CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After a scandal and some time spent in jail, Joe Morrissey won his Democratic Primary for a state Senate seat in Virginia on Tuesday. He beat the Petersburg incumbent, Rosalyn Dance.

Political analyst Larry Sabato says he's really not surprised Morrissey won the primary, adding that many people in the 16th District sympathize with the controversial candidate.

Morrissey is a former attorney and was disbarred in 2003. he has a past that includes contempt citations, unprofessional conduct in court, and a number of other issues.

In 2014, Morrissey was charged and later convicted for indecent liberties with a minor and other sex crimes after being found in his home with a 17-year-old girl, who he later married. Morrissey has a background in Virginia politics, previously serving as a delegate. 

Sabato says this has been a tough year for Virginia and this win puts its politics in the spotlight.

"I think a lot of voters in that district identify with him," Sabato said. "He's been downtrodden, the system has been after him, he served time in jail, so I guess it helped him. Those things used to hurt candidates, but we live in a different era - an era of very low standards."

Sabato previously taught Morrissey at the University of Virginia and says he has a lot of energy. He added that Morrissey is the anti-establishment candidate and in the end, that's what won over the voters.