Political crisis in Virginia spreads to both parties

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2019

"I know this, these are men who have tried to do the right thing in their professional lives but I think they have to grapple with their private and personal decisions", she said, referring also to sexual assault allegations against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

Speaking on CNN's "New Day", the California Democrat stressed the importance of believing the alleged victims of sexual assault. What do you think of this? "And it is incumbent on us to believe the women - 92 to 97 percent of women of those who come forward are telling the truth". The delegation - consisting of the state's two USA senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and seven US representatives - repeated its call for Northam to resign, and said the allegations against Fairfax "need to be taken very seriously", though it stopped short of demanding a formal investigation.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused by a woman of sexual assault - an allegation he denies, saying it had been a "100 per cent consensual" encounter.

Asked Thursday whether Ms. Tyson deserved the same recognition, the congresswoman answered, "I do".

Mr Herring - who has been among those calling on Mr Northam to resign - said he was "deeply, deeply sorry for the pain that I cause with this revelation".

With Virginia's three top state officials, all of them Democrats, caught in political scandal, the commonwealth's next governor could possibly be a Republican - if those three Democrats are forced from office.

Complicating the matter are scandals now confronting two people in line to take Virginia's governorship if Northam resigns. They moved close to capturing a majority in the state House of Delegates in 2017, and picked up three U.S. House of Representatives seats from Republicans past year.

"Democrats have not learned the wrong lessons from Trump, and I'm glad about that. Given his false assertions, I'm compelled to make clear what happened", she wrote.

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Northam has come under pressure from almost the entire Democratic establishment to resign after the discovery of a photo on his yearbook profile page of someone in blackface standing next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

"This has been a complete debacle", said Virginia-based Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett, who said the early surge of Democratic calls for Northam's resignation were made out of confidence that a Democrat would replace him.

But the party's presidential candidates began addressing the incident after Tyson released her statement. Republican House majority leader Todd Gilbert said it would be "reckless" to comment.

Trump, who has batted away a series of scandals involving himself and members of his administration, predicted the turmoil would help flip Virginia back to voting Republican in the 2020 elections.

Herring's admission came after a meeting with the Virginia legislative black caucus, and before any unfortunate photos were dug up. But in his statement, he said nothing about the existence of a photo.

However, Jerry Falwell Jr., the Christian conservative who leads Liberty University, sought to contrast the current crisis with the state's historical values by blaming voters in the state's Democratic-leaning D.C. suburbs.

They do not want to force Northam out of office only to conclude a few days or weeks later that they want Fairfax to also resign.

"He said he was very sorry", Lucas said.

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