Abrams Doesn’t Call On Embattled Virginia Democrats to Resign

Cheryl Sanders
February 8, 2019

"To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent", Tyson said.

Yesterday it was revealed that Mark Herring, the state attorney-general, had also darkened his face as a university student to emulate a rap star.

Many House and Senate Democrats, as well as Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, have all called on Northam to resign, but party leadership has remained mostly silent on the assault claim against Fairfax.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement Thursday night saying that a sexual assault allegation against Fairfax must be "thoroughly investigated".

"On the night of Friday, February 1, 2019, I read multiple news accounts indicating that Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax would likely be elevated to Governor as an immediate result of a scandal involving Governor Ralph Northam".

Fairfax has issued a statement and denied the allegation to reporters, calling them "surprising and hurtful", according to NPR. But in his statement, he said nothing about the existence of a photo. Fairfax would become Virginia's second black governor if Northam stepped down. Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School, declined to comment to The Chronicle when asked for her reaction to the allegation and whether the Board planned to take any action in response.

Of course, at this writing Northam is still governor, having refused to resign despite mounting calls for him to do so from his own party.

Instead, the day after Northam's blackface revelation, female academic Vanessa Tyson publicly accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004.

The improbable scenario of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general all forced by scandal to resign has raised the prospect of the Democrats losing the governorship to a Republican - Kirk Cox, who as speaker of the House of Delegates is third in the line of succession under the state's constitution.

Democrats in Virginia have expressed fear the crises could jeopardize their chances of taking control of the GOP-dominated legislature this year after big gains in 2017. Northam's personal page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook included a photo with two people - one man in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

Up to now, the Democrats nationally have taken an aggressive stand against misconduct in their ranks, in part so that they can criticize Trump's behavior without being accused of hypocrisy.

Republican Del. David Yancey was tied with Democrat Shelly Simonds after all votes were counted in the 2017 Virginia election.

But then rumours began circulating of another controversial photo, and this time it was Herring who was said to been in "blackface". He said it was no longer possible for Northam to lead the state.

Norment in a statement said that he was one of seven people who worked on the yearbook and that he did not appear in or take photos showing people in blackface. "That conduct clearly shows that, as a young man, I had a callous and inexcusable lack of awareness and insensitivity to the pain my behavior could inflict on others", wrote Herring.

But he also said: "This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the almost 40 years since".

Other reports by iNewsToday