guns blazing."

Now, it's Morrissey's rhetoric alone that packs a punch. The House's most outspoken and argumentative Democrat, he seeking re-election to his suburban Richmond seat this year.

But the Virginia Bar hasn't forgotten his rough and rowdy past. The disbarred ex-prosecutor's bid to regain his law license has been rejected. Now he's asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider.

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