Virginia Governor Vows He Won't Resign, to Focus on Race Equity


Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly to them: If all three Democrats resigned, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor. In a statement a spokesperson provided to NPR, Fairfax wrote that "in both situations I knew at the time, and I know today, that the interactions were consensual".

He said Tyson told him oral sex in particular brought back painful memories of her childhood trauma.

But Friday's accusation sparked a round of calls for his resignation, and even the threat of impeachment.

The state's attorney general, Mark Herring, also has admitted to donning blackface in the past. That possibility has tested Democrats' resolve to show zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and racial bigotry.

Nor has the scandal left Virginia Republicans unscathed.

Northam spent the week in seclusion after a racist picture on the personal page of his medical school yearbook was discovered.

The embattled governor, who is one year into his four-year term, affirmed to staffers on Friday that he would not resign.

"You have placed your trust in me to lead Virginia forward - and I plan to do that", Northam said.

Mr Fairfax, 39, said in a statement to U.S. media: "I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation".

Fairfax, who is black, has denied both claims and called them a "co-ordinated smear campaign".

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"Fairfax "can no longer fulfill his duties", the Democratic caucuses of both the state House and Senate said in a statement late Friday".

One Virginia state legislator, Democrat Patrick Hope, said he's planning to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax if he doesn't resign.

The new woman, Meredith Watson, put out a statement through an attorney. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Mr. Fairfax then used this prior assault against Ms. Watson, as he explained to her during the only encounter she had with him after the rape. Initially, Fairfax's strategy was to aggressively refute the first allegation against him, speaking with reporters twice on the day it broke.

"Ms. Watson shared her account of the rape with friends in a series of emails and Facebook messages that are now in our possession".

Additionally, the firm said it has statements from former classmates corroborating that Watson had immediately told friends about the alleged rape.

She said "Mr Fairfax's attack was premeditated and aggressive" and the details "are similar to those described by Dr Vanessa Tyson".

Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two USA senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Fairfax, a 39-year-old Democrat, won election in November alongside Northam, who has been fighting for his political survival since a 1984 yearbook surfaced that features a racist photo on a page dedicated to him. Although the costumes obscure the individuals' identities, the image appears in a spread of photos all depicting Northam.

In an apparent effort at mending fences with Virginia's African-American population, Northam on Friday met privately with the president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, John Boyd Jr., in Richmond, the state capital.

Carliss Chatman, a Washington & Lee Law School professor who graduated from Duke in 2001, said she has remained friends with Fairfax and hosted a political fundraiser for him.