Gayle King checks Governor Northam, when he tries to pretty up slavery

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Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax meanwhile has been denying claims of sexual assault and rape. All 140 legislative seats will be up for grabs in November and Democrats had previously been hopeful that voter antipathy toward President Donald Trump would help them cement Virginia's status as a blue state.

Despite the statewide chaos in Virginia, Northam is refusing to resign.

In an email sent to his House Democratic colleagues, he said that he planned to file a resolution first thing Monday morning that lists the reasons he believes that Fairfax's conduct warrants removal from office.

Northam also offered forgiveness for Herring, who after disclosing that he darkened his face when dressing up like rapper Kurtis Blow in college has largely avoided the blizzard of calls for his resignation that have dogged Fairfax and Northam.

Del. Patrick Hope promised Friday to initiate impeachment articles if Fairfax didn't resign by Monday.

Hope followed that tweet with two more saying he believed the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault, but that "we owe it to all parties involved- especially the victims- to make sure that we have thought through every option the General Assembly has".

According to excerpts of the interview provided on Sunday by CBS, Northam was asked about allegations of sexual crimes, including rape, that have been made by two women against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, a fellow Democrat and the state's second-highest elected official.

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Northam's assertion defies the condemnations issued recently by prominent Virginian politicians on both sides of the aisle - many of whom have also called on Fairfax, who is black, to step down for very different reasons.

There is also a clear divide along party lines, with 57 percent of Democrats in the state still backing the governor. "There's no better person to do that than a doctor", said Northam. "That's why I'm not going anywhere".

"Well again, we have worked very hard, we've had a good first year, and I'm a leader. I've been in some very difficult situations, life-and-death situations..."

He originally apologized for the photo that showed an individual in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, then the next day denied he was either person. With the top three Democrats all facing backlash, analysts have pointed out that under the Virginia constitution, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would be fourth in line to take over as governor if all of them were forced to resign.

Northam has been in seclusion all week, using tunnels to shuttle between the mansion and the nearby building where he has an office. "If these accusations are determined to be true, I don't think he's going to have any other option but to resign". And majority did not know enough about Fairfax's response to the allegations to feel strongly about it. "I said that's not me either", Northam, a Democrat, said. Northam may try to appoint a Democrat, while Republicans could mount a legal challenge with the goal of getting Senate Pro Tem Steve Newman to serve as both a voting senator and temporary lieutenant governor.

Both men, who are white, have admitted to wearing a blackface while they were in college.

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