Last updated on April 3rd, 2019
Recently, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Gov. Ralph Northam, and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax – top three Democrats of Virginia faced – twisted questions about their past behavior, which threatened their careers. The revelations left the state in a position of dilemma.
Northam, whose name appeared in a scandal in February 2019, has now started making public appearances. He asked the Virginians for forgiveness and said he understood that not all the citizens of the state would believe him.
In his apology to the Virginians, Ralph Northam often contradicted his own statements. He took responsibility by confessing that he wore a blackface in a dance contest and at the same time rejected the claims of taking a racist photo on his Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page. When asked why he was called as a “conman” on his yearbook page at the Virginia Military Institute, he answered that he was given the nickname by two cadets, who were a year older than he was, and he was unaware of “their motives or intent”.
Likewise, Herring began his own public apology and admitted that he once wore a blackface in the year 1980. However, Fairfax vehemently denied the allegations of sexual assault made by two women. Despite the continuous allegations, the three democrats do not intend to resign.
Ross Garber, a lawyer who has represented several governors under threat of impeachment, stated his views on the situation. He said, “Politicians certainly can survive difficult circumstances.” Amidst the entire hurdle, the democratic lawmakers, who earlier called Ralph Northam to resign, are once again making public appearances with him.
Recently, Ralph Northam resumed his routine activities as the governor and did several unusual public events. He even staged a news conference to propose hands-free cell phone usage in cars —with a study to ensure that minorities are not unfairly targeted by law enforcement. At another public event, he also pressed for ending the suspension of driver’s licenses over unpaid court fees, which had always been a priority for the Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus. The members of the Black Caucus, who previously wanted Northam to step down from his position, now remain satisfied with his work.
Before the scandal, Attorney General Herring intended to run for the post of the governor in 2021 elections and thus, made a few public appearances wherein he was questioned for his role in the scandal.
In addition, the situation of Fairfax, the third alleged democrat in the scandal, remains questionable. The victim, Meredith Watson, said that Fairfax assaulted her while they were students at the Duke University in 2000. Another victim, Vanessa Tyson, said that Fairfax assaulted her during the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. However, Fairfax denied both the claims and said that the sexual encounters were consensual.
It seems as Ralph Northam tries to restore his name through his political influence, the way forward for the other two leaders remains unclear.