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State Capitol Controversy: Things get worse for Virginia Democrats

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Ralph Northam (C) links arms with Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring at an election night rally November 7, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Democrats didn’t think things could get any worse. Yesterday, they did. Mark Herring, the state’s Democratic attorney general, admitted he appeared in blackface at a college party in 1980.

Then Vanessa Tyson, the woman who accused Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her, put out a long and compelling statement describing the alleged 2004 attack. Fairfax once again denied her claims. The day’s events were a double dose of chaos for state Dems still reeling from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s admission that he wore blackface in the ’80s and from fallout over a racist photo on Northam’s medical school yearbook page.

Northam says he won’t resign.

Virginia Democrats, who had spent years trying to turn the state more solidly blue, fear the GOP will use this trio of scandals to chip away at Democratic gains. There’s also the possibility that if Northam, Fairfax and Herring were all to resign, the state would be led by a Republican. Kirk Cox, the GOP speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, would be next in line to take over.

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