Last week, a photo surfaced from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's yearbook page that shows one man in blackface and another in a Klan hood and robes. Several Democrats and Republicans within the state and around the country called for his resignation, which would give the lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, the seat. Politicians from Hillary Clinton to Chuck Schumer were calling for his resignation. After Northam refused to resign, more pressure was put on him to give the seat up to his second in command.
But a few days later, the whole scandal got a little bit more chaotic. The lieutenant governor was accused of committing sexual assault back in 2004 against a California woman. The accuser, Vanessa Tyson, claims that she was assaulted at the Democratic National Convention by Fairfax when he was a campaign staffer. Tyson has hired the same law firm that represented Christin Blasey Ford during the hearings of then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Fairfax claims that he knew of the allegations back when he was sworn into office as Virginia's lieutenant governor. The attorney general of Virginia, Mark Herring, seemed to be sitting pretty as several speculated that he would take over the governorship.
Not so fast. Herring came out with the shocking news that he too wore blackface back in the 1980s. Herring was one of the critics of Northam saying he should resign immediately for wearing blackface. He put out a long statement about how he dressed up as a rapper for a party when he was a student at the University of Virginia. Herring appeared more remorseful than Northam in his statement. If all three of them resign, the next person to move into the governor's mansion would be Kirk Cox, Virginia's speaker of the House. Cox is a conservative Republican that would completely flip the Democrats rule.
Just when it seemed we knew about all the scandals, another came to light.
Today, the Virginia Senate majority leader came out with his own blackface scandal. Tommy Norment, the fourth high-level Virginia politician said he too was in a yearbook filled with racial slurs and photos of his classmates in blackface. The 1968 yearbook from the Virginia Military Institue featured several offensive slurs and photos. Norment declined to talk about the yearbook and said, "The only thing I'm talking about today is the budget."
Virginia politics are basically in chaos right now — for both parties, but the Democrats have more at stake. The state now has garnered national attention for some pretty negative stuff. In what was a shining moment that a Democratic governor was elected to succeed another Democrat, all came tumbling down last week. Democrats were hoping that Virginia was now in their corner for future elections, but this might have made it a little tougher for them to win statewide.