Pos­si­ble im­peach­ment could fur­ther up­end Vir­ginia pol­i­tics

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

RICH­MOND, Va. — Vir­ginia law­mak­ers on Mon­day will re­luc­tantly face the un­prece­dented prospect of im­peach­ing the state’s sec­ond most pow­er­ful leader as they strug­gle to ad­dress rev­e­la­tions of past racist be­hav­ior and al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault roil­ing its high­est lev­els of of­fice.

At least one law­maker said he will try to pur­sue im­peach­ment of Demo­cratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fair­fax af­ter two women ac­cused Fair­fax of sex­ual as­sault in the 2000s, a move that ex­perts be­lieve would be a first in Vir­ginia. Fair­fax has ve­he­mently de­nied the claims and called for au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing the FBI, to in­ves­ti­gate.

There’s lit­tle sign of broad ap­petite for im­peach­ment, with law­mak­ers set to fin­ish this year’s ses­sion by the month’s end. But the Leg­is­la­ture is swirling with ques­tions about lines of suc­ces­sion and the po­lit­i­cal fall­out for Democrats should the gover­nor, lieu­tenant gover­nor or at­tor­ney gen­eral leave of­fice, will­ingly or not.

Gov. Ralph Northam and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring, both Democrats, are em­broiled in their own scan­dal af­ter ac­knowl­edg­ing they wore black­face in the 1980s. Northam, a pe­di­atric neu­rol­o­gist, said Sun­day that he con­sid­ered re­sign­ing but that he’s “not go­ing any­where” be­cause the state “needs some­one that can heal” it.

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