Virginia Dems call on Fairfax to resign following sexual assault allegations

The Virginia Democratic Party on Friday called on Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) to resign after two women came forward this week to accuse him of sexual assault.

“Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth," state Democrats wrote in a statement late Friday.

"He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down,” they added.

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The statement came hours after a second woman, Meredith Watson, accused Fairfax of sexual assault, claiming he raped her in 2000 when the two were students at Duke University.

A lawyer for Watson called the alleged attack “premeditated and aggressive.” 

Vanessa Tyson came forward earlier this week accusing Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Fairfax vehemently denied the allegations, claiming they were part of “a vicious and coordinated smear campaign” and vowing he would not resign.

Half a dozen Virginia lawmakers had called on Fairfax to resign by Friday afternoon, following Watson's allegation being made public.

"All survivors of sexual violence and harassment deserve to be supported and heard, and our commitment to that principle is more important than any political consideration," Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Abigail SpanbergerElaine LuriaJennifer Wexton and Gerry Connolly said in a statement calling for his ouster.

Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) issued his own call for Fairfax to step aside, tweeting, "I believe that it is best for the Commonwealth of Virginia if Justin Fairfax dealt with these accusations as a private citizen. He can no longer serve us as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia." 

Virginia's top three Democratic politicians are embroiled in deepening controversy as members of their party have issued calls for their resignation.

Gov. Ralph Northam has faced calls to resign in the week since a photo surfaced of a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe on his page in a 1984 medical school yearbook. 

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he wore blackface during a party in 1980 while in college, issuing a statement this week apologizing. Herring had called on Northam to resign over the photo.