‘A governor who has achieved many important goals’: Va. Dem says Ralph Northam should stay

‘A governor who has achieved many important goals’: Va. Dem says Ralph Northam should stay
Ralph S. Northam (Image: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

By Peter Hasson

Democratic Virginia state Sen. Chap Petersen won’t be calling on Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to resign, Petersen announced in a written statement Friday.

“I will not request the Governor’s resignation. Nor will I request any other official to resign until it is obvious that they have committed a crime in office or their ability to serve is irredeemably compromised,” Petersen wrote on Facebook.

Petersen said he spoke to “as many constituents and friends as possible, in order to arrive at a proportional response towards a Governor who has achieved many important goals, such as Medicaid expansion.”

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Democrats initially rushed to demand Northam’s resignation but are now caught in a quagmire as the next two Democrats in line for the Virginia governorship, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring, are each battling scandals of their own.

Herring admitted to wearing blackface in 1980, while Fairfax is accused of sexually assaulting Vanessa Tyson, now a fellow at Stanford University, at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, a Republican, is fourth in line for Northam’s seat.

Petersen didn’t refer to Fairfax or Herring directly but noted “revelations and allegations about other statewide officials” in his explanation for backing Northam.

“Within minutes of our Senate Sentinel going out last Friday, I learned about a photo in the Governor’s 1984 medical school yearbook, which truly shocked the conscience. That revelation, exacerbated by a confused explanation, culminated in nearly every elected Virginia Democrat calling for the Governor’s resignation within 48 hours,” Petersen wrote.

“Events then compounded later in the week with revelations and allegations about other statewide officials,” he added. “These revelations were relevant towards the Governor’s situation if only because they reflect on his potential successors and whether they can assume the office.”

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