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Scandals Drive Calls for Top Virginia Leadership to Resign

11 February 2019

She turned and asked, 'Why did you do it?' Mr. Fairfax answered: "I knew that because of what happened to you past year, you'd be too afraid to say anything".

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam called Black Americans who were forcefully enslaved "indentured servants" and Gayle King had to correct him.

With the top three Democrats all facing backlash, analysts have pointed out that under the Virginia constitution, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would be fourth in line to take over as governor if all of them were forced to resign. A follow-up statement from Watson's legal representative released Friday pushed back on Fairfax's denial and claimed that Watson had been raped before the alleged assault by Fairfax.

Earlier in the week, Vanessa Tyson, a professor of political science at Scripps College, came forward with an allegation that Justin Fairfax had sexually assaulted her in 2004, while they were at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

During his seclusion this week, in which he used tunnels to shuttle between the mansion and his office in a building nearby, Northam said he had "painful" conversations with black lawmakers who continue to call for his resignation. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of NY, and Elizabeth Warren of MA. Because it doesn't. To the contrary, every time Northam talks to a reporter, there's a serious risk - if not likelihood - that he'll say something false, absurd, assinine, tone-deaf, clueless and/or racially insensitive (at the minimum).

In a statement emailed to Heavy late Saturday night, attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks say that their client Dr. Vanessa Tyson is "fully prepared to testify at impeachment proceedings and to cooperate with law enforcement in any investigation".

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The dean of Virginia's Democratic congressional delegation requested immediate investigations of the women's allegations against Fairfax.

Fairfax has denied both allegations and on Saturday asked that "no one rush to judgment".

"I will not resign", Fairfax said in a statement.

Their accusations followed the emergence of a racist photo on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's page of the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

If Fairfax were to leave, there's no consensus on who could replace him.

The tumult in Virginia began February 1, with the discovery of the photo on Northam's yearbook profile page.

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But a day later he denied being in the photograph at all, while admitting to wearing blackface to imitate Michael Jackson at a dance contest.

As the crisis widened in the middle of the week, Democratic leaders and black members of the Virginia legislature appeared willing to give both Fairfax and Herring the benefit of the doubt for the time being - in Herring's case, because he apologized personally for wearing blackface.

It's been a pretty bad couple of weeks for Democrats in Virginia.

Democrats are also despondent about what the scandals have done to their chances of flipping control of the General Assembly.

The comments come after a week of turmoil in the commonwealth that one opinion poll shows has residents evenly split over the best course of action for Virginia's top elected officials, and as President Donald Trump and other Republicans weigh in as well. Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chances of winning GOP-held seats, but cost them several currently held by Democrats.

The Bonfire of the Virginia Democratic Party, in GIFs
Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of having Sen. He then completely shut out the press, ran from reporters as he left his office and did not answer any questions.

Scandals Drive Calls for Top Virginia Leadership to Resign