Virginia’s upheaval in the past ten days leaves the positions of the top three office holders of the state in question. Now Democrats scramble to prepare for the backlash.
Last week, Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general were slammed by scandals that have elected officials on both sides of the aisle calling for resignations.
On the heels of the emergence of an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook photo showing Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA) either in a Klu Klux Klan uniform or donning blackface with an afro wig, two women have come forward accusing Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D-VA) of sexual assault.
Somewhere between Northam’s racist regalia claims and Fairfax’s confrontation of rape complaints, Attorney General Mark R. Herring released a statement of apology for wearing blackface at 19 when he costumed himself in the 1980s as Kurtis Blow.
Since racist allegations, Northam’s polls plummeted, but he refuses to step down. Reversing his statements, he now says “It wasn’t me” in the photo, yet he does not name the persons posing in the historically southern racist aesthetic. Aides of Governor Ralph Northam have recommended that he read Alex Haley’s, “Roots,” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ journalism piece, “A Case for Reparations,” as the beginning of racial sensitivity training.
Impeachment looming for Fairfax
As for Fairfax, he might be fighting impeachment. Shortly after Northam’s controversies, a right-wing website published allegations from a California professor who claims Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex on him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Responding to sexual assault accusations against him, Fairfax said that his relationship was consensual.
In a talk with press, he remarked, “At the moment, when people see what’s going on in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They see our politics in a little bit of a flux, in a very serious situation that’s going on and they think that there’s a possibility that I will be elevated to the governorship, its at that point, they come out with the attacks and the smears.”
Last Thursday, another accuser came forward. Meredith Watson said that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University. Fairfax has denied both charges. Since then a growing number of elected officials have asked him to voluntarily vacate his position. Senators Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand called for his resignation.
The multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling. They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 8, 2019
My statement below on Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax: pic.twitter.com/chu4oSdnbh
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 8, 2019
These credible and troubling allegations from Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson make it clear that Lt. Gov Fairfax should resign. My heart goes out to these brave women and their families.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) February 8, 2019
Democrats fight to hold the power
With the three most powerful Virginia elected officials facing removal from office, a Republican sits fourth in line. House of Delegates, Kirk Cox (R-VA) could assume governorship.
Donald Trump chimed in via his preferred medium, Twitter with enthusiasm that Virginia will swing back into the hands of Republicans
Democrats at the top are killing the Great State of Virginia. If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken. Virginia will come back HOME Republican) in 2020!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2019
Attorney General Herring remains quiet on affairs after his public omission.
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