State Watch

Fairfax ‘thinking very seriously’ about run for governor in Virginia

Greg Nash

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) is reportedly considering a gubernatorial run in 2021 despite months of controversy that swirled around him and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) earlier this year.

Fairfax, who has been accused of sexual assault by two women, told reporters he is “thinking very seriously” about a 2021 gubernatorial bid, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch

He reportedly added that the scandal has raised his public profile for the better, adding that people come up to him in public to tell him they know the accusations about him are “false.”

{mosads}”Many people a year ago would not have recognized me, now they really do,” Fairfax told reporters, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “People come up to me at gas stations, they say, ‘Hey, we recognize you. We love you. We know what they are saying about you is false.’ ”

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) slammed Fairfax for suggesting the allegations raised his profile for the better.

“Just when we thought Virginia Democrats couldn’t go any lower, these disgusting statements by Justin Fairfax are proof of just how morally bankrupt Commonwealth Democrat leaders really are,” RGA spokeswoman Amelia Chassé Alcivar in a statement. “Justin Fairfax’s comments are an insult to victims everywhere, and Democrats must either roundly condemn him or expose themselves as total hypocrites.”

Shortly after Northam became embroiled in controversy over a picture of someone wearing blackface on his college yearbook page, it became apparent that Fairfax had a chance to become governor if Northam resigned.

Two accusations of assault against Fairfax became public; Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of assaulting her in Boston in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention, and Meredith Watson said Fairfax raped her when they were students at Duke University in 2000. 

Fairfax has denied the allegations, and told The Hill in a written statement that he remains focused on clearing his name. 

“While we are receiving tremendous support from the public for our political future, I am very focused right now on clearing my name and demonstrating through facts and evidence that these suspiciously-timed and politically-motivated allegations are false,” he said.  

Fairfax’s attorney Barry Pollock has suggested the assault accusations only came about because of the possibility of Fairfax replacing Northam, and has called for a criminal investigation into the allegations.

The Hill has reached out to the Democratic Party of Virginia for comment. 

— This report was updated at 11:22 a.m.

Tags Justin Fairfax Virginia Virginia politics

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