State Watch

Dem governors stand by calls for Northam to quit

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The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is maintaining that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should resign his post, three weeks after he apologized for a racist photograph that appeared on his page in his medical school yearbook.

We “stand by that” call, the head of the association said over the weekend.

In a press conference Saturday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), who leads the DGA, acknowledged what she called a “fluid” situation in Virginia, where Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) have both acknowledged appearing in blackface and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) faces two allegations of sexual assault.

{mosads}The DGA called on Northam to resign before the allegations against Fairfax and Herring came to light. If all three men were to resign, the governorship would fall to Assembly Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican.

“It’s a very, very disappointing and challenging set of circumstances in Virginia,” Raimondo said. “We felt that in light of these circumstances, it was appropriate, and stand by that.”

Northam has refused to resign, and he has denied he appeared in the photograph, which shows a man in blackface standing next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

He is set to embark on a listening tour to apologize, though his office canceled the first stop on that tour after objections from students at Virginia Union University, a historically black college. On Saturday, about 100 protesters demonstrated in Richmond, demanding Northam quit.

“We must no longer sit back and be placated,” the Rev. James R. Kelly, head of the Fauquier County NAACP, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We must no longer sit back and let someone’s party determine our support.”

Cox, the Assembly Speaker, has said his chamber is unlikely to move to impeach Northam. And Raimondo acknowledged that there is little public officials can do except maintain pressure on Northam to quit.

“At this point, it’s up to the people of Virginia,” Raimondo said.

Northam did not attend the National Governors Association meetings in Washington. Virginia’s General Assembly wrapped up their work for the year this weekend.


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