RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) – Virginia Democrats pressured Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax to resign on Monday over accusations of sexual assault which he denies, but held off on pursuing impeachment, with the Republican speaker of the state House urging restraint.
Fairfax is one of three top Democrats in the state engulfed by scandal this month. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have also faced criticism after admitting to having worn blackface in the 1980s.
Patrick - Hope - Member - State - House
Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the state’s House of Delegates, said he believed Fairfax should have resigned already after two women accused him of sexual assault but added he would not move immediately on his weekend call for impeachment proceedings.
The accusations of racist behavior or sexual assault targeting the three men have rattled party leadership in a swing state that likely will play a pivotal role in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Event - Men - Governorship - Republican - Speaker
In the unlikely event that all three men were to step down, the governorship would pass to the Republican speaker of the state house. That would be a stunning reversal in a state where Democrats have been gaining power in the last few election years.
Party leaders in the state and across the nation have called for Northam and Fairfax to resign over the accusations against them. They have been more forgiving toward Herring, largely because he came forward on his own to admit having performed in blackface at a 1980 college party, rather than waiting for someone else to accuse him.
Northam - Herring - Fairfax
Northam and Herring are white; Fairfax is black.
Hope, the white Democratic lawmaker who had called for Fairfax’s impeachment, renewed his call for the lieutenant governor to resign while saying he was discussing whether impeachment was the best solution.
Fairfax - Senate - Virginia
“Fairfax should have already resigned. It is atrocious that he will be presiding over the Senate of Virginia...
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