Former Commonwealth Attorney Robert Horan’s chief deputy, Democrat Ray F. Morrogh, 50, handily won election on Nov. 6 beating his Republican challenger by more than 20,000 votes.
"I want to thank my mentor and hero Bob Horan for 40 years of public service," said Morrogh in declaring victory at the Democratic celebration at the McLean Hilton in Tysons Corner on Tuesday night.
Morrogh received 103,321 votes or 55.96 percent of the 184,618 votes cast, according to Virginia voting records.
His Republican challenger, Patrick McDade got 81,014 votes or 43.88 percent.
Horan stepped down this year and backed Morrogh to replace him. Morrogh, who has been a prosecutor in Horan’s office for 24 years, had garnered his own reputation for handling major cases and he was endorsed by virtually every prosecutor and most police agencies in Northern Virginia.
Morrogh on Tuesday night also acknowledged another political mentor, Gerry Connolly: "Connolly was indispensable to me this year. Thank you."
For Morrogh, the shift he said in an interview "from prosecutor to politician" has not been easy. "I feel we ran a good clean campaign. I feel very good about it," he said.
McDade, a young assistant prosecutor in Arlington, said in an interview that he told his staff Sunday evening that "we ran a campaign with integrity and honesty. We never did anything we can regret."
McDade was one of a handful of Republican candidates who gathered at the Fair Oaks Marriott as election returns came in.
Morrogh voted with his wife at Clifton Elementary School at 11 a.m. and ended the day at the Democratic Party’s gala at the Hilton Hotel in Tysons.
During the campaign Morrogh said his "passion" to protect children from abuse will be one of his main priorities. A room in the new Fairfax Circuit courthouse will be equipped with children’s furniture, games and other equipment to help children victims as they face testifying.
Though he was a lifelong admirer of Horan, he said he now plans to place his mark on the Commonwealth Attorneys office. McDade has said the office has too few prosecutors and though Morrogh did not agree it needed as many as McDade suggested said he has already hired several more.
Morrogh said he is "open to change" and has sought advice from a range of people in the law enforcement field and county government. He also faces some ticklish personnel issues. One of Horan’s assistants agreed to let a man convicted of violent rape and sodomy get a 16 month sentence. An aide was convicted of changing records to help a man avoid losing his driver’s license. In third case, the family of a murder victim is suing in civil court claiming Horan did not properly prosecute the matter.
According to the Oct. 29 financial reports, Morrogh raised $205,027 in the campaign. McDade raised $64,087.24.