ROANOKE, Va. - Uncertainty remains for top Virginia Democrats. Governor Ralph Northam is digging in, apologizing and saying he wants to move forward from his controversy over racial insensitivity.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is losing support from his inner circle as he continues to deny the sexual assault allegations against him.
There are now widespread calls for an investigation into the accusations against Fairfax, including from Fairfax himself. This comes after four of his six staffers resigned.
But Northam, on the other hand, could be gaining support. A few black leaders voiced their opinion outside the Capitol Monday saying they believe Northam is sorry for wearing blackface and should stay in office.
"I believe that the governor should be granted forgiveness," National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd said.
"We choose to use this as an opportunity to advance the cause of African Americans rather than wallow in the punitive measures of revenge," former Richmond city councilman Chuck Richardson said.
In an interview with CBS News that aired Monday, Northam said he wants to use the rest of his term to make sure black Virginians have the same opportunities as white Virginians.
That CBS News interview was the governor's first since his news conference that went viral for all the wrong reasons two weekends ago. Now, this interview is also getting bad press after the governor was corrected on his definition of slavery by the interviewer. That, on top of the Lt. Governor's staff resignations, made for another interesting day in Richmond.
10 News Political Analyst Dr. Ed Lynch dropped by the studio Monday to chat about it. The variables in the situation are changing day by day, and Lynch said that the conclusions changing just as quickly. It also leaves many Virginians scratching their heads wondering just what is going on in the Commonwealth?
Monday's sunrise shed light on a new week in Richmond, but last week's political fiasco remains this week's problems too.
"I think all Virginians are in the position and have been for the last 10 days or so of cringing when they go to their favorite Virginia news site wondering what the next revelation is going to be," Lynch said.
Lynch has followed closely including the latest developments. The governor's comments about racial equity were muddied during his interview because Northam had to be corrected after he referred to slaves as indentured servants in the same stroke.
"I don't doubt his sincerity in wanting to bring some of these issues to light, but I do doubt his background and his preparation in bringing them to light in making such a basic error," Lynch said.
The next drop was news that some of Fairfax's staff are calling it quits, adding even more turmoil to a position already boiling over with drama.
"Any staff resignations are going to be a big deal and it goes to the decreasing possibility that he'll be able to remain in office," Lynch said.
Lynch said losing Fairfax could be a political sacrifice to solidify Northam's position. Either way, it could disenfranchise a major political base.
"Because we're talking about the highest-ranking African-American representative in the Virginia government. That's not going to help Democratic prospects with a core part of their coalition going into the General Assembly elections in the fall," Lynch said.
Top political minds are now scrutinizing every bit of the state code and state constitution to see what would happen if Fairfax resigns. Either the governor could appoint a person, or the President Pro Tempore in the Senate could fill it. The constitution leans toward the appointee, while the state law leans toward filling by a senator. If a senator were to fill the position, it would be Republican Steve Newman, representing Lynchburg and Bedford. But there is likely to be a major political battle over what would happen if it does come to that.
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