Top Va. Republican Senator Edited 1968 Yearbook With Blackface Photos, Racial Slurs

Geraldine Edwards
February 9, 2019

A woman said Friday she was raped by Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) in a "premeditated and aggressive" assault in 2000, while they both were undergraduate students at Duke University.

The stakes couldn't be higher with Democrats in the governor's mansion but Republicans still controlling the legislature: If Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring all resign, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would be in charge. The two were friends but never dated or had any romantic relationship.

Herring is one of Virginia's three top state politicians who face controversy. McAuliffe seconded the sentiment in a tweet.

Donald Trump predicted the turmoil in Virginia over racially offensive behaviour and alleged sexual assault would help flip the state back into the Republican column in 2020.

When a reporter asked Norment to talk about the yearbook Thursday, the majority leader said, "The only thing I'm talking about today is the budget".

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Northam has come under fire since Big League Politics last week surfaced the governor's page from the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, which features a photo of a person wearing blackface and a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit standing side by side.

The men are resisting calls for their resignation. He recanted a day later but admitted using blackface in the same timeframe to dress as pop icon Michael Jackson.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly: If all three Democrats resigned, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

Watson says she doesn't want any money from Fairfax - she just wants him to resign. Fairfax had previously denied the claim, saying the encounter was consensual.

His disclosure stirred an outcry across partisan lines in Virginia, a key swing state in U.S. presidential politics whose seat of government, Richmond, is in many ways still grappling with its legacy as the former capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

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Her claim comes two days after at the end of a turbulent week which began when a different woman, Vanessa Tyson, accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 when both were in Boston to attend the Democratic National Convention.

The assertion is the second sexual assault claim to be made against Fairfax this week.

By the way, as Ed noted earlier, all three of the stooges at the top of Virginia's government look likely to survive now.

The improbable scenario of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general being forced to resign en masse has raised the prospect of the Democrats losing the governorship to a Republican without an election. While Northam has denied that he is in the photo, many people across the nation have called on him to resign.

Norment went on to say he was not in any of the photos "referenced on pages 82 or 122, nor did I take any of the photos in question".

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