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Mired in political scandal, Virginia looks to Black Caucus for leadership

09 February 2019

"There's very little that I have seen, but from what she has said I have no reason to doubt her", Ms. Speier said.

With its historic ties to 19th-century USA minstrel shows in which white performers would caricature black slaves, blackface is widely seen as racist in modern America, though it remained a trope of popular television shows and movies through the 1980s. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault, which he has denied.

Lt. Governor Fairfax has stated that the sexual encounter between him and California university professor Vanessa Tyson 15 years ago was "100 percent consensual".

Trump claims in a tweet Thursday that the response to the fallout has been politically biased, alleging that: "If the three failing pols were Republicans, far stronger action would be taken".

The spiralling political crisis in Virginia, which threatens to take out three top state Democrats with racial scandals or sexual assault accusations, poses a stiff test for a party thriving on its growing strength with women and minorities.

Tyson released a lengthy statement on Wednesday describing vividly her alleged assault by Fairfax at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

He'd likely have to move quickly: While the state constitution lets the governor appoint a new lieutenant governor, the Republican-controlled legislature could demand an election for the position be held in November, Vox reports. Ordinarily, it would mean succession passes to Attorney General Mark Herring, also a Democrat.

Kate Brown called for her Virginia counterpart to step down over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

"I think there's a rightful hesitation about removal from office because, obviously, you have to consider that to some degree you're overturning an election", the Times-Dispatch quoted Cox as saying Monday. A candid picture taken yesterday of a Democratic senator in Virginia captured the impact of the strain. The stampede became so pronounced that Herring himself called for Northam's departure on Saturday after the governor, at a press conference, admitted he'd worn blackface before but denied he was the person in the yearbook photo.

"Virginians will resolve their issues", US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the nation's top Democratic official, told reporters on Thursday.

Herring said in a statement Wednesday that he wore blackface and a wig to look like a rapper when he was a 19-year-old student at the University of Virginia.

And while the United Kingdom has grown somewhat accustomed to furores around Donald Trump and the Republican party, this time it is Democrat politicians in the spotlight.

His admission came after a conservative media website published a photo on Friday from Northam's page in his 1984 medical school yearbook showing one man wearing blackface beside another masked figure in robes of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan.

Northam, whose term runs through 2022, initially said he was in the photograph, but backtracked a day later.

Some Northam supporters are scrambling to show that the governor still has backing among members of his party.

Northamhas, however, publicly admitted to wearing blackface when he once tried to imitate Michael Jackson.

Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas said several people were crying, including men, as Herring apologized to black lawmakers Wednesday morning before issuing his public statement.

Mired in political scandal, Virginia looks to Black Caucus for leadership