Virginia Dems Won’t Say Whether They Want Northam, Fairfax on Campaign Trail

'It's way too early to make decisions about who you're campaigning with'

Lt. Gov. Fairfax and Gov. Northam / Getty Images

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The end of Virginia's legislative session last week brings to the fore a closely watched campaign season, with control of both chambers of the legislature in contention.

Republicans currently hold two-seat advantages in both the House of Delegates and state Senate, and after big gains in 2017 the momentum appeared to be squarely on the side of Democrats. That all changed a month ago when the two Democrats at the top of the 2017 ticket, Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, each found themselves on the hot seat—Northam due to a racist picture on his medical school yearbook page and Fairfax due to multiple allegations of rape.

Both have resisted calls to resign, putting Democrats on the ballot this November in the difficult position of choosing whether or not they'll welcome help on the campaign trail from the two highest-ranking politicians in their party. So far, it's a question they're not willing to answer.

America Rising, a conservative group, asked Democratic members, many running their first re-election campaign after flipping traditionally Republican seats in 2017, whether they plan on campaigning with Northam and Fairfax in the coming months, and none were prepared to make the decision. The footage, shared exclusively with the Free Beacon, can be viewed below.

The Free Beacon reached out to each of the members featured in the video to clarify their stance on the question, but only one responded.

Delegate Lamont Bagby, who in a separate video can be seen saying he doesn't envision Northam or Fairfax being on the campaign trail, contacted the Free Beacon to clarify that he only meant to point out that neither of them were up for re-election. He says he hasn't even considered whether he'd welcome them on the campaign trail.

"Neither one of them has campaigned for me in the past, I don't know whether they will campaign for me in the future, but it's way too early to make decisions about who you're campaigning with," Bagby said in a phone interview.

Virginia Republicans have made clear they won't let Democrats sidestep the scandals, even as the news coverage subsides. They made this clear within hours of the legislative session ending, posting a video on social media of the "chaos in Virginia" caused by Democratic leadership.

Republican leadership also made a point of highlighting Democratic unwillingness to investigate the rape claims into Fairfax, which came from two women who Fairfax says he had consensual sexual relations with.

Speaker Kirk Cox said Democrats rejected his proposal to form a bipartisan investigative committee to look into the allegations and now plans to hold public hearings on them without their involvement.

Though both Northam and Fairfax have made clear they won't be resigning, it has also become apparent the scandals will not go away.

Just this week, both have seen bad headlines stemming from the scandal. Northam's wife was condemned by the commonwealth's Office of Equity and Community Engagement after she handed out raw cotton to an African-American child taking a tour of the governor's mansion and told the young girl to imagine being a slave and having to pick the cotton. Fairfax, on the other hand, compared his current situation to a Jim Crow-era lynching.

Brent Scher   Email Brent | Full Bio | RSS
Brent Scher is a senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied foreign affairs and politics.

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