He said he is monitoring the situation involving Democratic Lieutenant-Governor Justin Fairfax, who is denying two sexual assault allegations, but that he has not made any decisions about who he might appoint as a replacement if Fairfax heeded calls to resign.
The week's political chaos surrounding Virginia's top two elected officials stretched down to the second-in-line to succeed Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, 57, who admitted that he, too, had once used blackface to imitate a black performer.
Fairfax, who was recently accused of sexually assaulting a woman while working at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, has now been accused by a Duke alumna of sexually assaulting her while they were undergraduate students on campus.
The allegations come as political uncertainty engulfs Virginia following a photo from Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook showing someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume and another in black face-a photo the governor originally said he was in before walking back that statement. That possibility has tested Democrats' resolve to show zero tolerance for sexual misconduct and racial bigotry.
Northam has been facing mounting calls to resign following the emergence of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook, as well controversial comments he made about late-term abortion.
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Northam has ignored widespread calls to resign. He said Saturday he heard from Tyson after their encounter and he knew Watson after their encounter, and he said neither ever "said or otherwise indicated that our interaction was not consensual or caused her any discomfort". Consequently, I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson.
Fairfax vowed to clear his "good name" and noted he has passed Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks and run for office "with nothing like this being raised before". "Two days ago I stated that I believe the claim regarding Lt. Governor Fairfax", Castro wrote.
Calls for Fairfax to step aside have come from state House and Senate Democrats, the Legislative Black Caucus, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's two US senators - Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, also both Democrats - and several potential Democratic presidential hopefuls.
In the statement, Watson called on Fairfax to resign from public office. Meredith Watson, a classmate of Fairfax's at Duke University, claims that he assaulted her in college in 2000 in an "attack [that] was premeditated and aggressive". Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. She remembers Watson from parties but didn't think Watson and Fairfax ran in the same social circles and was surprised that the statement from Watson's attorneys had described them as friends.
"The long and short of it is that Fairfax is the one in trouble and unless he's impeached, he does not have to resign", Sabato said.
Numerous state's Democrats have called on Northam to step down over the yearbook photo, which shows one person in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan attire. Northam has denied that he is in the photo. I ask that all three of us be respected during this process.