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Virginia governor now believes he was not in racist yearbook photo

03 February 2019

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for governor, delivers remarks before introducing former U.S. President Barack Obama to speak at a rally with supporters in Richmond, Virginia, U.S. October 19, 2017.

"We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign", they wrote. "The Governor of Virginia should step aside so the public can heal and move forward together".

Northam is insisting he'll be able to weather the political storm, issuing a statement Friday apologizing for appearing in a "clearly racist and offensive" costume.

"I believe now and then that I am not either of the people in this photo", Northam said, denying that he had ever worn a KKK robe and hood or been drunk enough to forget a moment like this. It is because my memory of that episode is so vivid that I truly do not believe I am in the picture in my yearbook.

Jack Wilson, the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said: "Racism has no place in Virginia".

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That official, who relayed to The Associated Press what the pair discussed, has not been identified, but quoted Northam as reiterating that he has no immediate plans to resign.

Jackson added, "If the mainstream media had spent as much time investigating Northam as they did investigating me, this information would have been discovered and the outcome of the lt. governor race might have been different".

Shortly after Northam apologized, the civil rights group NAACP called on Northam to resign, its president Derrick Johnson tweeted that "black face in any manner is always racist and never okay". "No matter the party affiliation, we cannot stand for such behavior, which is why the NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam".

Northam also said in his apology that his behavior back then does not reflect who he is today and the values for which he has fought throughout his "career in the military, in medicine, and in public service".

I have worked closely with Ralph Northam over many years. Just last week, Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel, a Republican, resigned in disgrace after photos of him mocking Hurricane Katrina survivors by wearing blackface and drag in 2005 were posted online.

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Shortly after Northam's announcement, Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez released a statement asking him to resign.

Del. LaMont Bagby, a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus told CNN Saturday that during their meeting with Northam Friday night, that the governor could not recall when the racist photo was taken that appeared in his medical school yearbook.

Ralph Northam said Wednesday that while he has darkened his skin before to imitate a black man, he doesn't think he is in the photo that appears on his 1984 medical school yearbook page showing someone in blackface and another person in a KKK costume.

We'll know if Northam has to go when Kaine and Warner tell him it's time, so watch the pressure that other Democrats put on those two former VA governors to muscle up their positions. "But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians' faith in that commitment", Northam said.

"The Governor must now listen to the people and communities he has hurt, and carefully consider what comes next", Warner said in a statement provided to NBC News.

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Murphy in an interview on MSNBC said "with a heavy heart" that he doesn't see any other choice for his fellow Democrat.

Virginia governor now believes he was not in racist yearbook photo