Kavanaugh Hearing Attorneys Clash Again In Virginia Lt. Governor Case

Blanche Robertson
February 8, 2019

Within the space of a few days, Northam and Herring admitted to wearing blackface when they were younger, while Fairfax was accused of a sexual assault by a woman named Vanessa Tyson.

Among those who called for Northam's resignation was Mark Herring, Virginia's attorney general who condemned the photo as "indefensible", "profoundly offensive" and "shocking and deeply disappointing".

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Both Democrats and Republicans condemned the images emerging in Virginia this week, but the scandal was an unwelcome blow to Democratic Party leaders in a swing state that will play a key role in the 2020 White House race and where the Democrats have been gaining ground, helped by growing strength with women and minorities.

"With tremendous anguish, I am now sharing this information about my experience and setting the record straight", Tyson said in a statement.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Norment, 72, attributed the emergence of the yearbook to "those wanting to engulf Republican leaders in the current situations involving the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General". She says she walked him back to his hotel room one night where "consensual kissing quickly turned into a sexual assault". First and foremost among the questions they raise: How could he possibly have admitted to something as damning as appearing in the photo if he was certain he wasn't one of the people in it?

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The 57-year-old Herring came clean after rumours about the existence of a blackface photo of him began circulating at the Capitol.

If all three top Democrats in the line of succession are unable to hold the governor's job, that could result in Democrats losing the Governor's Mansion altogether. President Trump referred to Northam's interview during his State of the Union speech, where he bashed the embattled governor for stating "he would execute a baby after birth".

Tyson alleges she met Fairfax when they were both working at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.

Many House and Senate Democrats, as well as Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, have all called on Northam to resign, but party leadership has remained mostly silent on the assault claim against Fairfax. At the presser, Northam denied being either of the men in the photo, but did admit to putting shoe polish on his face and moonwalking in order to impersonate Michael Jackson in a dance contest that same year.

"For me the scariest part is, and this has been said in the black community for decades, what happened this past week was things that we know exist came to the surface", said Francesca Leigh-Davis, who co-hosts the RVA Dirt local politics radio show in Richmond. Kirk Cox, 61, the Republican speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, is No. 3 in line to succeed the governor. But he added: "This conduct is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the almost 40 years since".

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