Gov. Kate Brown: Virginia's Embattled Governor, Ralph Northam, Should Step Down

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The delegation - consisting of the state's two US senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and seven USA representatives - repeated its call for Northam to resign, and said the allegations against Fairfax "need to be taken very seriously", though it stopped short of demanding a formal investigation.

Democrats have expressed fear the uproar over the governor could jeopardize their chances of taking control of the Republican-dominated legislature in Virginia this year after making big gains in 2017. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are already facing controversies, and Herring would be next in line to be governor after those two men. As calls continue for Northam to step down, Northam and Fairfax spoke Wednesday morning by telephone in a "very affable" conversation, according to an aide familiar with their chat.

The black lawmakers said the sexual assault allegation against Fairfax must be "thoroughly investigated".

Northam admitted at first that he was in the photo without saying which costume he was wearing.

"If they are all three there around the next statewide elections, it is really problematic", the Democrat said. The improbable scenario of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general all forced by scandal to resign has raised the prospect of the Democrats losing the governorship to a Republican - Kirk Cox, who as speaker of the House of Delegates is third in the line of succession under the state's constitution. He likened the situation to three sinking boats "that suddenly lash themselves together and find they can float".

Fairfax has, for more than the past year, retained Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz in the face of an accusation of sexual assault made by Vanessa Tyson, a college professor in California. Tyson said Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex at a hotel in 2004 during the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Fairfax vehemently denied the allegation against him, as did Kavanaugh.

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State Sen. Barbara Favola said "it's still a he-said, she-said" and suggested an investigation should be done in MA. A candid picture taken yesterday of a Democratic senator in Virginia captured the impact of the strain. Fairfax denied the allegation, and claimed that his encounter with the woman had been consensual.

Asked whether Northam should stay in office, Kaine replied: "No". He called for Northam to step down the next day, saying "it is no longer possible" for him to lead the state. The governor hired a crisis communicator on Wednesday and met with two top civil rights leaders, an adviser to the governor said, the latest in a string of signs that he doesn't plan to go anywhere.

Northam has come under pressure from almost the entire Democratic establishment to resign after the discovery of a photo on his yearbook profile page of someone in blackface standing next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

Northam, 59, acknowledged last weekend to having worn blackface - a practice dating to 19th-century minstrel shows caricaturing slaves - in 1984 to impersonate Michael Jackson.

As the top two Virginia officials tried to handle public relations nightmares, Attorney General Mark Herring - who would take over gubernatorial duties if both Northam and Fairfax were to resign - evidently looked at his fellow Democrats and said "hold my beer..." He apologized for his "callous" behavior.

At the same time, the Democrats nationally have taken a hard line against misconduct in their ranks because women and minorities are a vital part of their base and they want to be able to criticize Trump's behaviour without looking hypocritical - something Trump alluded to on Twitter.