Governor Northam digs himself further into hole in new interview

Kurtis-Blow

Fairfax, 39, insisted earlier this week that his encounter with a woman who has accused him of forcing himself on her sexually at a hotel in Boston 14 years ago was entirely consensual.

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax meanwhile has been denying claims of sexual assault and rape.

The top three Democrats in Virginia's state government are now dealing with various scandals - Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring both admitted to having worn blackface in the 1980s. A follow-up statement from Watson's legal representative released Friday pushed back on Fairfax's denial and claimed that Watson had been raped before the alleged assault by Fairfax.

This comes days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of sexual assault at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where they both worked.

The Democrat defended his vow to stay in office despite widespread calls for his resignation. A picture of a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit on Northam's yearbook page surfaced last week, while Herring said Wednesday that he dressed in blackface in college. But he made no public comments upon arriving in Chilhowie, four hours west of the tumult in Richmond. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of NY, and Elizabeth Warren of MA.

"If these accusations are determined to be true, I don't think he's going to have any other option but to resign", Northam said.

Senior Democrats have already called on him to resign, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tim Kaine and Elizabeth Warren. The entire Virginia Democratic Party has collapsed within the span of a week.

The lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said her team had statements from ex-classmates who said Watson "immediately" told friends Fairfax raped her.

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Northam, 59, said he wants to spend the remaining three years of his term trying to ensure that black Virginians have the same opportunities as whites.

The upheaval began with the revelation last Friday that Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook page contained a racist photo, followed by his acknowledgment of, and apology for, masquerading in blackface that year as pop star Michael Jackson.

Northam's approval rating has dropped to 43 percent, the lowest rating of any Virginia governor in a WaPo poll since 1997.

The third Democrat Sabato is referring to is Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who this week also admitted to wearing blackface while at UVA in the 1980s.

Rep. Don Beyer told CBS he's also sticking by his call for Northam to resign, noting that almost 40 percent of black Virginians said in a new Washington Post poll he should leave the governor's mansion.

Republicans, including Trump, have predicted the scandal plaguing Virginia's top Democratic officials will give them the opportunity to make political gains in a state that's increasingly voted for Democrats in recent elections.

Democrats are also despondent about what the scandals have done to their chances of flipping control of the General Assembly. Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chances of winning GOP-held seats, but cost them several currently held by Democrats.

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