Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is still taking heat. Northam has been facing repeated calls to resign after a racist photo was revealed to be on his yearbooks page from his days at Eastern Virginia Medical School. The photo was from 1984. In the picture, two people are wearing racist costumes; one is in full Klan gear while the other is wearing blackface. What got Northam in even deeper trouble was that he apologized and admitted to being in the photo, but then retracted the apology and said that it wasn’t him. At the same time, he did admit to earing blackface for a dancing competition, where he dressed as Michael Jackson. You just can’t make this up.
Then, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, another Democrat, was slapped with a sexual assault allegation. Fairfax, who was in line to succeed Northam if he resigned, accused the Northam camp of leaking the allegation to the press, an allegation that The Washington Post knew about but didn’t run because they couldn’t corroborate the story. Fairfax’s accuser has hired the law firm that represented Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who first came forward with sexual abuse allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. That allegation also was shoddy and uncorroborated. Fairfax has hired the law firm that assisted Brett Kavanaugh. It’s a total mess.
Now, with state Attorney General Mark Herring admitting to wearing blackface, the entire Virginia governing leadership is in a crisis, and the Virginia Democratic Party has totally collapsed in the span of a week. No one can resign. That would mean a Republican takes over. With the reports of backstabbing, Northam has reportedly reached out to Fairfax and Herring today (via WaPo):
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) reached out to Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) on Thursday as all three men weather scandals and calls for resignation.
Northam, facing scrutiny for his ties to a racist photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook, spoke by phone with Fairfax to say he was thinking about him and his family as the lieutenant governor denies sexual assault allegations, according to someone close to Northam.
The governor also tried to reach Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D), who on Wednesday revealed that he darkened his face to dress as a rap singer during a college party in 1980, when he was 19.
While Northam and Herring had not yet spoken by midday, the person said, the governor’s wife - first lady Pam Northam - has sent encouraging text messages to the wives of both other men.
Northam and Herring have stayed out of the public eye this week, while Fairfax has had to appear on the dais of the state Senate as part of his responsibilities. But on Wednesday, after the woman who accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 released details of the episode, Fairfax slipped out of public view once the Senate finished business for the day.
The furor over his fellow Democrats fed Northam’s impulse to stay put for now, according to two people familiar with his thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
These men have destroyed their state party. My fear about Maryland-style anti-gun legislation passing in the near future is now in the toss-up column. Northam’s polling has dropped tremendously, except with Democrats who still hold at 50 percent approval, but his numbers with independents are in the toilet. With Northam running as common sense, anti-racist candidate, this whole fiasco is politically untenable. Still, he’s staying, as I expect Fairfax and Herring. You can’t have an accused rapist assume the governorship. The party and the government are still in a scandal. The fish rots at the head, and this case sure has its cast of rotten characters. Northam has been adamant that he will remain. I’m sure the other two men feel the same. They’ve turned this state into a circus. They probably should go, but they won’t.
Virginia Democrats are demonstrating that their number one principle is retaining power. Not eliminating racism, not protecting women. All they care about is keeping power. So they can do things like kill newborn babies in the delivery room. https://t.co/2Ve8dU68tm— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 7, 2019